Robert H. Adams

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Robert Huntington Adams
United States Senator
from Mississippi
In office
January 6, 1830 July 2, 1830
Preceded by Thomas B. Reed
Succeeded by George Poindexter
Member of the Mississippi House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Rockbridge County, Virginia
DiedJuly 2, 1830 (aged 3738)
Natchez, Mississippi
Political party Jacksonian Democrat

Robert Huntington Adams (1792–July 2, 1830) was an American lawyer and politician from the state of Mississippi. He was briefly a member of the United States Senate, suddenly dying six months after his election to that body.

Mississippi U.S. state in the United States

Mississippi is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Mississippi is the 32nd largest and 34th-most populous of the 50 United States. Mississippi is bordered to the north by Tennessee, to the east by Alabama, to the south by the Gulf of Mexico, to the southwest by Louisiana, and to the northwest by Arkansas. Mississippi's western boundary is largely defined by the Mississippi River. Jackson is both the state's capital and largest city. Greater Jackson, with an estimated population of 580,166 in 2018, is the most populous metropolitan area in Mississippi and the 95th-most populous in the United States.

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress which, along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C.



Early years

Robert Huntington Adams was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia in 1792; as was common in the 18th century, the day and month went unrecorded. He learned the trade of barrelmaking there and worked several years at that task. [1]

Rockbridge County, Virginia U.S. county in Virginia

Rockbridge County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 22,307. Its county seat is Lexington. The independent cities of Buena Vista (6,680) and Lexington (7,170) are both enclaved within the county's geographical borders.

Cooper (profession) Maker of staved vessels such as barrels

A cooper is a person trained to make wooden casks, barrels, vats, buckets, tubs, troughs and other staved containers from timber that was usually heated or steamed to make it pliable. Journeymen coopers also traditionally made wooden implements, such as rakes and wooden-bladed shovels. In addition to wood, other materials, such as iron, were used in the manufacturing process. The profession is the origin of the surname Cooper.

By 1806, Adams had attained sufficient learning to graduate from Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) at Lexington, Virginia. [2] He subsequently studied law, was admitted to the bar, and started a legal practice in Knoxville, Tennessee. [2] Then following a brief residence in Nashville, he relocated to Natchez, Mississippi where he rose to prominence as an attorney and politician. [1]

Washington and Lee University United States historic place

Washington and Lee University is a private liberal arts university in Lexington, Virginia. Established in 1749, the university is a colonial-era college and the ninth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.

Lexington, Virginia Independent city in Virginia, United States

Lexington is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 7,042. It is the county seat of Rockbridge County, although the two are separate jurisdictions. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Lexington with Rockbridge County for statistical purposes. Lexington is about 57 miles (92 km) east of the West Virginia border and is about 50 miles (80 km) north of Roanoke, Virginia. It was first settled in 1777.

A bar association is a professional association of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both. In many Commonwealth jurisdictions, the bar association comprises lawyers who are qualified as barristers or advocates in particular, versus solicitors. Membership in bar associations may be mandatory or optional for practicing attorneys, depending on jurisdiction.

Adams was reckoned by U.S. Senator Henry S. Foote to be an able orator despite an inferior formal education, able to expound upon a great variety of subjects in such a compelling manner that his listeners felt themselves in the presence of "one of nature's most wonderful productions." [1]

Henry S. Foote American politician

Henry Stuart Foote was a United States Senator from Mississippi and the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 1847 to 1852. He was a Unionist Governor of Mississippi from 1852 to 1854, and an American Party supporter in California. During the American Civil War, he served in the First and Second Confederate Congresses. A practicing attorney, he published two memoirs related to the Civil War years, as well as a book on Texas prior to its annexation, and a postwar book on the legal profession and courts in the South.

Political career

Adams was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1828, representing a district including the city of Natchez there. [2]

Mississippi House of Representatives lower house of U.S. state legislature

The Mississippi House of Representatives is the lower house of the Mississippi Legislature, the lawmaking body of the U.S. state of Mississippi. According to the state constitution of 1890, it is to comprise no more than 122 members elected for four-year terms. To qualify as a member of the House candidates must be at least 21 years old, a resident of Mississippi for at least four years, and a resident in the district in which he or she is running for at least two years. Current state law provides for the maximum number of members. Elections are held the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

In the 19th century, state legislatures elected U.S. Senators, sometimes creating unusual paths for advancement. This was particularly true in the case of Robert Adams, who barely one year after being elected a state representative was surprisingly tapped to fill the seat vacated the recently deceased Thomas B. Reed, narrowly winning election to the open seat by vote of the legislature in a four-man field. [1]

Thomas Buck Reed United States Senator from Mississippi

Thomas Buck Reed was a United States Senator from Mississippi.

Adams, a Jacksonian, advanced to the office and was sworn in on January 6, 1830. [2] He served in Washington, D.C. throughout the winter and spring, returning to Mississippi for summer recess in May of that year. [1]

Death and legacy

Not long after his return to Natchez, Adams was stricken ill and died suddenly on July 2, 1830, at the age of just 38. [1] His body was interred in Natchez City Cemetery. [2]

Adams was remembered by Henry Foote as a talented and able public speaker for whom "there is no knowing what amount of fame he might have acquired, or what wonders he would have achieved upon the theatre of national affairs" had he not suffered a premature death. [3]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Dunbar Rowland, Mississippi: Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form. In Two Volumes. Atlanta, GA: Southern Historical Publishing Association, 1907; vol. 1, pp. 29-30.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Robert Huntington Adams, (1792 - 1830)," Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress, 1774-Present.
  3. Henry S. Foote, quoted in Rowland, Mississippi, vol. 1, pg. 30.
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Thomas B. Reed
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Mississippi
Served alongside: Powhatan Ellis
Succeeded by
George Poindexter

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