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James Semple

United States Senator
from Illinois
In office
Preceded by Samuel McRoberts
Succeeded by Stephen A. Douglas

Born January 5, 1798(1798-01-05)
Green County, Kentucky
Died December 20, 1866 (aged 68)
Elsah, Illinois
Political party Democratic
Profession Attorney, soldier, businessman
Military service
Service/branch Kentucky Militia
United States Army
Battles/wars Black Hawk War

James Semple (January 5, 1798 - December 20, 1866) was a United States Senator from Illinois.

Born in Green County, Kentucky, he had some private education as well as public schooling before enlisting in the Army in 1814 and being an ensign in the Kentucky Militia in 1816. He moved to Edwardsville, Illinois, in 1818 and to Chariton, Missouri, in 1819. During the Black Hawk War of 1832, he served as adjutant general.[1]

Semple unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 1836. President Martin Van Buren appointed him as Chargé d'Affaires to New Granada on 14 October 1837, and he served in that capacity until 4 March 1842.

Semple was the judge of the Illinois Supreme Court from 1842 to 1843. He was appointed and subsequently elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Samuel McRoberts and served from December 4, 1843, to March 3, 1847. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1846.

Semple ended up in Jersey County, Illinois, where in 1853 he founded the town of Elsah, Illinois. His son Eugene Semple was a politician in the territory and state of Washington.

James Semple died in Elsah, Illinois on December 20, 1866 and is buried in the Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.



United States Senate
Preceded by
Samuel McRoberts
United States Senator (Class 2) from Illinois
Served alongside: Sidney Breese
Succeeded by
Stephen A. Douglas
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Robert B. McAfee
United States Chargé d'Affaires, New Granada
21 April 1838–4 March 1842
Succeeded by
William M. Blackford


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