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1798

April 7

The Mississippi Territory was organized from land ceded from Georgia and South Carolina.

1817

Map of Mississippi, 1820

December 10

President James Monroe signed the resolution admitting Mississippi as the 20th state in the Union.

1817

Walter Leake (R-MS)

December 11

Walter Leake of Red Bluff and Thomas Hill Williams of Washington presented their credentials to the Senate, and after taking the oath of office became Mississippi's first senators. The next day they drew lots to determine their class assignments. Leake drew Class 2, with a term to expire March 3, 1821. Williams drew Class 3, with a term to expire March 3, 1823.

1820

David Holmes (R/JR-MS)

November 20

David Holmes of Washington became chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, serving until 1821.

1834

George Poindexter (J/AJ-MS)

June 28

George Poindexter of Wilkinson became the first Mississippi senator elected president pro tempore of the Senate. He served in this position for five months, until November 30, 1834.

1845

Robert J. Walker (D-MS)

March 5

The Senate confirmed the nomination of Senator Robert J. Walker of Madisonville as secretary of the treasury under President James K. Polk. Walker resigned his Senate seat the same day.

1849

Jefferson Davis (D-MS)

December 18

Jefferson Davis of Warrenton and later Hurricane became chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs (today's Committee on Armed Services), serving until 1851. Davis again served as chairman of the committee from 1857 to 1861.

1850

Cartoon depicting the altercation between Henry Foote and Thomas Hart Benton

April 17

During heated debate on the Senate floor, Senator Henry S. Foote of Jackson pulled a pistol on Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri as the physically imposing Benton moved toward Foote down the center aisle. Foote claimed self-defense, while Benton accused him of being an assassin. As tempers cooled, a committee was immediately appointed to look into the disorder and the matter quietly went away.

1850

Henry S. Foote (D-MS)

December 4

Henry S. Foote became chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, serving until 1851.

1855

, by artist William H. Powell

 

American artist William H. Powell's Discovery of the Mississippi by De Soto was placed in the Capitol Rotunda. Completed two years earlier, the 12-foot by 18-foot oil painting was the last of eight historical paintings commissioned by Congress for the Rotunda. The painting depicts Spanish conquistador Hernando De Soto arriving at the Mississippi River at a point below Natchez on May 8, 1541. De Soto was the first European documented to have seen the river, which forms the western state boundary of Mississippi.

1861

Jefferson Davis

January 21

Senator Jefferson Davis gave his farewell speech in the Senate. Days before, on January 9, Mississippi had become the second state, following South Carolina, to secede from the Union in the events leading up to the Civil War. Davis and his fellow Mississippian Albert G. Brown of Newton, who had left on January 12, both formally withdrew from the Senate and therefore were not among the ten southern senators expelled from the Senate on July 11, 1861 for supporting the Confederate rebellion.

1870

Hiram Revels (R-MS)

February 25

Hiram Revels of Natchez took his oath of office and became the first African American to serve in the Senate. After being elected to the remainder of the term ending March 3, 1871, Revels joined Adelbert Ames of Natchez as the first two senators from Mississippi following its readmission to representation in the Union.

1879

Blanche Kelso Bruce (R-MS)

February 14

Blanche Kelso Bruce of Floreyville became the only former slave to ever preside over the Senate. Bruce was also the first African American to serve a full term in the Senate, serving from March 4, 1875 to March 3, 1881.

1888

Lucius Q. C. Lamar

January 16

The Senate confirmed the nomination of Lucius Q.C. Lamar, who represented Mississippi in the Senate from 1877 to 1885, as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. Lamar is the only Mississippian to ever serve on the nation's highest court.

1893

Edward Walthall (D-MS)

March 15

Edward Walthall of Grenada became chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs (today's Committee on Armed Services), serving until 1894.

1893

James Z. George (D-MS)

March 15

James Z. George of Jackson became chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (today's Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry), serving until 1895.

1894

Adelbert Ames (R-MS)

June 22

Former senator Adelbert Ames was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for actions on July 21, 1861, at the Battle of Bull Run. Ames, then serving as a first lieutenant with the 5th U.S. Artillery, was cited for having “remained upon the field in command of a section of Griffin's Battery, directing its fire after being severely wounded and refusing to leave the field until too weak to sit upon the caisson where he had been placed by men of his command.” Ames served in the Senate from February 23, 1870, to January 10, 1874, when he resigned to become governor of Mississippi.

1909

Anselm J. McLaurin (D-MS)

February 22

Senator Anselm J. McLaurin of Brandon delivered George Washington's Farewell Address to the U.S. Senate, a tradition dating to 1862.

1909

Hernando D. Money (D-MS)

December 9

Senator Hernando D. Money of Mississippi was elected chairman of the Democratic Conference. He served in this position until 1911.

1916

John Sharp Williams (D-MS)

November 7

Incumbent senator John Sharp Williams of Yazoo City became Mississippi's first directly elected senator after the Seventeenth Amendment had taken effect.

1931

Statue of James Z. George, National Statuary Hall Collection

June 2

Bronze statues of former Mississippi senators Jefferson Davis and James Z. George, both by artist Augustus Lukeman, were unveiled at the Capitol as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. The statue of Jefferson Davis currently resides in National Statuary Hall while the statue of James Z. George sits in the Capitol Visitor Center.

1933

Hubert D. Stephens (D-MS)

March 9

Hubert D. Stephens of New Albany became chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce (today's Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation), serving until 1935.

1933

Senate Committete on Finance, 1933

March 9

Pat Harrison of Gulfport became chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, serving until 1941.

1941

Pat Harrison (D-MS)

January 6

Pat Harrison became the second Mississippi senator elected president pro tempore of the Senate. He served in this position for five months until his death on June 22, 1941.

1943

Wall Doxey

February 1

Wall Doxey of Holly Springs became the only former senator to serve as sergeant at arms of the Senate. Doxey had been elected to the Senate on September 23, 1941, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mississippi Senator Pat Harrison and served from September 29, 1941 to January 3, 1943. Although he was unsuccessful in his bid for renomination in 1942, he returned to the Senate--this time, as the sergeant at arms, serving from 1943 to 1947.

1947

Theodore Bilbo (D-MS)

August 21

Senator Theodore Bilbo of Poplarville passed away, ending a senate predicament. Bilbo, who had served in the Senate since 1935, won a contested 1946 election but the Senate refused to reseat him. Facing charges of personal corruption and civil rights violations, Bilbo was also battling cancer when he returned to Mississippi. At the time of his death, he was hoping to recover and then reclaim his seat in the Senate.

1955

photo of Felton Johnston

January 5

Felton "Skeeter" Johnston, who was born in Louisiana but grew up in Mississippi, became secretary of the Senate after serving much of the previous decade as the Democratic party secretary. Johnston first came to Washington, D.C., in 1929, after graduating from the University of Mississippi, as an aide to Mississippi senator Pat Harrison. He retired as secretary of the Senate on December 30, 1965.

1955

Lucius Q. C. Lamar (D-MS)

December 

Former Mississippi senator Lucius Q.C. Lamar was included in Massachusetts senator John F. Kennedy's Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage. Lamar, a Confederate veteran of the Civil War, was lauded for his Senate eulogy of abolitionist and senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, his efforts during Reconstruction, and his opposition to the 1878 Bland-Allison Act.

1956

James O. Eastland

March 2

James O. Eastland of Ruleville and later Doddsville became chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. He served as chairman for nearly 23 years--longer than any other Judiciary Committee chairman--until his retirement on December 27, 1978.

1969

John C. Stennis (D-MS)

January 14

John C. Stennis of DeKalb became chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, serving until 1981.

1972

PPT Seal

July 28

James O. Eastland became the third Mississippi senator elected president pro tempore of the Senate. He served in this position during four different Congresses, until his resignation on December 27, 1978.

1978

James O. Eastland (D-MS)

December 27

Senator James O. Eastland ended his Senate service after more than 36 years. Eastland, who served in 1941 and again from 1943 to 1978, is Mississippi’s second longest-serving senator, behind John C. Stennis. Together, Eastland and Stennis represented Mississippi for 31 years and 2 months, a record surpassed only by Strom Thurmond and Ernest "Fritz" Hollings of South Carolina.

1984

Golden Gavel

August 6

Senator Thad Cochran of Jackson received the Golden Gavel Award for presiding over the Senate for 100 hours in a single session.

1984

Thad Cochran (R-MS)

November 28

Senator Thad Cochran was elected Republican Conference secretary. He served from 1985 until 1991 when he became Republican Conference chairman.

1987

PPT Seal

January 6

John C. Stennis became the fourth Mississippi senator elected president pro tempore of the Senate. He served in this position until January 3, 1989.

1987

January 6

John C. Stennis became chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, serving until 1989.

1989

John C. Stennis

January 3

John C. Stennis ended his Senate career having served 41 years, 1 month, and 29 days. Stennis surpassed James O. Eastland to become Mississippi’s longest serving senator and cast over 11,000 roll-call votes during his tenure. Stennis is also the sixth longest-serving senator.

1990

November 13

Senator Thad Cochran, who had been serving as the Republican Conference secretary, was elected Republican Conference chairman. He served in this position from 1991 until 1996.

1992

Trent Lott

November 10

Senator Trent Lott of Pascagoula was elected Republican Conference secretary. He served from 1994 until 1995 when he became Republican party whip

1994

December 2

Senator Trent Lott was elected Republican party whip. Lott served in this role until he was elevated to the position of majority leader in 1996.

1995

June 29

The United States Postal Service introduced a 32-cent stamp of former Mississippi senator Jefferson Davis as part of its "Classic Collections: Civil War" series.

1996

June 12

Senator Trent Lott was elected Senate majority leader after Senator Robert Dole resigned that position to focus on his presidential campaign. Lott held his position as Republican Leader in the Senate until January 7, 2003. In 2007 Senator Lott would briefly return to the position of Republican Party whip.

1999

James Eastland by Herbert Elmer Abrams

October 

The U.S. Senate Commission on Art approved the commissioning of a portrait of James Eastland. Herbert Abrams was selected to paint Eastland’s portrait and received the commission in 2000. Abrams completed the portrait in 2001.

2001

January 3

During the 107th Congress, Senator Trent Lott served as both the minority leader and majority leader. From January 3 to January 20, 2001, with the Senate divided evenly between the two parties, the Democrats held the majority due to the deciding vote of outgoing Democratic Vice President Al Gore. Senator Lott served as minority leader at that time. Beginning on January 20, 2001, Vice President Richard Cheney, a Republican, held the deciding vote, making Senator Lott majority leader. On June 6, 2001, Senator James Jeffords of Vermont switched from Republican to Independent status. The move changed control of the Senate back to the Democrats and Senator Lott resumed his duties as minority leader.

2002

Blanche Kelso Bruce by Simmie Lee Knox

September 

An oil painting of former Mississippi senator Blanche Kelso Bruce by Simmie Lee Knox was officially unveiled in the Senate Wing of the Capitol.

2003

January 15

Thad Cochran became chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, serving until 2005.

2003

Trent Lott (R-MS)

January 15

Trent Lott became chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, serving until 2007.

2005

Senate Committee on Appropriations, 2006

January 6

Thad Cochran became chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, serving until 2007.

2005

January 20

As chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, Trent Lott accompanied President-elect George W. Bush from the White House to the inaugural ceremonies at the Capitol.

2009

Trent Lott by Steven Polson

September 16

The U.S. Senate Commission on Art unveiled a new painting of U.S. Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) at a ceremony in the historic Old Senate Chamber of the U.S. Capitol (program | photo | open captioned video of the event).The portrait, painted by noted American artist Steven Polson, is part of the U.S. Senate Leadership Portrait Collection, which honors past Senate leaders.