William Bailey Lamar

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William Bailey Lamar
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1903 – March 3, 1909
Preceded byDistrict established
Succeeded byDannite H. Mays
16th Florida Attorney General
In office
January 8, 1889 – March 4, 1903
GovernorFrancis P. Fleming
Henry L. Mitchell
William D. Bloxham
William Sherman Jennings
Preceded byCharles Merian Cooper
Succeeded byJames B. Whitfield
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the Jefferson district
In office
1886 – January 8, 1889
Personal details
Born(1853-06-12)June 12, 1853
Monticello, Florida
DiedSeptember 26, 1928(1928-09-26) (aged 75)
Thomasville, Georgia
Political partyDemocratic
Ethel Healey
(m. 1904)
EducationJefferson Academy
University of Georgia
Cumberland University

William Bailey Lamar (June 12, 1853 – September 26, 1928) was an American attorney and politician who served as a U.S. representative from Florida from 1903 to 1909.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Lamar was born on June 12, 1853 in Monticello, Florida. He was a member of the Lamar family, a political family from Georgia.[2][3] Lamar attended Jefferson Academy in Monticello, and later went on to attend the University of Georgia. He lived in Athens, Georgia from 1866 until 1873, when he began attending Cumberland University's law school in Lebanon, Tennessee, graduating in 1875.[4]

That same year, Lamar was admitted into the Mississippi Bar and began a private practice in Tupelo, Mississippi.[4]

Political career[edit]

In 1877, Lamar returned to Florida, having been appointed clerk of the Jefferson County court, a position he held until 1881. In 1883, Lamar, a Democrat, was appointed judge of the Jefferson County court, serving until 1886, when he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, representing Jefferson County.[4] Lamar served as a representative until 1889, when he was appointed the 16th Florida Attorney General by newly elected Governor Francis P. Fleming.[5]

During his long 14-year tenure as Attorney General, Lamar oversaw the industrialization and modernization of the formerly agrarian Florida economy.[6] However, Lamar ensured that Florida would remain segregated, as he turned a blind eye while his subordinates instituted laws banning blacks from entire towns.[7]

U.S. Congress and later career[edit]

As a result of the 1900 U.S. Census, Florida was apportioned a third U.S. House seat for the 1902 election. Lamar received the Democratic nomination in 1902, and ran unopposed in the general election. He was reelected in 1904 after defeating Republican L. M. Ware. In 1906 he faced only token opposition from Socialist T. B. Meeker.[8][9]

On December 23, 1907, one of Florida's U.S. Senators, Stephen Mallory, II, died in office. The Florida Legislature appointed Duval County solicitor William James Bryan to finish Mallory's term in the U.S. Senate, but Bryan died not long after, on March 22, 1908.[10] The Legislature then appointed the former mayor of Marianna, Florida, William Hall Milton, to the Senate seat, which was up for election later that year.[11]

Lamar did not run for reelection for his house seat, opting instead to run for the senate seat. However, Lamar did not receive the Democratic nomination, losing to the former mayor of Jacksonville Duncan U. Fletcher. Fletcher went on to win the seat, running unopposed in the general election.[12]

After his loss in the Senate race, Lamar retired politically, returning to a private law practice. In 1915, he was appointed national commissioner to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, California.[8]

Death and burial[edit]

Lamar died on September 26, 1928 at his winter home in Thomasville, Georgia. He is buried in Athens' Oconee Hill Cemetery.[13]

Lamar married Ethel Healey on June 8, 1904, though they did not have children.[14]


  1. ^ "WILLIAM BAILEY LAMAR | C-SPAN.org". www.c-span.org. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  2. ^ "Col Thompson Bird Lamar". Find a Grave. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  3. ^ "The Political Graveyard: Lamar family of Georgia". politicalgraveyard.com. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  4. ^ a b c "LAMAR, William Bailey - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  5. ^ "Florida Attorney General - Florida Attorneys General (1845 - )". myfloridalegal.com. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  6. ^ "The Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900 | Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History". www.gilderlehrman.org. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  7. ^ Byrne, Jason (2016-10-21). "The Illusion of Freedom: African Americans in 1890s Florida". Medium. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  8. ^ a b "LAMAR, William Bailey | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". history.house.gov. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  9. ^ "The Political Graveyard: Florida: U.S. Representatives, 1900s". politicalgraveyard.com. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  10. ^ "BRYAN, William James - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  11. ^ "MILTON, William Hall - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  12. ^ Dubin, Michael J. (1998-03-01). United States Congressional Elections, 1788–1997: The Official Results of the Elections of the 1st through 105th Congresses. McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. ISBN 9780786402830.
  13. ^ "William Bailey Lamar". Find a Grave. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  14. ^ "The Political Graveyard: June 28, 1904". politicalgraveyard.com. Retrieved 2019-04-04.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by Florida Attorney General
1889 – 1903
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
New district
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 3rd congressional district

March 4, 1903 – March 3, 1909
Succeeded by