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Sydney Emanuel Mudd I

Sydney Emanuel Mudd I (February 12, 1858 – October 21, 1911) was a politician, elected as Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates (1896) and as a Republican to the United States House of Representatives (1890–1891; 1897–1911), at a time of dominance by Democrats in much of the state. He was first seated by Congress in 1890 after it found in his favor in relation to the contested 1888 election in Maryland's 5th congressional district, which was marked by fraud and intimidation.

Early life and educationEdit

Born into the planter class at the family plantation, Gallant Green, in Charles County, Maryland, Mudd was reared Catholic and first educated locally. He attended Georgetown University and graduated from St. John's College of Annapolis, Maryland in 1878.

He "read the law" as an apprentice with an established firm and also attended the law department of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. He was admitted to the bar in 1880 and returned to Charles County to begin his practice.

Marriage and familyEdit

Mrs Sydney Emanuel Mudd I

Mudd married a daughter of Walter Griffin of Surrattsville (now part of Clinton, Maryland). Among their children was Sydney Emanuel Mudd II, who became an attorney and politician like his father. The son was elected to several terms as a Congressman from Maryland's 5th district beginning in 1914, after his father's death.[1]


Mudd was elected a member of the Maryland House of Delegates in 1879 and 1881.[2]

As a Republican candidate, he challenged and successfully contested the 1888 election of Barnes Compton as US Representative from the 5th district to the Fifty-first Congress. At a time when many Maryland elections were surrounded by violence and fraud as Democrats sought to re-establish white supremacy, Mudd filed charges of election fraud. He claimed that election officials had turned away qualified voters and that, in Anne Arundel County, Democrats posing as US Marshals intimidated blacks, forcing them from the polls. The House Committee on Elections investigated and decided in his favor.[3] Congress awarded the seat to Mudd in 1889, and he served in the next session, from March 20, 1890, to March 3, 1891. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1890 to the Fifty-second Congress, defeated by Compton.[3]

In 1895 Mudd was elected again to the state House of Delegates, where he served as Speaker of the House. He moved to rural La Plata, Maryland in 1896. He served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention the same year.[2]

In 1896 Mudd benefitted by the coattails of a winning Republican biracial coalition that gained the governorship.[4] He was elected from the 5th district to the Fifty-fifth and to the six succeeding Congresses, serving from March 4, 1897 to March 3, 1911. (His chief Democratic rival in the district, Barnes Compton, died in 1898.[3]) In Congress, Mudd served as chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of Justice (Sixtieth and Sixty-first Congresses).[2]

Mudd died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was interred in St. Ignatius’ Catholic Church Cemetery at Chapel Point near La Plata.[2]

His son, Sydney Emanuel Mudd II, was also elected as a Republican US Congressman from Maryland's fifth district. He was first elected in 1914 and for succeeding terms until his death in office in 1924.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Mudd, Sydney Emanuel II", Maryland Biographical Dictionary, pp. 388-390
  2. ^ a b c d "Mudd, Sydney Emanuel ", Maryland Biographical Dictionary, p. 388
  3. ^ a b c "Barnes Compton (1830-1898) Extended Biography". Annapolis, Maryland: Archives of Maryland (Biographical Series). 2008. MSA SC 3520-1545.
  4. ^ STEPHEN TUCK, "Democratization and the Disfranchisement of African Americans in the US South during the Late 19th Century" (pdf), Spring 2013, reading for "Challenges of Democratization", by Brandon Kendhammer, Ohio University

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Barnes Compton
Representative of the 5th Congressional District of Maryland
Succeeded by
Barnes Compton
Preceded by
Charles Edward Coffin
Representative of the 5th Congressional District of Maryland
Succeeded by
Thomas Parran
Political offices
Preceded by
James H. Preston
Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates
Succeeded by
Louis Schaefer