Abraham Watkins Venable

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Abraham Watkins Venable (October 17, 1799 – February 24, 1876) was a nineteenth-century US politician and lawyer from North Carolina. He was the nephew of congressman and senator Abraham Bedford Venable.


Born in Springfield, Virginia, he graduated from Hampden–Sydney College in 1816. He studied medicine for two years before turning to law. He later graduated from Princeton University in 1819 and was admitted to the bar in 1821.

He practiced law in Virginia in both Prince Edward and Mecklenburg counties until 1829 when he moved to North Carolina. He later got involved in politics and served as a presidential elector in the elections of 1832, 1836 and 1844[1] and was elected to the 30th Congress as a Democrat, serving from 1847 to 1853. He ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1852.

Venable was a presidential elector in the 1860 presidential election on the Democratic ticket for John C. Breckinridge and Joseph Lane. He delivered a number of addresses to colleges, including at Princeton in 1851[2] and at Wake Forest in 1858.[3]

When his state seceded from the Union, he went with it to the Confederacy and was elected to the Provisional Confederate Congress. He was later elected to the first Confederate congress, serving from 1862 to 1864. He died in Oxford, North Carolina in 1876 and was interred at Shiloh Presbyterian Churchyard in Granville County, North Carolina. Like many other members of the Venable, Watkins, and Daniel families (including Nathaniel Venable and Elizabeth Venable,) he was an ancestor of Isabelle Daniel Hall Fiske (Barbara Hall), the cartoonist, artist, and co-creator of Quarry Hill Creative Center in Vermont (founded 1946 and still extant).


  1. ^ NCLive: Clipping from October 23, 1844 issue of Raleigh's Weekly Standard
  2. ^ Abraham Watkins Venable, Address Delivered Before the American Whig and Cliosophic Societies at the College of New Jersey (1851). See also Alfred L. Brophy, University, Court, and Slave: Proslavery Thought in the Southern Academy and Judiciary and the Coming of Civil War (2016): 133 (discussing Venable's speech at Princeton).
  3. ^ Speech of the Hon. A.W. Venable Before the Literary Societies, Wake Forest College, ... June 8th, 1858 (Raleigh, 1858).

External links[edit]

  • United States Congress. "Abraham Watkins Venable (id: V000084)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved on 2009-03-21
  • Abraham W. Venable at The Political Graveyard
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
James C. Dobbin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th congressional district

March 4, 1847 – March 3, 1853
Succeeded by
John Kerr, Jr.
Confederate States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Representative to the Provisional Confederate Congress from North Carolina
Succeeded by