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 James Semple

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James Semple

  • Birth 5 Jan 1798 Green County, Kentucky, USA
  • Death 20 Dec 1866 Elsah, Jersey County, Illinois, USA
  • Burial Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA
  • Plot Block 75/84, Lot 395
  • Memorial ID 22851

Illinois Senator. He served in the U. S. Army in the War of 1812 as an ensign in the Kentucky Militia before moving to Edwardsville, Illinois in 1818; he then went to Missouri in 1820 and returned to Kentucky to study law. His education was received from simple local schools and home schooling. After admission to the Kentucky bar, he practiced law in Clinton County, Kentucky. In 1827, he relocated to Edwardsville, Illinois, and continued the practice of law. Between 1831 to 1832, he served again in the military as a brigadier general in the Illinois Militia during the Black Hawk War. He was elected to the state legislature in 1832 and served as attorney general in 1833 and 1834. He was speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1834 to 1838. In 1837 the, President Van Buren appointed Semple to the post of Minister to Colombia, a position he held until 1842. The following year, the Illinois legislature appointed him to the Illinois Supreme Court to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Judge Sidney Breese. During his brief tenure, he heard seven cases in which Abraham Lincoln was an attorney. He resigned from the court after only a few months to accept an appointment to the United States Senate upon the death of Illinois Senator Samuel McRoberts; as a Democrat, he served from December 4, 1843 to March 3, 1847. He retired from public service in 1847 but continued to be active in real estate. In 1853, he founded the town of Elsah, Illnois and lived there until his death. His son, Eugene became active in politics and became the governor of the Territory of Washington. He was the son of John Walker Semple and his wife Lucy Donald Green. He was married twice: Mary Stevenson Semple and Ellen Duff Semple. Mary died after Eugene's birth; he had two daughters by his second wife, Ellen.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 2 Jul 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 22851
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Semple (5 Jan 1798–20 Dec 1866), Find A Grave Memorial no. 22851, citing Bellefontaine Cemetery, Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .