William S. Archer

William Segar Archer (March 5, 1789 – March 28, 1855) was a politician and lawyer from Virginia who served in the United States Senate from 1841 to 1847. He was the nephew of Joseph Eggleston.

William Segar Archer
United States Senator
from Virginia
In office
March 4, 1841 – March 4, 1847
Preceded byWilliam H. Roane
Succeeded byRobert M. T. Hunter
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
In office
December 5, 1842 – March 3, 1845
Preceded byWilliam C. Rives
Succeeded byWilliam Allen
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1823 – March 4, 1835
Preceded byJared Williams
Succeeded byJohn W. Jones
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 17th district
In office
January 3, 1820 – March 4, 1823
Preceded byJames Pleasants
Succeeded byJared Williams
Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
In office
March 4, 1829 – March 3, 1835
Preceded byEdward Everett
Succeeded byJames Moore Wayne
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
In office
Personal details
Born(1789-03-05)March 5, 1789
Amelia County, Virginia
DiedMarch 28, 1855(1855-03-28) (aged 66)
Amelia County, Virginia
Resting placeAmelia County, Virginia
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
Other political
Alma materThe College of William & Mary
ProfessionPolitician, Lawyer


Born at "The Lodge" in Amelia County, Virginia, received a private education and graduated from The College of William & Mary in 1806. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1810, commencing practice in Amelia and Powhatan Counties. He served four terms in the Virginia House of Delegates between 1812 and 1819 and was elected to the United States House of Representatives to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of James Pleasants, reelected in 1820, 1824, 1826, 1828, 1830 and 1832, serving from 1820 to 1835. There, he served as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs from 1829 to 1835 and was defeated for reelection in 1834.

Archer was elected a Whig to the United States Senate in 1840, serving one full term from 1841 to 1847. There, he served as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations from 1841 to 1845 and of the Committee on Naval Affairs from 1841 to 1843. He was also a key member of the committee who drafted the Missouri compromise on which he exerted great influence. After being defeated for reelection by Robert M. T. Hunter in 1846, Archer resumed practicing law until his death at "The Lodge" in Amelia County, Virginia on March 28, 1855. He was interred in the family cemetery at "The Lodge".


  • 1823; Archer was re-elected unopposed.
  • 1825; Archer was re-elected unopposed.
  • 1827; Archer was re-elected unopposed.
  • 1829; Archer was re-elected unopposed.
  • 1831; Archer was re-elected unopposed.
  • 1833; Archer was re-elected unopposed.


External linksEdit

  • United States Congress. "William S. Archer (id: A000275)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • William S. Archer at Find a Grave
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
James Pleasants
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 17th congressional district

Succeeded by
Jared Williams
Preceded by
Jared Williams
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
John W. Jones
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
William H. Roane
U.S. senator (Class 2) from Virginia
Served alongside: William C. Rives, Isaac S. Pennybacker, James M. Mason
Succeeded by
Robert M. T. Hunter
Political offices
Preceded by
Edward Everett
Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee
Succeeded by
James Moore Wayne
Preceded by
William C. Rives
Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Succeeded by
William Allen