Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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CHALMERS, Joseph W., senator, born in Hall-fax county, Virginia, in 1807; died in Holly Springs, Mississippi, in June, 1853. He was the son of a wealthy planter, who came from Scotland, being related to Thomas Chalmers, the celebrated divine. The son was trained to mercantile pursuits, but, after the death of his father, determined to be a lawyer, and, after spending two years in the University of Virginia, studied law in the office of Benjamin W. Leigh in Richmond. In 1835 he removed to Jackson, Tennessee, and in 1840 to Holly Springs, Mississippi In 1842-'3 he was vice-chancellor. In 1846 he was appointed to the seat in the United States senate rendered vacant by the appointment of Robert J. Walker to the head of the treasury department, and was subsequently elected for the remainder of the term, but at its close he declined re-election and resumed the practice of law, being succeeded by Jefferson Davis. He served in the senate from 7 December, 1845, till 3 March, 1847. He was a zealous state-rights democrat, and warmly supported General Cass for president in 1848, and John A. Quit-man and Jefferson Davis in their contests with Henry S. Foote in 1851.
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