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James Mercer Garnett (June 8, 1770 – April 23, 1843) was a nineteenth-century politician and planter from Virginia. He was the brother of Robert S. Garnett, the first cousin of Charles F. Mercer, and the grandfather of Muscoe Russell Hunter Garnett.


Born at "Mount Pleasant" near Loretto, Virginia, Garnett was schooled by private teachers as a child and later engaged in planting. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1800 and 1801 before being elected a Democratic-Republican to the United States House of Representatives in 1804, serving from 1805 to 1809. There, he was a member of the grand jury that indicted former Vice President Aaron Burr for treason in 1807. He was not a candidate for reelection and instead returned to planting and later conducted a school for boys on his plantation. He wrote Lectures on Female Education: Comprising the First and Second Series of a Course Delivered to Mrs. Garnett's Pupils, at Elm-wood, Essex County, Virginia (1824).

Garnett served as president of the Fredericksburg Agricultural Society from 1817 to 1837, returned to the House of Delegates in 1824 and 1825 and was a member of the anti-tariff conventions of 1821 and 1831. He was one of the founders of the Virginia State Agricultural Society, was vice president of the Virginia Colonization Society, and was a delegate to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829–1830. Garnett died at his estate called "Elmwood" near Loretto, Virginia on April 23, 1843, and was interred in the family cemetery on the estate.

External linksEdit

  • United States Congress. "James M. Garnett (id: G000075)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • Works by or about James M. Garnett in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Anthony New
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 11th congressional district

March 4, 1805 – March 3, 1809
Succeeded by
John Roane