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Ferdinand Leigh Claiborne

CLAIBORNE, Ferdinand Leigh, soldier, born in Sussex country, Virginia, in 1772; died in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1815. He entered the military service of the United States as ensign of infantry in 1793, becoming lieutenant in 1794 and captain in 1799. This office he resigned in 1802, and became brigadier-general of the militia in Mississippi, 5 February, 1811, and later commanded a regiment of volunteers from that territory. In 1813 he was made brigadier-general of United States volunteers, and commanded in the engagement with the Creek Indians at the Holy Ground in December, 1813. He then settled in Mississippi, and on 4 February, 1815, became legislative councillor, later presiding over the deliberations of the legislature.--His brother, William Charles Cole, senator, born in Sussex county, Virginia, in 1775; died in New Orleans, Louisiana, 23 November, 1817, received a liberal education and studied law. After being admitted to the bar, he settled in Nashville, Tennessee, where he followed his profession. He soon received the appointment of territorial judge, and assisted in framing the state constitution in 1796. During the following year he was elected as a democrat to congress, and served from 23 March, 1797, till 3 March, 1801. In 1802 he was appointed governor of Mississippi, and in 1803 became a commissioner, with General James Wilkinson, to take possession of Louisiana when it was purchased from France. After the establishment of the new government, in 1804, he was made governor, and when that province became a state he was elected by the people to the same office. He was chosen as a democrat to be United States senator from the new state, but died before he was able to take his seat. --Another brother, Nathaniel Herbert, politician, born in Sussex county, Virginia, 14 November, 1777; died in Franklin county, Virginia, 15 August, 1859, received a classical education, and for many years served variously in both branches of the state legislature, where he achieved a reputation as a reformer of extravagance and abuses of the government. Later he became a member of the executive council, and in 1825 was sent to congress, where, with subsequent re-elections, he served continuously from 5 December, 1825, till 3 March, 1837. He was the author of "Notes on the War in the South" (Richmond, 1819).--John Francis Hamtramck, son of Ferdinand Leigh, lawyer, born in Natchez, Mississippi, 24 April, 1809; died there, 17 May, 1884. At the age of fourteen he was sent to relations in Virginia to be educated, and later entered the law-office of Benjamin Watkins Leigh, but failing health compelled his return to Natchez, where he continued his law studies. Subsequently he was admitted to the bar in Virginia, and, as he was about to begin practice in Natchez, he was induced to assume editorial control of a journal then published by Col. Andrew 'Marschalk. This step led him into politics, and before he had attained his majority he was chosen a member of the state legislature, and was twice re-elected. Mr. Claiborne then settled in Madison county, and was nominated for congress by acclamation in the first State democratic convention ever held in Mississippi. A hotly contested canvass ensued, after which Claiborne was elected, and served from 7 December, 1835, till 31 January, 1838. During his second term his election was contested, a new election was called for, and his opponent was successful. This was due to a misunderstanding which had arisen in consequence of his election for a special session being regarded by his friends as for the entire term, and hence not voting at all. Mr. Claiborne then turned his attention to journalism, and became editor of the Natchez "Fair-Trader." In 1844 he removed to New Orleans. where he edited successively the "Jeffersonian," the "Statesman," and afterward the "Louisiana Courier." On the election of President Pierce he received the appointment of United States timber agent for Louisiana and Mississippi. Later he resided at his plantation, "Dunbarton," in the vicinity of Natchez, where, in possession of abundant fortune, he devoted his time principally to literary pursuits. He published, besides many magazine articles, "Life and Correspondence of General John A. Quitman" (2 vols., New York, 1860); "Life and Times of General Sam. Dale" (1860); and "Mississippi as a Province, a Territory, and a State" (Jackson, 1880).

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