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James Garland (Virginia politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James Garland
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 12th district
In office
March 4, 1835 – March 3, 1841
Preceded byWilliam F. Gordon
Succeeded byThomas W. Gilmer
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
In office
December 7, 1829-December 4, 1831
Preceded byRobert Rives, Jr.
Succeeded byJoseph C. Cabell
Personal details
Born(1791-06-06)June 6, 1791
Ivy Depot, Albemarle County, Virginia, U.S.
DiedAugust 8, 1885(1885-08-08) (aged 94)
Lynchburg, Campbell County, Virginia, U.S.
Spouse(s)Sarah Burch

James Garland (June 6, 1791 – August 8, 1885) was a nineteenth-century politician, military officer, planter, lawyer and judge from Virginia.[1]

Early and family life

Born in Ivy Depot, Albemarle County, Virginia,[2] James Garland was the eldest of four sons born to Hudson Martin Garland (1773-1863) and his wife, the former Elizabeth Penn (née Phillips) Garland (1763-1846). His mother was the grandniece of William Penn. His father was one of many lawyer Garlands in Albemarle County, but moved to Amherst County (from which Nelson County was divided) after the death of his father (another James Garland) in 1781. Hudson Garland represented Amherst County in the Virginia General Assembly for one term (December 3, 1804 – February 1, 1805) and served as a captain in the war of 1812.[3] Another of Hudson Garland's sons became General John Garland, who continued his Army career through the war with Mexico, and served briefly during the American Civil War, but died of disease in New York City on June 5, 1861); his daughter had become the wife of Lt. Confederate General James Longstreet.[4] Another brother, Samuel Garland Sr., became a successful lawyer in Lynchburg, as well as a landowner (for whom Garland Hill was named), and the uncle of Confederate Brig. General Samuel Garland, Jr. (who died in September 1862).

This James Garland received a private education and began reading law, and married Sarah Burch in the newly created Nelson County on September 22, 1814. They had at least one daughter who survived them (Sallie B. Garland Christian, 1837-1928). By 1820, the Garland household included five free people (including two sons and a daughter younger than 10) and nine slaves.[5]


After reading law and being admitted to the Virginia bar, Garland began practicing law practice in Lovingston, Virginia, the seat of Nelson County. He left practice for a short time to serve in the War of 1812.

James Garland represented Nelson County in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1829 to 1831 (initially alongside Zachariah Nevil and then winning election as the county's only delegate).[6] He was later elected to the United States House of Representatives, initially as a Jacksonian Democrat and later a Conservative, serving from 1835 to 1841.

After losing a contest for reelection in 1840 to Virginia governor Thomas W. Gilmer, a Whig, Garland moved to Campbell County, Virginia and resumed his legal practice in Lynchburg.

Garland was elected the city's prosecutor and clerk of court in 1841, and served 18 years until removed by Gen. John Schofield during Congressional Reconstruction.[7] In the Presidential election of 1860, he supported Stephen A. Douglas, and when that Democratic candidate lost to Republican Abraham Lincoln, Garland in January 1861 presided over a meeting of conservative citizens who wanted to preserve the Union.[8] He was then elected to the Hustings Court, and Aurelius Christian succeeded him as Commonwealth's attorney. He retired due to blindness at age 91, after a ceremonial dinner in his honor, and was succeeded by Charles P. Latham.[9]

Death and legacy

After leaving the court (as the Commonwealth's oldest presiding judge), James Garland died in Lynchburg on August 8, 1885, aged 94. The courthouse bell tolled to mark his funeral, and suitable resolutions were recorded.[10] He was interred in the family plot at Lynchburg's Spring Hill Cemetery, beside his wife Sarah, who had died in 1861, as well as his parents and siblings.[11] He was survived by his widowed daughter Sally Garland Christian (1796-1928).


  1. ^ Congressional bioguide available at
  2. ^ "Garland, James, (1791 - 1885)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  3. ^ Edgar Woods, History of Albemarle County in Virginia (1901, Heritage classic reprint) p, 200
  4. ^ Early, Ruth Hairston (1927). Campbell chronicles and family sketches, embracing the history of Campbell County, Virginia. Lynchburg, VA: J. P. Bell Company. p. 414. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  5. ^ U.S. Federal Census 1820 for Nelson County, Virginia. The 1830 federal census summary indicates the household then included nine free white persons and 2 slaves. The 1850 census includes possibly three different individuals: James P. Garland of Eastern Amherst County (who owned at least 10 slaves), James Garland who owned land (both improved and forested) in Nelson County (but without a slave schedule), and this James Garland in Lynchburg whose household consisted of lawyer James Garland, his wife and daughter, as well as his lawyer father and possibly two sisters, as well as a 25 year old young Virginia lawyer, William M. Cabell, and a 26 year old Connecticut born teacher, E.W. Brainard, but with no slave schedule. The 1860 Virginia census for Lynchburg apparently does have slave schedules for one or two men named James Garland (one in Lynchburg and another in the Western District of Campbell County), but such is not available for general viewing on's library edition.
  6. ^ Cynthia Miller Leonard, Virginia's General Assembly 1619-1978 (Richmond: Virginia State Library 1978) pp. 350, 356
  7. ^ W. Asbury Christian, Lynchburg and its people (Lynchburg: J.P. Bell 1900), p. 267.
  8. ^ Christian, pp. 186-187, 190-191.
  9. ^ Christian pp. 342-343
  10. ^ Christian p. 360
  11. ^ findagrave no. 7773283
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
William F. Gordon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 12th congressional district

March 4, 1835 – March 3, 1841 (obsolete district)
Succeeded by
Thomas W. Gilmer
This page was last edited on 21 June 2020, at 18:29
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