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James Lusk ALCORN

Governor , Senator

James Lusk ALCORN, General, lawyer, planter, military.


ALCORN, James Lusk was born on November 4, 1816 in Golconda, Illinois Territory, United States.


Private school.


Alcorn was a Presbyterian. He was raised in Kentucky and attended Cumberland College there. In 1839, he married Mary C. Stewart, by whom he had three children prior to her death.

His second marriage, in 1850, to Amelia Walton Glover produced five children. Alcorn taught school in Jackson, Arkansas, and served as deputy sheriff and member of the state legislature in Livingston County, Kentucky, from 1839 to 1843 before moving to Delta, Coshoma County, Mississippi. He owned a small plantation, founded the Mississippi levee system, practiced law, and served as a Whig member of the Mississippi state legislature for fifteen years (1846-1860) prior to secession.

He was also a delegate to the state constitutional conventions of 1851 and 1861. Alcorn was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. House in 1856. He personally opposed secession, but in the Mississippi secession convention he described himself as “Southern” and was part of the Whig faction that voted consistently with the secessionists.

The secession convention elected him brigadier general of state troops in 1861. During the war, he turned down an opportunity to serve in the Confederate Congress, electing to remain in the army. Alcorn was taken prisoner in Arkansas in 1862.

Upon his parole later in the year, he became a colonel of a Confederate force operating along the Mississippi River. His military service was undistinguished. He opposed President Davis and played partisan politics but gave generously of his considerable wealth to the Confederate cause.

When Mississippi was overrun by Union forces, Alcorn urged the arming of black troops and the freeing of slaves once the fighting had ended. Congress would not allow him to take his seat in the U.S. Senate, to which the Mississippi legislature had elected him in May 1865. He served as governor of Mississippi from 1870 to 1871 and as U.S. senator from 1871 to 1877, in both instances as a Republican.

As governor, he resisted all federal efforts to enforce social equality for the blacks. After his Senate term, Alcorn resumed the practice of law in Friar Point, Mississippi. He served as a member of the Mississippi constitutional convention of 1890 and supported the disfranchising clause.


"Peculiar institution" of slavery was not only expedient but also ordained by God and upheld in Holy Scripture.


Stands for preserving slavery, states' rights, and political liberty for whites. Every individual state is sovereign, even to the point of secession.


Spouse Mary C.



Mary Catherine

Amelia Walton