James Pearce

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James Alfred Pearce
James Alfred Pearce, standing.jpg
United States Senator
from Maryland
In office
March 4, 1843 – December 20, 1862
Preceded by John L. Kerr
Succeeded by Thomas H. Hicks
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1835 – March 3, 1839
Preceded by Richard B. Carmichael
Succeeded by Philip Thomas
In office
March 4, 1841 – March 3, 1843
Preceded by Philip Thomas
Succeeded by Francis Brengle
Personal details
Born (1805-12-14)December 14, 1805
Alexandria, Virginia, US
Died December 20, 1862(1862-12-20) (aged 57)
Chestertown, Maryland, US
Political party Whig, Democrat
Alma mater College of New Jersey
Profession Politician, Lawyer

James Alfred Pearce (December 14, 1805 – December 20, 1862) was an American politician. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the second district of Maryland from 1835 to 1839 and 1841 to 1843. He later served as a U.S. Senator from Maryland from 1843 until his death in 1862.

Pearce was the son of Gideon Pearce and Julia Dick, and the grandson of Elisha C. Dick.[1]

Pearce was born in Alexandria, Virginia, and, as a youth, attended a private academy there. He graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1822. He later studied law, and was admitted to the bar, commencing practice in Cambridge, Maryland, in 1824. Pearce moved to Louisiana in 1825 and engaged in sugar planting, returning to Kent County, Maryland, in 1828, where he resumed the practice of law in Chestertown.

From 1831 until 1835, Pearce was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates. He was elected as a Whig to the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Congresses, serving from March 4, 1835 until March 3, 1839, but was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1838 to the Twenty-sixth Congress, losing to Philip Thomas. He was again elected to Congress in 1840, and served one term from March 4, 1841, until March 3, 1843.

Pearce was elected as a Whig to the United States Senate in 1843, and was re-elected in 1849, 1855, and 1861, the last time as a Democrat, and served from March 4, 1843, until his death in 1862. In the Senate, Pearce served as chairman of the Committee on the Library (Twenty-ninth through Thirty-seventh Congresses). He also served as chairman of the Committee on Finance for two months in 1861 and was a regent of the Smithsonian.[2] He died in Chestertown in 1862, and is interred in New Chester Cemetery.

James A. Pearce, photograph by Mathew Brady


  1. ^ Ruth Lincoln Kaye (March–April 1994). "Cottage Farm". The Friends Sentinal (Alexandria Library Lloyd House Journal) VIII (2). 
  2. ^ Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events of the year: 1862. New York: D. Appleton & Company. 1863. p. 682. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Richard B. Carmichael
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Philip Thomas
Preceded by
Philip Thomas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Francis Brengle
United States Senate
Preceded by
John L. Kerr
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Maryland
March 4, 1843 – December 20, 1862
Served alongside: William D. Merrick, Reverdy Johnson, David Stewart,
Thomas G. Pratt, Anthony Kennedy
Succeeded by
Thomas H. Hicks
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert M.T. Hunter
Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
Succeeded by
William Pitt Fessenden