James B. Belford

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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 by none
Succeeded by Thomas M. Patterson
In office
March 4, 1879 – March 3, 1885
Preceded by Thomas M. Patterson
Succeeded by George G. Symes
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born September 28, 1837 (1837-09-28)
Lewistown, Pennsylvania
Died January 10, 1910 (1910-01-11) (aged 72)
Denver, Colorado
Citizenship  United States
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Frances C. McEwen Belford
Alma mater Dickinson College
Profession Attorney

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, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1859. He married Frances C. McEwen in 1860.[1]


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

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

Elected to the Forty-sixth, Forty-seventh, and Forty-eighth Congresses Belford was United States Representative for the first district 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. He engaged in the practice of law in Denver, Colorado, until his death. He was known as the “Red Rooster of the Rockies” because of his flaming red hair and “magnificently roseate beard.”[2] In the mid-1890s he gained notoriety for successfully defending Denver bad man Soapy Smith in several cases.


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


  1. ^ "James B. Belford". Archives & Special Collections at Dickinson College. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  2. ^ 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.

External links[edit]

United States 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 http://bioguide.congress.gov.