Alexander H. H. Stuart, U.S. Secretary of the Interior

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Alexander Hugh Holmes Stuart

Birthdate: (84)
Death: 1891 (84)
Immediate Family:

Son of Archibald Stuart and Eleanor Briscoe

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Immediate Family

About Alexander H. H. Stuart, U.S. Secretary of the Interior

Alexander Hugh Holmes Stuart (April 2, 1807 – February 13, 1891) was a U.S. political figure. Stuart served as the Secretary of the Interior between 1850 and 1853.

Early years

Stuart was born in Staunton, Virginia, to judge Archibald Stuart, a third-generation American of Scots-Irish origin and his wife Eleanor (nee Briscoe), of distant English ancestry.

Stuart attended the College of William and Mary and graduated from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Stuart then studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1828.

Political career

Stuart was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1836 to 1839 and then elected as a Whig to the 27th Congress. Stuart lost the election to the 28th Congress.


From 1850, Stuart served as United States Secretary of the Interior under Millard Fillmore for three years. The department had a culture of political patronage. Stuart didn't change this, but at least gave rules and standards to the political appointments and removed some of the administrative chaos inherent with patronage.

Stuart then served in the Virginia Senate from 1857 through 1861 and was a member of the Virginia state secession convention in 1861. As the Confederacy was established and the United States divided into two hostile camps, both sides moved steadily toward open conflict. A special delegation, composed of Stuart, William B. Preston and George W. Randolph, travelled to Washington, D.C. where they met President Abraham Lincoln on April 12. Finding the President firm in his resolve to hold the Federal forts then in the South, the three men returned to Richmond, Virginia on April 15. Stuart was a delegate to the National Convention of Conservatives at Philadelphia in 1866, and Stuart presented credentials as a Member-elect to the 39th Congress in 1865 but was not admitted.

Stuart was chairman of the Committee of Nine, which was instrumental in restoring Virginia to the Union in 1870, and was again a member of the Virginia General Assembly from 1874 to 1877.

Stuart served as rector of the University of Virginia from 1874 to 1882 and also as president of the Virginia Historical Society, as well as continuing with the practice of law. Stuart died in his hometown of Staunton in 1891 and is buried there at Thornrose Cemetery. Prior to his death, Stuart had been the last surviving member of the Fillmore Cabinet.


Father: Judge Archibald Stuart, Born March 19, 1757, Died July 11, 1832
Mother: Eleanor Briscoe (1768–1858)
Stuart had three brothers, Thomas Jefferson Stuart (born 1793), Archibald P. Stuart (born 1800), and Gerard Briscoe Stuart (born 1805).
Stuart was the first cousin of congressman Archibald Stuart, whose son was Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart, making him his first cousin, once removed.
Stuart married Frances Cornelia Baldwin (1815–1888), and with her had 8 children: Briscoe Baldwin Stuart (1837–1859), Alexander H. H. Stuart Jr. (1846–1867), Archibald Gerard Stuart (1858–1888), Eleanor Augusta Stuart (1838–1878), Frances Peyton Stuart (born 1842), Mary Stuart (born 1844), Susan Baldwin Stuart (1848–1867), and Margaret Briscoe Stuart (1855–1932).
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Alexander H. H. Stuart, U.S. Secretary of the Interior's Timeline

Age 84