James Barbour (lawyer)

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James Barbour
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the Culpeper County, Virginia district
In office
January 12, 1852 – December 4, 1853
Preceded by John S. Barbour Jr.
Succeeded by Perry J. Eggborn
In office
December 7, 1857 – September 46 1863
Preceded by Perry J. Eggborn
Succeeded by John H. Rixey
In office
December 5, 1877 – December 3, 1879
Preceded by T. B. Nalle
Succeeded by J. C. Gibson
Personal details
Born James Barbour
(1828-02-26)February 26, 1828
Catalpa, Culpeper County, Virginia
Died October 29, 1895(1895-10-29) (aged 67)
Clover Hill, Jeffersonton, Culpeper County, Virginia
Resting place Fairview Cemetery, Culpeper, Virginia
Citizenship United States of America
Confederate States of America
Nationality American
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Fanny Thomas Beckham
Relations John S. Barbour, Jr.(brother), James Barbour and Philip Pendleton Barbour (cousins)
Children Ella B. Barbour Rixey, Mary B. Barbour Wallace, James Byrne Barbour, John Strode Barbour, Edwin Barbour, A. Floyd Barbour, Fanny C. Barbour Beckham
Parents John S. Barbour, Ella A. Byrne
Residence Beauregard, Brandy Station, Culpeper County, Virginia
Alma mater Georgetown College
University of Virginia
Occupation lawyer, politician, planter, military officer, newspaper editor
Military service
Allegiance  Confederate States of America
Service/branch  Confederate States Army
Years of service 1861-1863
Rank Confederate States of America Major.png Major(CSA)
Unit staff of Gen. Richard S. Ewell

James Barbour (February 26, 1828 – October 29, 1895)[1][2][3] was a Virginia lawyer, planter, politician and Confederate officer. He represented Culpeper County, Virginia in the Virginia General Assembly, as well as in the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850 and the Virginia secession convention of 1861. Barbour also served among Virginia's delegates to the 1860 Democratic National Convention, and as a major in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.[1][2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Barbour was born on February 26, 1828 at Catalpa in Culpeper County, Virginia.[1][2][3] Among the First Families of Virginia, his family had been prominent in the area since colonial times, when his namesake great-grandfather (and grandfather) settled in Virginia's Piedmont region. He was among the sons of John S. Barbour, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia's 15th congressional district, and his wife Ella A. Byrne.[1][2][3]

Barbour attended Georgetown College from September through December 1840.[3] and then the University of Virginia School of Law between 1841 and 1842.[2][3] Barbour read law under John Tayloe Lomax in Fredericksburg, Virginia and was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1844.[3]

Early political career[edit]

In 1850, voters from the central Piedmont district that combined Culpeper County, as well as Greene, Madison and Orange Counties elected Barbour among their three delegates to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850, along with Robert A. Banks and John Woolfolk.[4][5]

In the decade before the American Civil War, Culpeper county's voters elected James Barbour to the Virginia House of Delegates for the 1852–1853 session (where he succeeded his brother John S. Barbour, Jr. to the part-time position). However, voters seleced Perry J. Eggborn in the next two elections. Barbour resumed the seat during the 1857–58 session, and was re-elected to the 1859–60 and 1861 (January) sessions.[6][7] By the 1860 census, James Barbour owned 13 slaves and also hired two older slaves to assist with his plantation while he practiced law.[8]

Barbour was among the delegates representing Virginia at the 1860 Democratic National Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.[1][2] A year later, Barbour became Culpeper County's delegate at the 1861 Virginia secession convention.[1][2][9]

Marriage and children[edit]

Barbour married Fanny Thomas Beckham, daughter of Coleman Coals Beckham and his wife Mary C. Beckham, on September 1, 1857.[1][2][3] They had seven children:[2]

  • Ella B. Barbour Rixey (born February 27, 1858) m. John Franklin Rixey (1881)[2][3]
  • Mary B. Barbour Wallace (born 1860) m. Clarence B. Wallace (1890)[2][3]
  • James Byrne Barbour (1864–1926)[2][3]
  • John Strode Barbour (August 10, 1866 – May 6, 1952) m. Mary B. Grimsley (1894)[2][3]
  • Edwin Barbour (January 2, 1868 – March 5, 1902) m. Josie McDonald[2][3]
  • A. Floyd Barbour (born July 1868)[2][3]
  • Fanny C. Barbour Beckham (born January 1874) m. Benjamin Collins Beckham (1899)[2][3]

Barbour and his family lived at Beauregard near Brandy Station in Culpeper County, Virginia.[2]

American Civil War[edit]

During the American Civil War, Culpeper County voters again elected James Barbour to the Virginia House of Delegates; he served during the sessions 1861/62, 1862 (April), 1862 (September), and 1863 (January).[6][10] However, John H. Rixey succeeded him for the session which began on September 7, 1863.[11]

After Virginia's secession, Barbour volunteered to serve in the Confederate States Army and was commissioned as a major on the staff of General Richard S. Ewell.[2] After a dispute with General Jubal Anderson Early, Barbour resigned on January 30, 1863.[2] Other sources cite ill health as Barbour's reason for resigning.[3]

About six months later, the Battle of Brandy Station, perhaps the largest cavalry engagement of the conflict, took place on and around the Barbour family's estate.[2] Beauregard mansion is now colloquially known as the Graffiti House because it contains graffiti inscribed both Union Army and Confederate States Army soldiers.[2]

Later life[edit]

After the war, Barbour acquired a controlling interest in the Richmond Daily Enquirer and Examiner on July 15, 1867 and became its editor.[2][3] Barbour owned the newspaper until January 30, 1870,[3] when it was acquired by interests affiliated with the Pennsylvania Railroad.[12]

In 1877, Barbour returned to the Virginia House of Delegates, succeeding his relativ T.B. Nalle for one term, after which J.C. Gibson or Jacob S. Eggborn held the seat. In 1885, Culpeper's delegate Daniel A. Grimsley resigned and Barbour returned to the remainder of the session (March 1887) and then won election again for 1887/1888 session.[6][13]


Barbour died of pneumonia at Clover Hill near Jeffersonton in Culpeper County, Virginia on October 29, 1895.[1][2][3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h The Political Graveyard (March 24, 2009). "Barbour family of Virginia". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Find A Grave (Apr 26, 2004). "Maj James Barbour". Find A Grave. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Beckham Family Tree (Mar 22, 2005). "(Major) James BARBOUR". Retrieved 2009-04-05. [unreliable source?]
  4. ^ Pulliam 1901, p. 99
  5. ^ Cynthia Miller Leonard, Virginia's General Assembly 1619-1978 (Richmond, Virginia State Library 1978) p. 441
  6. ^ a b c Swem 1918, p. 345
  7. ^ Leonard p. 448, 454, 459, 464, 469
  8. ^ 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Culpeper, slave schedule (1850 slave schedule not available online at ancestry.com)
  9. ^ Leonard p. 474
  10. ^ Leonard p. 478
  11. ^ Leonard p. 483
  12. ^ Moger, Allen (1968). Virginia: Bourbonism to Byrd, 1870-1925. University Press of Virginia. pp.. OCLC 435376.
  13. ^ Leonard p. 525, 541, 545