About Donelson Caffery
Donelson Caffery (September 10, 1835 – December 30, 1906) was an American politician from the state of Louisiana, a distinguished soldier in the American Civil War, and a sugar plantation owner.
Caffery was born in Franklin, Louisiana the seat of St. Mary Parish. His great-grandfather, Colonel John Donelson, co-founder of the city of Nashville, was the father-in-law of President Andrew Jackson. During the American Civil War, Caffery served in the Confederate army as a lieutenant in the 13th Louisiana infantry regiment. After the war he became a lawyer and owned a sugar plantation. He was elected to the Louisiana State Senate and in 1892, he was appointed to the United States Senate from Louisiana to fill the unexpired term of Randall L. Gibson who died in office. Caffery began a full six-year term in 1894, on election by the Louisiana State Legislature,and he served in the Senate until 1901. He was the first nominee for President of the Democratic National Party at its Indianapolis Convention in 1900 but declined the nomination. He declined to seek a second full term in 1900. Strangely, a group of anti-imperialists, meeting in New York on 5 September 1900, nominated Caffery for President and Boston attorney and historian Archibald M. Howe for Vice President. Caffery, a staunch Democrat, refused this nomination, and Howe quickly withdrew as well.
He was a member of the Democratic Party and served as chairman of the Senate Committee on enrolled bills from 1893 to 1894 and as chairman of the Senate Committee on corporations organized in the District of Columbia from 1899 to 1901.
After he left the Senate, Caffery resumed practicing law. He died in New Orleans, Louisiana and is buried in Franklin Cemetery in Franklin.
Caffery's grandson, Patrick T. Caffery, served two terms in the U.S. House from 1969-73.