George Poindexter, Governor, U.S. Senator

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George Poindexter

Birthdate: (74)
Birthplace: Louisa County, Virginia, USA
Death: September 5, 1853 (74)
Jackson, Mississippi, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Poindexter, Sr. and Lucy Poindexter
Husband of Lydia Poindexter
Father of George Littleton Poindexter and Albert Gallatin Poindexter
Brother of John Poindexter; Thomas Poindexter, Jr. and Robert Poindexter

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About George Poindexter, Governor, U.S. Senator

George Poindexter (1779 – September 5, 1853) was an American politician, lawyer and judge from Mississippi.


Poindexter was born in Louisa County, Virginia and was of Huguenot ancestry.[1] He was orphaned early in life and had a sporadic education growing up. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1800, commencing practice in Milton, Virginia (today West Virginia).


After moving to the Mississippi Territory in 1802, Poindexter continued to practice law in Natchez, Mississippi. He soon became a leader there in the Democratic-Republican Party and was appointed Attorney General of the Territory. When former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr was arrested in 1807 for the alleged Burr conspiracy, Poindexter conducted the prosecution until Burr's escape from custody. Poindexter's outspoken opposition to the Federalist Party resulted in a duel challenge from merchant Abijah Hunt. Poindexter accepted the challenge and killed Hunt resulting in controversy and unsubstantiated claims that accused Poindexter of firing prematurely.[1] Poindexter was a member of the Territorial House of Representatives in 1805 and was a delegate to the United States House of Representatives from the Territory in the 10th, 11th and 12th Congresses from 1807 to 1813.

[edit] Judgeship and the House of Representatives

Poindexter was a judge for the Mississippi Territory from 1813 to 1817. He served as a volunteer aide at the decisive Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. Poindexter was chairman of the committee that was appointed to draft a constitution for the new state of Mississippi. After admission in 1817, he was elected to be the state's first representative in Congress. He served in the 15th Congress from 1817 to 1819, when he chaired the Committee on Public Lands. Poindexter was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1820 to the 17th Congress and in 1822 to the 18th Congress.

Governor of Mississippi

He was elected Governor of Mississippi in 1819, serving from 1820 to 1822.

United States Senate

Poindexter was appointed to the United States Senate in 1830 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Robert H. Adams and served from 1830 to 1835. He served as chairman of the Committee on Private Land Claims in 22nd Congress from 1831 to 1833, of the Committee on Public Lands in the 23rd Congress from 1833 to 1835 and was President pro tempore of the Senate from June to November 1834. Poindexter's tenure as chairman of the Committee on Private Land Claims had been considered moderately controversial at the time, as Poindexter had espoused some views that could be considered Socialist regarding government repossession of land. Poindexter was thought to have made these claims to support President Andrew Jackson's fight with the Second Bank of the United States. Poindexter had been a supporter of President Jackson, and had defended him against calls for censure stemming from the Arbuthnot and Ambrister incident, but had slowly become less happy with the President's policies. In 1834 Poindexter had his home in Washington, D.C. painted by Richard Lawrence. Lawrence, a deranged man, thought he was the ruler of England and the United States and that Jackson was a usurper. In January 1835 Lawrence shot at Jackson with two pistols while the President was attending a memorial service for a Congressman at the House of Representatives. It was the first attempt to assassinate a President. Jackson accused various political enemies as being behind Lawrence. Among them was Poindexter, who denied any connection except for the painting. But the accusations followed Poindexter back to Mississippi. He was unsuccessful for a second term.

Retirement from politics

In 1835, Poindexter moved to Kentucky and continued practicing law in Lexington, Kentucky. He later moved back to Jackson, Mississippi and continued his law practice until his death there on September 5, 1853. He was interred in Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson.

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George Poindexter, Governor, U.S. Senator's Timeline

Louisa County, Virginia, USA
September 5, 1853
Age 74
Jackson, Mississippi, USA