James McDowell, Governor

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James McDowell, III

Birthdate: (55)
Birthplace: Rockridge, Virginia, United States
Death: August 24, 1851 (55)
Rockridge, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James McDowell and Sarah Buchanan McDowell
Husband of Susannah "Susan" Smith Preston
Father of Sarah "Sallie" Thomas; Margaret Cantey Venable; Susan Preston McDowell; Sophonisba Preston Benton McDowell; James McDowell, IV and 5 others
Brother of Susan Preston Taylor and Elizabeth Preston Benton

Occupation: Politician
Managed by: Michael Joseph Gerst
Last Updated:

About James McDowell, Governor


James McDowell (October 13, 1795–August 24, 1851) was a U.S. Congressman and Governor of Virginia, 1843–1846.

McDowell was born at "Cherry Grove," near Rockbridge County, Virginia, October 13, 1795. He attended a classical school at Greenville, Virginia, a private school at Brownsburg, Washington College (now Washington and Lee University), Lexington, Virginia, and Yale College He graduated from Princeton College in 1817 and studied law. He was admitted to the bar but did not practice. He was a member of the State house of delegates 1831-1835 and again in 1838. He was chosen as Governor of Virginia in 1843. He was elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-ninth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William Taylor. He was reelected to the Thirtieth and Thirty-first Congresses and served from March 6, 1846, to March 3, 1851. McDowell died on his estate "Col Alto" near Lexington, August 24, 1851. He was interred in Presbyterian Cemetery.

McDowell was the brother-in-law of senator Thomas Hart Benton. McDowell County, West Virginia was formed in 1858 and named in honor of Governor McDowell.


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James McDowell, Governor's Timeline

October 13, 1795
Rockridge, Virginia, United States
March 21, 1820
Age 24
Rockbridge, VA
Age 26
Virginia, United States
Age 28
July 14, 1827
Age 31
February 16, 1830
Age 34
Rockbridge, VA
April 16, 1832
Age 36
Age 36
Rockbridge, VA
July 5, 1834
Age 38