James Pleasants

James Pleasants, Jr. (October 24, 1769 – November 9, 1836)[1] was an American politician who served in the U.S. Senate from 1819 to 1822 and was the 22nd Governor of Virginia from 1822 to 1825.

James Pleasants, Jr.
James Pleasants bioguide
22nd Governor of Virginia
In office
December 1, 1822 – December 10, 1825
Preceded byThomas M. Randolph, Jr.
Succeeded byJohn Tyler, Jr.
United States Senator
from Virginia
In office
December 14, 1819 – December 15, 1822
Preceded byJohn W. Eppes
Succeeded byJohn Taylor
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 17th district
In office
March 4, 1813 – December 14, 1819
Preceded byThomas Gholson, Jr.
Succeeded byWilliam S. Archer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 16th district
In office
March 4, 1811 – March 3, 1813
Preceded byJohn W. Eppes
Succeeded byJohn W. Eppes
7th Clerk of the Virginia House of Delegates
In office
December 6, 1802 – March 4, 1811
Preceded byWilliam Wirt
Succeeded byWilliam Munford
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Goochland County
In office
December 1797 – December 6, 1802
Preceded byJohn Guerrant Jr.
Succeeded byJames Carter
Personal details
BornOctober 24, 1769
Cold Comfort, Colony of Virginia, British America
DiedNovember 9, 1836 (aged 67)
Goochland County, Virginia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
Spouse(s)Susanna Lawson Rose
ChildrenJohn Hampden Pleasants
Alma materCollege of William and Mary
ProfessionLawyer, politician


Pleasants was born at "Cold Comfort," in the Colony of Virginia on October 24, 1769. He pursued classical studies and graduated from the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia. He studied law and was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Amelia County, Virginia in 1791.

Pleasants was the son of James Pleasants and Ann Randolph, the daughter of Isham Randolph of Dungeness and granddaughter of William Randolph.[2] His sister was Susan.[2]

Pleasants was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates 1797–1802 and clerk of the house of delegates 1803–1811. On January 30, 1811, he was appointed to the Court of Appeals but resigned almost immediately. Pleasants was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the Twelfth and to the four succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1811, to December 14, 1819, when he resigned, having been elected a United States Senator. Pleasants served as chairman of the Committee on Public Expenditures (Thirteenth Congress), Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Navy (Fifteenth Congress).

He was elected on December 10, 1819, as a Democrat-Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John W. Eppes and served from December 14, 1819, to December 15, 1822, when he resigned. He was also chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs (Sixteenth and Seventeenth Congresses). He was chosen as Governor of Virginia, serving 1822–1825. Pleasants was a delegate to the State constitutional conventions in 1829 and 1830. He retired and lived on his estate, "Contention," near Goochland, Goochland County, Virginia, where he died on November 9, 1836. He was buried on his estate. His brother-in-law and law partner, Eugene C. Massie, named his son James Pleasants Massie, after Pleasants. The name has been handed down, now to a total of four generations.

His son John Hampden Pleasants (1797–1846) founded the Richmond Whig newspaper, married twice, and later died in a duel with Thomas Ritchie, Jr.[3]

Pleasants is the namesake of a residence hall at William and Mary.[4] Pleasants County, West Virginia, is named after him.


  1. ^ Tyler, Lyon Gardiner, ed. (1915). "Governors of the State". Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. II. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 49.
  2. ^ a b Page, Richard Channing Moore (1893). "Randolph Family". Genealogy of the Page Family in Virginia (2 ed.). New York: Press of the Publishers Printing Co. pp. 263–264.
  3. ^ "A Guide to the Pleasants family Papers, 1745–1898 Pleasants family Papers, 1745–1898". virginia.edu. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  4. ^ "William & Mary – Giles, Pleasants & Preston Halls". Wm.edu. Retrieved July 2, 2016.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John W. Eppes
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 16th congressional district

March 4, 1811 – March 4, 1813
Succeeded by
John W. Eppes
Preceded by
Thomas Gholson, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 17th congressional district

March 4, 1813 – December 14, 1819
Succeeded by
William S. Archer
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
John W. Eppes
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Virginia
December 14, 1819 – December 15, 1822
Served alongside: James Barbour
Succeeded by
John Taylor
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas M. Randolph
Governor of Virginia
December 1, 1822 – December 10, 1825
Succeeded by
John Tyler, Jr.
16th United States Congress

The Sixteenth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1819, to March 4, 1821, during the third and fourth years of James Monroe's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Third Census of the United States in 1810. Both chambers had a Democratic-Republican majority.

1813 United States House of Representatives elections in Virginia

Virginia gained one seat after the 1810 Census, bringing its representation in the House of Representatives to 23 seats, the largest number Virginia would ever have. Virginia went from having the most representatives to having the second-most tied with Pennsylvania. New York, with its 27 seats, surpassed Virginia and remained the most populous state until the late 1960s.

Its elections were held in April 1813, after the term began but before Congress's first meeting.

1815 United States House of Representatives elections in Virginia

Virginia held its elections in April 1815.

1817 United States House of Representatives elections in Virginia

Virginia elected its members in April 1817.

1819 United States House of Representatives elections in Virginia

Virginia elected its members in April 1819, after the new congress began but before the first session convened.

1822 in the United States

Events from the year 1822 in the United States.

Isham Randolph of Dungeness

Isham Randolph (December 1684 – November 1742), sometimes referred to as Isham Randolph of Dungeness, was the maternal grandfather of United States President Thomas Jefferson. Randolph was a planter, a merchant, a public official, and a shipmaster.

Jimmie Massie

James Pleasants Massie III (born May 3, 1958) is an American politician of the Republican Party. From 2008 to 2018 he was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. He represented the 72nd district in Henrico County.

John Taylor of Caroline

John Taylor (December 19, 1753 – August 21, 1824), usually called John Taylor of Caroline, was a politician and writer. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates (1779–81, 1783–85, 1796–1800) and in the United States Senate (1792–94, 1803, 1822–24). He wrote several books on politics and agriculture. He was a Jeffersonian Republican and his works provided inspiration to the later states' rights and libertarian movements. Sheldon and Hill (2008) locate Taylor at the intersection of republicanism and classical liberalism. They see his position as a "combination of a concern with Lockean natural rights, freedom, and limited government along with a classical interest in strong citizen participation in rule to prevent concentrated power and wealth, political corruption, and financial manipulation" (p. 224).

Wealth, like suffrage, must be considerably distributed, to sustain a democratic republic; and hence, whatever draws a considerable proportion of either into a few hands, will destroy it. As power follows wealth, the majority must have wealth or lose power.

John Wayles Eppes

John Wayles Eppes (April 19, 1773 – September 13, 1823) was an American lawyer and politician. He represented Virginia in the U.S. House of Repfresentatives (1803–1811, 1813–1815) and in the U.S. Senate (1817–1819), after serving in the Virginia House of Delegates (1801–1803). A member of the wealthy planter class, he was related through his mother to Martha Jefferson, the wife of Thomas Jefferson, with whom Eppes was close.

List of United States Senators in the 17th Congress by seniority

This is a complete list of members of the United States Senate during the 17th United States Congress listed by seniority, from March 4, 1821, to March 3, 1823.

Order of service is based on the commencement of the senator's first term. Behind this is former service as a senator (only giving the senator seniority within his or her new incoming class), service as vice president, a House member, a cabinet secretary, or a governor of a state. The final factor is the population of the senator's state.The two main parties at this point were the Federalists (F), and Democratic Republicans (DR).

Pleasants County, West Virginia

Pleasants County is a county located in the U.S. state of West Virginia. At the 2010 census, the population was 7,605, making it the third-least populous county in the state. Its county seat is St. Marys. The county was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1851 and named for US Senator and Virginia Governor James Pleasants, Jr..Pleasants County is part of the Parkersburg-Vienna, WV Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Thomas Gholson Jr.

Thomas Gholson Jr. (c. 1780 – July 4, 1816) was an American lawyer and politician. He represented Virginia from 1808 to 1816 in the United States House of Representatives, after serving in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1806 to 1809.

Thomas Mann Randolph Jr.

Thomas Mann Randolph Jr. (October 1, 1768 – June 20, 1828) was an American planter, soldier, and politician from Virginia. He served as a member of both houses of the Virginia General Assembly, a Representative in the U.S. Congress, and as the 21st Governor of Virginia, from 1819–1822. He married Martha Jefferson, the oldest daughter of Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States. They had eleven children who survived childhood. As an adult, Randolph developed alcoholism, and he and his wife separated for some time before his death.

United States House Committee on Expenditures in the Navy Department

The United States House Committee on Expenditures in the Navy Department is a defunct a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

United States congressional delegations from Virginia

These are tables of congressional delegations from Virginia to the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives.

Virginia's 16th congressional district

Virginia Congressional District 16 is an obsolete congressional district. It was eliminated in 1843 after the 1840 U.S. Census. Its last Congressman was William A. Harris.

William S. Archer

William Segar Archer (March 5, 1789 – March 28, 1855) was a politician and lawyer from Virginia who served in the United States Senate from 1841 to 1847. He was the nephew of Joseph Eggleston.

Colony of Virginia
Colony of Virginia
Commonwealth of Virginia
Class 1
Class 2
Military Affairs Committee
Naval Affairs Committee
Armed Services Committee

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