Thomas S. Bocock

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Thomas Bocock
Thomas Bocock.jpg
Speaker of the Confederate States House of Representatives
In office
February 18, 1862 – May 10, 1865
Preceded by Howell Cobb (President of the Provisional Congress)
Succeeded by Position abolished
Member of the C.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th district
In office
February 18, 1862 – May 10, 1865
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1861
Preceded by Paulus Powell
Succeeded by Robert Ridgway
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1847 – March 4, 1853
Preceded by Edmund Hubard
Succeeded by William Goode
Personal details
Born (1815-05-18)May 18, 1815
Buckingham, Virginia, US
Died August 5, 1891(1891-08-05) (aged 76)
Appomattox County, Virginia, US
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Hampden-Sydney College

Thomas Stanley Bocock (May 18, 1815 – August 5, 1891) was a nineteenth-century politician and lawyer from Virginia. After serving as an antebellum United States Congressman, he was the Speaker of the Confederate States House of Representatives during most of the American Civil War.

Biography[edit]

Born at Buckingham Court House in Buckingham, Virginia, Bocock was educated by private teachers as a child. He went on to graduate from Hampden-Sydney College in 1838, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1840, commencing practice in Buckingham Court House. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1842 to 1844 and was the prosecuting attorney for Appomattox County, Virginia, in 1845 and 1846.

Bocock was elected a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives in 1846, serving from 1847 to 1861. There he served as chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs from 1853 to 1855 and again from 1857 to 1859. In 1859, Bocock was nominated for Speaker of the House, but withdrew after eight weeks of debate and multiple ballots failed to elect a speaker.[1] He spoke at the inauguration of the Washington Equine Statue in 1860.

Following the start of the Civil War and Virginia's secession, Bocock was elected a Democrat to the Confederate States House of Representatives in 1861, serving until the end of the war in 1865. He was a member of the unicameral Provisional Confederate Congress, as well as the succeeding First and Second Confederate Congresses. He was Speaker of the Confederate States House of Representatives from 1862 to 1865.

After the war ended, Bocock served in House of Delegates again from 1877 to 1879 and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1868, 1876 and 1880. He died in Appomattox County, Virginia, on August 5, 1891, and was interred at Old Bocock Cemetery near his plantation, "Wildway."

Elections[edit]

  • 1847; Bocock was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives with 51.42% of the vote, defeating Whig Henry P. Irving.
  • 1849; Bocock was re-elected with 53.04% of the vote, defeating Whig Irving.
  • 1851; Bocock was re-elected with 63.49% of the vote, defeating Whig Phillip A. Bolling.
  • 1853; Bocock was re-elected with 51.74% of the vote, defeating Whig John T. Wootton and Independent Thomas Hamlet Averett.
  • 1855; Bocock was re-elected with 57.25% of the vote, defeating American Nathaniel C. Claiborne.
  • 1857; Bocock was re-elected unopposed.
  • 1859; Bocock was re-elected with 88.78% of the vote, defeating two Independents identified only as Speed and Boisseau.

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Edmund Hubard
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 4th congressional district

1847–1853
Succeeded by
William Goode
Preceded by
Paulus Powell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th congressional district

1853–1861
Succeeded by
Robert Ridgway(1)
Confederate States House of Representatives
New constituency Member of the C.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th congressional district

1862–1865
Constituency abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
Howell Cobb
as President of the Provisional Confederate States Congress
Speaker of the Confederate States House of Representatives
1862–1865
Position abolished
Notes and references
1. Because of Virginia's secession, the House seat was vacant for almost nine years before Ridgway succeeded Bocock.