|Speaker of the |
Confederate States House of Representatives
February 18, 1862 –May 10, 1865
|Preceded by||Howell Cobb (President of the Provisional Congress)|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
|Member of the|
C.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 5th district
February 18,1862 –May 10,1865
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||Constituency abolished|
|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
March 4,1853 –March 3,1861
|Preceded by||Paulus Powell|
|Succeeded by||Robert Ridgway|
March 4,1847 –March 3,1853
|Preceded by||Edmund Hubard|
|Succeeded by||William Goode|
|Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Buckingham County|
December 5,1842 –December 2,1844
|Preceded by||John W. Haskins|
|Succeeded by||Thomas H. Flood|
|Died||August 5,1891 76) (aged|
|Alma mater||Hampden–Sydney College|
Thomas Salem Bocock (May 18,1815 – August 5,1891) was a nineteenth-century politician,slave owner ,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.
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.
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.Another elder brother,John Holmes Bocock,became a Presbyterian minister in Lynchburg and then the District of Columbia. 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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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."
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.
He died in Appomattox County,Virginia,on August 5,1891,and was interred at Old Bocock Cemetery near his plantation,"Wildway."
John Winston Jones was an American politician and lawyer. He served five terms in the United States House of Representatives from 1835 to 1845. He served as Speaker of the House in both the U.S. House of Representatives (1843-1845) and the Virginia House of Delegates (1847).
Alexander Hugh Holmes Stuart was a prominent Virginia lawyer and American political figure associated with several political parties. Stuart served in both houses of the Virginia General Assembly, as a U.S. Congressman (1841-1843), and as the Secretary of the Interior. Despite opposing Virginia's secession and holding no office after finishing his term in the Virginia Senate during the American Civil War, after the war he was denied a seat in Congress. Stuart led the Committee of Nine, which attempted to reverse the changes brought by Reconstruction. He also served as rector of the University of Virginia.
The Confederate States Congress was both the provisional and permanent legislative assembly of the Confederate States of America that existed from 1861 to 1865. Its actions were for the most part concerned with measures to establish a new national government for the Southern "revolution", and to prosecute a war that had to be sustained throughout the existence of the Confederacy. At first, it met as a provisional congress both in Montgomery, Alabama and Richmond, Virginia.
Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter was a Virginia lawyer, politician and plantation owner. He was a U.S. representative, speaker of the House (1839–1841), and U.S. senator (1847–1861). During the American Civil War, Hunter became the Confederate States Secretary of State (1861–1862) and then a Confederate senator (1862–1865) and critic of President Jefferson Davis. After the war, Hunter failed to win re-election to the U.S. Senate, but did serve as the treasurer of Virginia (1874–1880) before retiring to his farm. After fellow Democrat Grover Cleveland was elected President of the United States in 1884, Hunter became the customs collector for the port of Tappahannock until his death.
John Letcher was an American lawyer, journalist, and politician. He served as a Representative in the United States Congress, was the 34th Governor of Virginia during the American Civil War, and later served in the Virginia General Assembly. He was also active on the Board of Visitors of Virginia Military Institute.
William "Extra Billy" Smith was a lawyer, congressman, the 30th and 35th Governor of Virginia, and a major general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. On his appointment in January 1863, at the age of 65, Smith was the oldest Confederate general to hold field command in the war.
William Cabell Rives was an American lawyer, planter, politician and diplomat from Virginia. Initially a Jackson Democrat as well as member of the First Families of Virginia, Rives served in the Virginia House of Delegates representing first Nelson County, then Albemarle County, Virginia, before service in both the U.S. House and Senate. Rives also served two separate terms as U.S. Minister to France. During the Andrew Jackson administration, Rives negotiated a treaty whereby the French agreed to pay the U.S. for spoliation claims from the Napoleonic Wars. During the American Civil War, Rives became a Delegate to the Provisional Confederate Congress and the Confederate House of Representatives.
Thomas Staples Martin was an American lawyer and Democratic Party politician from Albemarle County, Virginia, who founded a political organization that held power in Virginia for decades and who personally became a U.S. Senator who served for nearly a quarter century and rose to become the Majority Leader before dying in office.
James Garland was a nineteenth-century politician, military officer, planter, lawyer and judge from Virginia.
Henry Alonzo Edmundson was a nineteenth-century Virginia lawyer, congressman, farmer, slaveowner and Confederate officer.
Thomas Henry Bayly was a nineteenth-century politician, slave owner, lawyer and judge from Virginia, and the son of Congressman Thomas M. Bayly.
Walter Coles was a Virginia planter, military officer and Democratic politician who served in the Virginia House of Delegates and in the U.S. House of Representatives.
William Osborne Goode was a nineteenth-century American politician, slave-owner and lawyer from Virginia.
Robert Ridgway was a nineteenth-century congressman, lawyer and journalist from Virginia.
Richard Thomas Walker Duke Sr. was a nineteenth-century congressman and lawyer from Virginia.
Thomas Hamlet Averett was a slave owner and U.S. Representative from Virginia.
John Lamb was a Virginia farmer, Confederate officer, businessman and politician who served 16 years in the United States House of Representatives.
Peter Johnston Otey was former Confederate States Army officer and later prisoner of war during the American Civil War, who became businessman, land developer and railroad executive before retiring and winning election to the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat from Lynchburg, Virginia and serving three terms before his death.
The Bocock–Isbell House is a structure within the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. It was registered in the National Park Service's database of Official Structures on June 26, 1989.
Thomas H. Flood was a nineteenth-century American politician from Virginia.