CHALMERS, James Ronald, (son of Joseph Williams Chalmers),
a Representative from Mississippi; born near Lynchburg, Halifax County, Va.,
January 12, 1831; moved with his parents in 1835 to Jackson, Tenn., and in 1839 to Holly Springs,
Miss.; attended St. Thomas Hall, Holly Springs, Miss., and was graduated from South Carolina
College (now the University of South Carolina) at Columbia in 1851; studied law; was admitted to the
bar in 1853 and commenced practice at Holly Springs; delegate to the Democratic National
Convention in 1852; district attorney for the seventh judicial district of Mississippi in 1858; member of
the secession convention of Mississippi in 1861; entered the Confederate Army as a captain in March
1861; elected colonel of the Ninth Mississippi Regiment in April 1861; promoted to the rank of
brigadier general in February 1862; transferred to the Cavalry service in 1863; in command of the first
division of Forrests cavalry corps; surrendered in May 1865; member of the State senate in 1876 and
1877; elected as a Democrat to the Forty-fifth and Forty-sixth Congresses (March 4, 1877-March 3,
1881); presented credentials as a Member-elect to the Forty-seventh Congress and served from
March 4, 1881, to April 29, 1882, when he was succeeded by John R. Lynch, who contested the
election; elected as an Independent to the Forty-eighth Congress and, after a contest with Van H.
Manning as to the legality of his election, took his seat June 25, 1884, and served until March 3, 1885;
unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1884 to the Forty-ninth Congress; resumed the practice of law
in Memphis, Tenn., where he died April 9, 1898; interment in Elmwood Cemetery.
BibliographyHalsell, Willie D. James R. Chalmers and Mahoneism
in Mississippi. Journal of Southern History 10 (February 1944): 37-58.