Civil War Wiki
This article is about the Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; for Justice Lamar's father of the same name, who was a Georgia lawyer and state court judge, see Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (I).
Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar
Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (II)

16th United States Secretary of the Interior
In office
March 6, 1885 – January 10, 1888
President Grover Cleveland
Preceded by Henry Moore Teller
Succeeded by William Freeman Vilas

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
In office
January 16, 1888[1] – January 23, 1893
Nominated by Grover Cleveland
Preceded by William Burnham Woods
Succeeded by Howell Edmunds Jackson

Born September 17, 1825(1825-09-17)
Eatonton, Georgia, U.S.
Died January 23, 1893 (aged 67)
Georgia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Emory College
Occupation Professor, Lawyer, Politician
Military service
Service/branch Confederate States Army
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/wars American Civil War

Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (September 17, 1825 – January 23, 1893) was an American politician and jurist from Mississippi. A United States Representative and Senator, he also served as United States Secretary of the Interior in the first administration of President Grover Cleveland, as well as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Early life and career[]

Lamar was born near Eatonton, Putnam County, Georgia, and was named after ancient Roman consul and dictator Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. He was a cousin of future associate justice Joseph Lamar, and nephew of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, second president of the Republic of Texas. He graduated from Emory College (now Emory University), then located in Oxford, Georgia, in 1845, and married the daughter of Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, one of the school's early presidents. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and later established the fraternity's chapter at the University of Mississippi.

In 1849, Lamar's father-in-law, Professor Longstreet, moved to Oxford, Mississippi to take the position of Chancellor at the recently established University of Mississippi. Lamar followed him and took a position as a professor of mathematics for a single year. He also practiced law in Oxford, eventually taking up the role as planter, establishing a cotton plantation named Solitude in northern Lafayette County, near Abbeville.

In 1852 Lamar moved to Covington, Georgia where he practiced law, and in 1853 he was elected to the Georgia State House of Representatives.

Congressional career and Civil War[]

In 1855 he returned to Mississippi and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1856, beginning his service in 1857. When Mississippi seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy on January 9, 1861, Lamar said:

"Thank God, we have a country at last: to live for, to pray for, and if need be, to die for."[2]

Lamar retired from the House in December 1860 to become a member in the Mississippi Secession Convention. The state's Ordinance of Secession (see also Mississippi Ordinance of Secession) was drafted by Lamar. Lamar considered a staff appointment, but abandoned that to co-operate with his former law partner, Christopher H. Mott. Lamar raised, and funded out of his own pocket, the 19th Mississippi Volunteer Infantry. Mott was made Colonel, as he had served as an officer in the war with Mexico, and Lamar elected Lieutenant Colonel. Lamar then resigned his professorship in the university and was, on May 14, in Montgomery, offering his regiment to the Confederate War Department. On May 15, 1862, Colonel Lamar, while reviewing his regiment, fell with an attack of vertigo, which had previously disabled him, and his service as a soldier was ended. After this he served as a judge advocate, and aide to his cousin, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet. Later in 1862, Confederate States President Jefferson Davis appointed Lamar as Confederate minister to Russia and special envoy to England and France. When the Civil War was over, he returned to the University of Mississippi where he was a professor of metaphysics, social science and law. In 1865, 1868, 1875, 1877, and 1881, he was also a member of Mississippi's constitutional conventions. After having his civil rights restored following the war, Lamar returned to the House in 1873, the first Democrat from Mississippi to sit in the U.S. House of Representatives since the Civil War. He served there until 1877. Lamar would go on to represent Mississippi in the U.S. Senate from 1877 to 1885.

Later career[]


Justice L.Q.C. Lamar II

Lamar served as United States Secretary of the Interior under President Grover Cleveland from March 6, 1885 to January 10, 1888. As part of the first Democratic administration in 24 years, and as head of the corrupt Interior Department rife with political patronage, Lamar was besieged by visitors seeking jobs. One day a visitor came that was not seeking a job and, as The New York Times later reported:

In the outer room were several prominent Democrats, including a high judicial officer, several Senators, and any number of members of the House. Mr. Lamar waved his visitor to a chair without saying a word. . . . By and by his visitor said that he would go away and return at some other time, as he feared that he was keeping the people outside. "Pray sit still," requested Mr. Lamar. "You rest me. I can look at you, and you do not ask me for anything; and you keep those people out as long as you stay in."[3]

As secretary, Lamar removed the Department's fleet of carriages for its officials and only used his personal one-horse rockaway.

During an 1884-85 Geological Survey, Geologist Arnold Hague named the East Fork of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park the Lamar River in his honor. The Lamar Valley, or the Secluded Valley of Trapper Osborne Russell and other park features or administrative names which contain Lamar are derived from this original naming in honor of Secretary of the Interior Lamar[4].

President Cleveland appointed Lamar to the Supreme Court of the United States, and he was confirmed on January 16, 1888. He served on the court until his death on January 23, 1893. He is the only Mississippian to have served on the court.

Lamar was originally interred at Riverside Cemetery in Macon, Georgia, but was reinterred at St. Peter's Cemetery in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1894.

Three U.S. counties are named in his honor: Lamar County, Alabama; Lamar County, Georgia; and Lamar County, Mississippi. Lamar was also featured in John F. Kennedy's book, Profiles in Courage, both for his eulogy speech for Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner in 1874, and for his unpopular vote against the Bland-Allison Act of 1878.


  1. "Federal Judicial Center: Lucius Lamar". 2009-12-11. Retrieved 2009-12-11. 
  2. The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns. Dir. Ken Burns, Narr. David McCullough, Writ. and prod. Ken Burns, PBS DVD Gold edition, Warner Home Video, 2002, ISBN 0-7806-3887-5.
  3. "Justice Lamar's Death" (PDF). The New York Times: p. 8. January 25, 1893. Retrieved February 26, 2010. 
  4. Haines, Aubrey L.. Yellowstone Place Names-Mirrors of History. Niwot, Colorado: University Press of Colorado. pp. 106–107. ISBN 087081382X. 


External links[]

  • Wikisource-logo "Lamar, Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911. 

Template:Start box |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #cccccc" | United States House of Representatives Template:USRepSuccessionBox Template:USRepSuccessionBox |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #cccccc" | United States Senate Template:U.S. Senator box Template:S-off Template:U.S. Secretary box |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #DDCEF2;" | Legal offices

|- style="text-align: center;" |- style="text-align:center;" |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
William Burnham Woods |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
1888–1893 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
Howell Edmunds Jackson |- |}

Template:USSenMS Template:USSecInterior Template:Cleveland 22 cabinet

Template:Start U.S. Supreme Court composition Template:U.S. Supreme Court composition court lifespan Template:U.S. Supreme Court composition 1888 Template:U.S. Supreme Court composition CJ Template:U.S. Supreme Court composition court lifespan Template:U.S. Supreme Court composition 1888–1889 Template:U.S. Supreme Court composition 1890–1891 Template:U.S. Supreme Court composition 1891–1892 Template:U.S. Supreme Court composition 1892–1893 Template:End U.S. Supreme Court composition

de:Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar sv:Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar