Absolom M. West

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Absolom West
Personal details
Absolom Madden West

Alabama, U.S.
DiedSeptember 30, 1894 (aged 75–76)
Holly Springs, Mississippi, U.S.
Resting placeHillcrest Cemetery
Political partyWhig (Before 1854)
Democratic (1854–1876)
Greenback (1876–1889)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Confederate States of America Confederate States
Branch/serviceMississippi Mississippi State Militia
RankConfederate States of America General-collar.svg Brigadier General
Battles/warsAmerican Civil War

Absolom Madden West (1818 – September 30, 1894) was an American planter, Confederate militia general, state politician, railroad president and labor organizer. Born in Alabama, he became a plantation owner in Holmes County, Mississippi and President of the Mississippi Central Railroad. He served in the American Civil War. After the war, he served in the Mississippi State Senate and ran for Vice President of the United States, unsuccessfully.

Early life[edit]

Absolom Madden West was born in 1818 in Alabama. His father, Anderson West, was a county sheriff.


The West family obelisk at Hillcrest Cemetery

West obtained Federal land grants in Mississippi and moved to Holmes County, Mississippi in 1837, where he became a planter. He won election to the State Senate of that state as a Whig in 1847. In 1853, he became an officer of the newly formed Mississippi Central Railroad.[1]

Although initially an opponent of secession, when the American Civil War broke out, West became a brigadier general in the Mississippi State Militia.[2] He raised a regiment, and later assumed various administrative offices for the state. Sometimes simultaneously, he served as quartermaster-general, paymaster-general, and commissary-general of the Mississippi militia.[1] At his direction, the legislature established a commission consisting of one lawyer and two businessmen to examine and audit the books and papers of his several offices. At the end of the war, West was the only officer of the state to make a final accounting.[3] After 1864, West also served as president of the Mississippi Central Railroad.[4] After the war, the railroad was sold to the Illinois Central, and West was returned to the State Senate.

Soon thereafter, West was elected to the Federal House of Representatives although he, along with the rest of the unreconstructed Mississippi delegation, was not permitted to be seated.[5] In the years that followed, West established a branch of the National Labor Union, and served as a Democratic elector for President in the election of 1876.

Re-elected to the State Senate, West soon became disenchanted with the Democrats, and joined the Greenback party. For that party and for the Anti-Monopoly Party, West was a candidate for Vice President on the ticket of Benjamin Franklin Butler in 1884.

Personal life and death[edit]

Oakleigh in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

West purchased Oakleigh, an Antebellum mansion in Holly Springs, Mississippi, from Judge Jeremiah W. Clapp in 1870.[4][6] He died on September 30, 1894 in Holly Springs, and he was buried at the Hillcrest Cemetery.[7]


  1. ^ a b Stone, J.H. General Absolom Madden West and the Civil War in Mississippi. J. Miss. Hist. 42:135-144
  2. ^ Allardice, B. S., More Generals in Gray, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1995. pp. 233-34.
  3. ^ Lause, Mark A. The Civil War's Last Campaign: James B. Weaver, the Greenback-Labor Party & the Politics of Race & Section. (Lanpham, Md.: University Press of America, 2001)
  4. ^ a b Deupree, N.D. (1903). "Some Historic Homes of Mississippi". Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society. Mississippi Historical Society. VII: 340–342.
  5. ^ Darcy G. Richardson (2004). Others: Third Party Politics from the Nation's Founding to the Rise and Fall of the Greenback-Labor Party. iUniverse. pp. 513–514. ISBN 978-0-595-31723-3.
  6. ^ Kempe, Helen Kerr (1998). Marshall County: From the Collection of Chesley Thorne Smith. Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican Publishing Company. p. 32.
  7. ^ "Absolom Madden West". Find a Grave. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Barzillai J. Chambers
Greenback nominee for Vice President of the United States
Party dissolved