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About James Alfred Pearce
James Alfred Pearce (December 14, 1805 – December 20, 1862) was an American politician. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the second district of Maryland from 1835–1839 and 1841-1843. He later served as a U.S. Senator from Maryland from 1843 until his death in 1862.
Pearce was the son of Gideon Pearce and Julia Dick, and the grandson of Elisha C. Dick.
Pearce was born in Alexandria, Virginia, and, as a youth, attended a private academy there. He graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1822. He later studied law, and was admitted to the bar, commencing practice in Cambridge, Maryland, in 1824. Pearce moved to Louisiana in 1825 and engaged in sugar planting, returning to Kent County, Maryland, in 1828, where he resumed the practice of law in Chestertown.
From 1831 until 1835, Pearce was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates. He was elected as a Whig to the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Congresses, serving from March 4, 1835 until March 3, 1839, but was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1838 to the Twenty-sixth Congress, losing to Philip Thomas. He was again elected to Congress in 1840, and served one term from March 4, 1841, until March 3, 1843.
Pearce was elected as a Whig to the United States Senate in 1843, and was re-elected in 1849, 1855, and 1861, the last time as a Democrat, and served from March 4, 1843, until his death in 1862. In the Senate, Pearce served as chairman of the Committee on the Library (Twenty-ninth through Thirty-seventh Congresses). He also served as chairman of the Committee on Finance for two months in 1861. He died in Chestertown in 1862, and is interred in New Chester Cemetery.