Thomas S. Bocock

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Thomas Bocock
Thomas Bocock.jpg
Speaker of the Confederate States House of Representatives
In office
February 18, 1862 May 10, 1865
President Jefferson Davis
Preceded by Howell Cobb (President of the Provisional Congress)
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Member of the
C.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th district
In office
February 18, 1862 May 10, 1865
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Virginia's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1853 March 3, 1861
Preceded by Paulus Powell
Succeeded by Robert Ridgway
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Virginia's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1847 March 3, 1853
Preceded by Edmund Hubard
Succeeded by William Goode
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
In office
1842-1844
Personal details
Born(1815-05-18)May 18, 1815
Buckingham, Virginia
DiedAugust 5, 1891(1891-08-05) (aged 76)
Appomattox County, Virginia
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Hampden–Sydney College

Thomas Salem Bocock (May 18, 1815 August 5, 1891) was a nineteenth-century politician and lawyer from Virginia. After serving as an antebellum United States Congressman, he was the Speaker of the Confederate States House of Representatives during most of the American Civil War.

Virginia State of the United States of America

Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" due to its status as the first English colonial possession established in mainland North America and "Mother of Presidents" because eight U.S. presidents were born there, more than any other state. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2017 is over 8.4 million.

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U.S. history. Primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Contents

Early and family life

Born at Buckingham County Court House in Buckingham County, Virginia, he was the sixth of eleven children born to John Thomas Bocock (a farmer, lawyer, clerk of the Appomattox County Court House and friend of Thomas Jefferson) and Mary Flood (of a powerful and distinguished family which later produced Harry Flood Byrd), Thomas Bocock was educated by his father and other private teachers as a child. He attended Hampden–Sydney College, where he befriended Robert L. Dabney (his rival for class valectedorian) and graduated in 1838.

Buckingham, Virginia Census-designated place in Virginia, United States

Buckingham is a census-designated place in and the county seat of Buckingham County, Virginia, United States. The population as of the 2010 Census was 133.

Buckingham County, Virginia County in the United States

Buckingham County is a rural United States county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and containing the geographic center of the state. Buckingham County is part of the Piedmont region of Virginia, and the county seat is the town of Buckingham.

Thomas Jefferson 3rd president of the United States

Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, architect, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.

His oldest brother, Willis Perry Bocock (1807-1887), may have been the most successful lawyer in the area (Buckingham County splitting off Appomattox county in 1845), as well as state attorney general beginning in 1852. Although Thomas' legal mentor, Willis resigned his official position and moved to Marengo County, Alabama in 1857 shortly after marrying Mourning Smith, a wealthy widow originally from South Carolina, although returning for family visits. [1] Another elder brother, John Holmes Bocock, became a Presbyterian minister in Lynchburg and then the District of Columbia. [2] A slightly younger brother, Henry Flood Bocock (b. 1817), also became a lawyer, clerk of the Appomattox County courthouse (at the time of Lee's surrender to Grant), director of Farmer's Bank in Lynchburg, as well as Presbyterian lay leader and later trustee of Hampden-Sydney College. Their brothers William Stevens Bocock, Charles Thomas Bocock, and Nicholas Flood married but did not have such distinguished careers, and Milton Bocock died as a teenager; their sisters Amanda, Martha, Mary Matson and Mary Fuquar all married. [3]

Willis Perry Bocock was a nineteenth-century American politician from Virginia. He served as the Attorney General of Virginia, as a member of the Virginia General Assembly, and as a representative to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850.

Marengo County, Alabama County in the United States

Marengo County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population was 21,027. The largest city is Demopolis and the county seat is Linden. It is named in honor of Battle of Marengo near Turin, Italy, where French leader Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the Austrians on June 14, 1800.

Thomas Bocock married his second cousin Sarah Patrick Flood in 1846, but she may have died in childbirth or from complications. They had a daughter Bell (1849-1891). His second wife was Annie Holmes Faulker. They married in Berkeley County, Virginia (later West Virginia) in 1853 and had five children: Thomas Stanley Bocock, Willis P Bocock (1861-1947) and daughters Mazie F., Ella F. and Sallie P. (all of whom married twice). [4]

Bocock studied law under his eldest brother and was admitted to the bar in 1840. He began his legal practice in Buckingham Court House, and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, where he served from 1842 to 1844. He was also the first prosecuting attorney for Appomattox County, Virginia when it split off Buckingham County, serving from 1845 to 1846.

Virginia House of Delegates lower house of U.S. state legislature

The Virginia House of Delegates is one of two parts in the Virginia General Assembly, the other being the Senate of Virginia. It has 100 members elected for terms of two years; unlike most states, these elections take place during odd-numbered years. The House is presided over by the Speaker of the House, who is elected from among the House membership by the Delegates. The Speaker is usually a member of the majority party and, as Speaker, becomes the most powerful member of the House. The House shares legislative power with the Senate of Virginia, the upper house of the Virginia General Assembly. The House of Delegates is the modern-day successor to the Virginia House of Burgesses, which first met at Jamestown in 1619. The House is divided into Democratic and Republican caucuses. In addition to the Speaker, there is a majority leader, majority caucus chair, minority leader, minority caucus chair, and the chairs of the several committees of the House.

Prosecutor supreme representative of the prosecution (of the state)

A prosecutor is a legal representative of the prosecution in countries with either the common law adversarial system, or the civil law inquisitorial system. The prosecution is the legal party responsible for presenting the case in a criminal trial against an individual accused of breaking the law. Typically, the prosecutor represents the government in the case brought against the accused person.

Appomattox County, Virginia County in the United States

Appomattox County is a United States county located in the Piedmont region and near the center of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The county is part of the Lynchburg, VA Metropolitan Statistical Area, and its county seat is the town of Appomattox.

Bocock was elected a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives in 1846, serving from 1847 to 1861. He became chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs from 1853 to 1855 and again from 1857 to 1859. In 1859, Bocock was nominated for Speaker of the House, but withdrew after eight weeks of debate and multiple ballots failed to elect a speaker. [5]

Democratic Party (United States) political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party. The Democrats' dominant worldview was once social conservatism and economic liberalism while populism was its leading characteristic in the rural South. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third-party candidate in the Progressive Party, beginning a switch of political platforms between the Democratic and Republican Party over the coming decades, and leading to Woodrow Wilson being elected as the first fiscally progressive Democrat. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition in the 1930s, the Democratic Party has also promoted a social liberal platform, supporting social justice.

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they comprise the legislature of the United States.

United States House Committee on Armed Services Standing committee of the United States House of Representatives responsible for funding and oversight of the Department of Defense (DOD) and the United States armed forces, as well as substantial portions of the Department of Energy.

The U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, commonly known as the House Armed Services Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. It is responsible for funding and oversight of the Department of Defense (DOD) and the United States armed forces, as well as substantial portions of the Department of Energy.

A committed slaveholder and Southern nationalist, Bocock praised Sen. Preston Brook's attack on Charles Sumner, but later reinvented himself as a moderate on the Kansas slavery issue. Bocock spoke at the inauguration of the Washington Equine Statue on the grounds of the State Capital in Richmond in 1860, but his rise in Confederate circles came after his speech against Force Bill on February 20 and 21, 1861 (which he had published and distributed at Virginia's Secession Convention).

Elections

Civil War

Following the start of the Civil War and Virginia's secession, Bocock was elected as a Democrat to the Confederate States House of Representatives in 1861, serving until the end of the war in 1865. He was a member of the unicameral Provisional Confederate Congress, as well as the succeeding First and Second Confederate Congresses. Bocock was unanimously elected Speaker of the Confederate States House of Representatives, and served from 1862 to 1865. However, in the final year, he broke with President Jefferson Davis and his personal friend and political ally Secretary of War James A. Seddon over the issue of arming slaves, arguing that such would be tantamount to abolishing slavery, as did his ally Robert M. T. Hunter. He left Richmond during the April 1865 evacuation, and later fled his home, Wildway.

Postwar career

As the war ended at nearby Appomattox Court House, Bocock owned more than twenty slaves. He did not want to pay his former slaves as workers, instead of telling them he would provide food and shelter, as he had under slavery. Bocock even tried to purchase several formerly enslaved people from neighbors. The African Americans appealed to the provost marshal, who said they deserved "liberal compensation." [6]

Bocock moved to Lynchburg (maintaining Wildway as his summer home), where he practiced law and helped form the Virginia Conservative Party. He supported President Andrew Johnson for election in 1868 (although probably too important a Confederate official to be covered by his controversial amnesty declarations), and later unsuccessful Democratic Presidential candidates Horace Greeley in 1872 and Samuel Tilden in 1876.

One of the architects of Jim Crow Laws, Bocock served in Virginia's House of Delegates again from 1877 to 1879. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1868, 1876 and 1880. Bocock opposed the Virginia Readjuster Party and ultimately handed over the political reins to a younger generation, including Alexander H. H. Stuart, and concentrated on his legal practice and family. [7]

Death and legacy

He died in Appomattox County, Virginia, on August 5, 1891, and was interred at Old Bocock Cemetery near his plantation, "Wildway."

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References

Notes

  1. Marvel, William (February 12, 2008). "A Place Called Appomattox". Southern Illinois University Press. Retrieved April 25, 2018 via Google Books.
  2. Charles F. Ritter and Jon Vakelyn, Leaders of the American Civil War: A Biographical and Historiographical Dictionary (Routledge, 2014) available on Google books
  3. Nathaniel R. Featherston, Appomattox County: History and Genealogy (Genealogical Publishing Company, 2009 at p. 114
  4. Featherston p. 114
  5. "Thomas S. Bocock - Virginia Historical Markers on Waymarking.com". www.waymarking.com. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  6. Remaking Virginia: Transformation through Emancipation. Exhibit at Library of Virginia beginning July 6, 2015
  7. Wakelyn (page numbering omitted in excerpt
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Edmund Hubard
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 4th congressional district

1847–1853
Succeeded by
William Goode
Preceded by
Paulus Powell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th congressional district

1853–1861
Succeeded by
Robert Ridgway (1)
Confederate States House of Representatives
New constituency Member of the C.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th congressional district

1862–1865
Constituency abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
Howell Cobb
as President of the Provisional Confederate States Congress
Speaker of the Confederate States House of Representatives
1862–1865
Position abolished
Notes and references
1. Because of Virginia's secession, the House seat was vacant for almost nine years before Ridgway succeeded Bocock.