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About Benjamin Watkins Leigh
Benjamin Watkins Leigh (June 18, 1781 – February 2, 1849) was an American lawyer and politician from Richmond, Virginia. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates and represented Virginia in the United States Senate. Benjamin Watkins Leigh was born in Chesterfield County on June 18, 1781, the son of the Reverend William Leigh and Elizabeth (Watkins) Leigh. He attended the College of William and Mary, studied law, and began practicing in Petersburg in 1802. After representing Dinwiddie County in the Virginia House of Delegates 1811-13, he moved to Richmond where he rose rapidly in his chosen profession. He prepared the revised Code of Virginia in 1819, was a delegate to the Virginia Convention of 1829-30, a reporter of the Virginia Court of Appeals 1829-41, and was again elected to the Virginia legislature, representing Henrico County in the session of 1830-31. Leigh was elected as a Whig to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William Cabell Rives; he was reelected in 1835.
Every State had expressed the disapproval of South Carolina's nullification and it was Leigh who was sent to urge South Carolina to desist from carrying matters to extremities. (Source: The Origin of the Late War Traced from the Beginning of the Constitution to the Revolt of the Southern States. By George Lunt New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1866 p. 89) Lunt served until his resignation on July 4, 1836. Thereafter he resumed the practice of law in Richmond. He died there on February 2, 1849, and is buried in Shockoe Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia. *
Leigh was married three times: on December 24, 1802, to Mary Selden Watkins; on November 30, 1813, to Susan Colston; on November 24, 1821, to Julia Wickham; he left numerous descendants. Benjamin Watkins Leigh was a founding member (1831) of the Virginia Historical Society and first chairman of its standing committee