Interim Content

Semple, James


5 Jan. 1798–20 Dec. 1866. Realtor, lawyer, politician, judge, farmer, postmaster, inventor, land agent. Born in Green Co., Kentucky, 5 Jan. 1798. Son of John Walker Semple and Lucy Robertson. Moved to Burkesville, Cumberland Co., Kentucky, by 1810; to Edwardsville, Madison Co., Illinois, 1818; and to Chariton, Chariton Co., Missouri, 1819. Studied law in Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky. Admitted to bar and began practice in Cumberland Co. Married first Ellen Duff Green, 28 Mar. 1820; wife died, 12 July 1821, in Chariton. Returned to Edwardsville, 1827; practiced law. Member of Illinois House of Representatives, 1828–1833, and Speaker of the House, 1834–1838. Served in Black Hawk War, 1832. Illinois attorney general, 1833. Married second Mary C. Mizner, 5 June 1833, in Monroe Co., Illinois. Commissioned brigadier general in Illinois state militia, 1834. Moved to Alton, Madison Co., 1837. Appointed ambassador to New Granada (later Colombia) by Martin Van Buren, 14 Oct. 1837–1 Mar. 1842. Served as state supreme court justice, 1842–1843. U.S. senator, 4 Dec. 1843–3 Mar. 1847. Returned to Alton, ca. 1847, where he worked in real estate. Moved to Fayette Co., Illinois, by 1850, where he worked as an attorney. Moved to Jersey Landing, Jersey Co., Illinois, where he was appointed postmaster, 1852; platted town of Elsah, Jersey Co. Resident of Jersey Landing, 1860. Died in Elsah. Buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis.