About James Donald Cameron
James Donald Cameron (May 14, 1833 – August 30, 1918) was an American politician from Pennsylvania who served as Secretary of War under Ulysses S. Grant and in the United States Senate for twenty years.
Born in Middletown, Pennsylvania in the family home, the son of Simon Cameron, the 26th Secretary of War and a powerful Pennsylvania politician and Margaret Brua. Cameron graduated from Princeton College (today Princeton University) in 1852 and received a graduate degree in 1855. He worked as a bank clerk and cashier and was later president of the Northern Central Railway from 1866 to 1874. In 1876, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Cameron to his cabinet as Secretary of War, a post his father once served in during the Lincoln administration, to succeed Alphonso Taft, who became Attorney General, and served as so until the end of Grant's presidency.
In 1877, his father resigned from his seat in the United States Senate and Cameron was appointed to fill the vacancy under the ensurance of the Pennsylvania Legislature. He was reelected three more times serving for a total of twenty years. He served as chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs from 1881 to 1891 and again from 1895 to 1897 and as chairman of the Committee on Revolutionary Claims from 1893 to 1895. Cameron also served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1879 to 1880. After not being a candidate for reelection in 1896, he engaged in several business enterprises in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and later died at his country home called "Donegal"(Cameron Estate) in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He was interred in Harrisburg Cemetery in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Prior to his death, Cameron was the last surviving member of the Grant administration.
Cameron married Mary McCormick on May 20, 1856, and together they had six children: Eliza McCormick Cameron (b. 1857), who married William H. Bradley; Virginia Rolette Cameron (b. 1861), who married Lt. Alexander Rodgers; James McCormick Cameron (b. 1865); Mary Cameron (b. 1867); Margaretta Brua Cameron (b. 1869), who married John William Clark; and Rachel Burnside Cameron (b. 1871). Cameron's second wife, the former Elizabeth Sherman, whom he married in 1878, was the niece of William Tecumseh Sherman and John Sherman and a close friend of Henry Brooks Adams. Martha Cameron (b.1886), his daughter with Elizabeth Sherman Cameron, married Sir Ronald Charles Lindsay in 1909.