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James W. Denver


Picture of James W. Denver
CA Blue Book 2000
Date Party Office Votes Result
03-30-1852 Democratic SD-22 0 Win
02-19-1853 Democratic Secretary of State 0 Win
01-09-1854 Democratic Secretary of State 0 Win
09-06-1854 Independent CD-AL 36918 Win

Candidate Biography:

Born: October 23, 1817 in Winchester, Virginia
Married: Louise G. Rombach
Children: Katharine, James W., Mathew R., and Mary Louise
Military Service: ARMY (Mexican-American War, Civil War)
Family: Brother of Arthur S. Denver
Died: August 9, 1892 in in Washington, DC

1852: Killed former Congressman Edward Gilbert in a duel (see note below)
1853: Resigned from the State Senate on February 21.
1853-1855: [Ex-Officio] California State Librarian
1855: Resigned as Secretary of State on November 1.
1857: Commissioner of Indian Affairs
1857-1858: Governor of the Territory of Kansas*
1858-1859: Commissioner of Indian Affairs
1876: Delegate, Democratic National Convention
1880: Delegate, Democratic National Convention
1884: Delegate, Democratic National Convention

  • Legal Troubles: In 1852, Edward Gilbert challenged Denver to duel after Denver criticized an article that Gilbert had written in the Alta California calling the gift of financial assistance to members of the Donner Party a ruse to raise the political popularity of Governor John Bigler. The terms of the duel called for rifles at short range. In the first round, Denver fired into the air, while Gilbert aimed and him and missed. Denver attempted to call off a second round of the duel, but Gilbert refused and Denver shot and killed him.
  • PLACENAME: Denverton (in Solano County) was named for Denver in 1852, as were Denver, Colorado. Denver International Airport was named more for the city it was located in, but since that was named after Denver, it could probably be counted too.
  • In 1860, Denver served as a pallbearer at the funeral of Assemblyman John C. Bell.
  • "During his term as Governor, the capital of Colorado was founded and named for him."

Source: History of Political Conventions in California, 1849-1892 by Winfield J. Davis (1893)
Source: "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-Present" (U.S. Library of Congress) []