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James B. Belford

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James Burns Belford
James B. Belford (Colorado Congressman).jpg
Frontispiece of 1897's The Writings and Speeches of Hon. James B. Belford.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's at-large district
In office
October 3, 1876 – December 13, 1877 (contested election)
Preceded bynone
Succeeded byThomas M. Patterson
In office
March 4, 1879 – March 3, 1885
Preceded byThomas M. Patterson
Succeeded byGeorge G. Symes
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
BornSeptember 28, 1837 (1837-09-28)
Lewistown, Pennsylvania
DiedJanuary 10, 1910 (1910-01-11) (aged 72)
Denver, Colorado
Citizenship United States
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Frances McEwen Belford
ChildrenFrances Belford Wayne
Alma materDickinson College

James Burns Belford (September 28, 1837 – January 10, 1910) was an American politician and a U.S. Representative from Colorado.


Born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, Belford was the son of Samuel and Eliza Belford and cousin of Joseph McCrum Belford. He attended the common schools and Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1859.


Belford moved to California, Missouri and commenced practice. He moved to La Porte, Indiana in 1860, and served as member of the Indiana House of Representatives in 1867. He was appointed an associate justice of the supreme court for the Colorado Territory in 1870 and moved to Central City. He moved to Denver in 1883.

Upon the admission of Colorado into the Union, Belford was elected as a Republican to the Forty-fourth Congress from the first district of Colorado and served from October 3, 1876, until March 3, 1877. He presented credentials as a Member-elect to the Forty-fifth Congress and served from March 4, 1877 until December 13, 1877, when he was succeeded by Thomas M. Patterson, who successfully contested the election.

Belford was elected to the Forty-sixth, Forty-seventh, and Forty-eighth Congresses, and served from March 4, 1879 to March 3, 1885. He served as chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Treasury during the Forty-seventh Congress. He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1884, and engaged in the practice of law in Denver until his death. He was known as the "Red Rooster of the Rockies" because of his flaming red hair and "magnificently roseate beard."[1] In the mid-1890s he gained notoriety for successfully defending Denver conman and crime boss Soapy Smith in several cases.[2]


Belford died in Denver, Colorado, on January 10, 1910 (age 72 years, 104 days). He is interred at Riverside Cemetery, Denver, Colorado.


He married Frances C. McEwen in 1860.[3] Their daughter Frances Belford Wayne was a longtime newspaper journalist in Denver.[4]


  1. ^ Perkin, Robert L. (1959). The First Hundred Years: An Informal History of Denver and the Rocky Mountain News. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. pp. 363, 381.
  2. ^ Smith, Jeff (2009). Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel, Klondike Research. p. 159-63, 255-57, 292, 376, 379, 382, 386-88, 403. ISBN 0-9819743-0-9
  3. ^ "James B. Belford". Archives & Special Collections at Dickinson College. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  4. ^ Nancy Pike Hause, The unsinkable Frances Wayne: an overview of her work as a reporter for the Denver Post from 1909 to 1946 (M. A. thesis, 1982, Kansas State University).

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Thomas M. Patterson
Preceded by
Thomas M. Patterson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
George G. Symes

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

This page was last edited on 27 January 2021, at 13:15
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