Anselm J. McLaurin

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Anselm J. McLaurin
United States Senator
from Mississippi
In office
February 7, 1894 – March 4, 1895
Preceded byEdward C. Walthall
Succeeded byEdward C. Walthall
In office
March 4, 1901 – December 22, 1909
Preceded byWilliam V. Sullivan
Succeeded byJames Gordon
34th Governor of Mississippi
In office
January 20, 1896 – January 16, 1900
LieutenantJ. H. Jones
Preceded byJohn M. Stone
Succeeded byAndrew H. Longino
Personal details
Anselm Joseph McLaurin

(1848-03-26)March 26, 1848
Brandon, Mississippi, United States
DiedDecember 22, 1909(1909-12-22) (aged 61)
Brandon, Mississippi, United States
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Laura Elvira Victoria Rauch[1][2]

Anselm Joseph McLaurin (March 26, 1848 – December 22, 1909) was the 34th Governor of Mississippi, serving from 1896 to 1900.

Life and career[edit]

McLaurin was born on March 26, 1848 in Brandon, Mississippi, the son of Ellen Caroline (Tullus) and Lauchlin McLaurin III. He married Laura Elvira Rauch and had a daughter, Stella May McLaurin. The Scottish Gaelic form of the name is Mac Labhruinn, which means son of Labhran or son of Laurence.

He became district attorney at age 21 and was described as "one of the foremost lawyers in the State". He participated in the convention for the writing of the Mississippi Constitution in 1890 and was described as a free-coinage man.[3] A Democrat, as were most white conservatives in the South through the mid-twentieth century, McLaurin was elected by the state legislature to the U.S. Senate, serving from 1894 to 1895.

He was the first Governor of Mississippi to be elected under the Mississippi Constitution of 1890, which disenfranchised most blacks by raising barriers to voter registration. These changes essentially ended the competitiveness of the Republican Party in the state, as well as severely weakening the Populist Party. The last Confederate veteran elected as governor, McLaurin won the 1895 election, defeating Populist Frank Burkitt. He served from 1896 to 1900.

At Hazlehurst in 1898 the Governor explained in a speech that one of the causes of the depleted state treasury was inadequate taxation of the railroad corporations.[4]

In October 1898 McLaurin traveled by train to Forest, Mississippi, after white rioting in nearby Harperville.[5] Blacks had resisted the arrest of one of their community, killing one white man. A mob of whites quickly gathered, killing nine blacks by the next day. The county sheriff and a posse arrested some blacks, while the white mob continued to kill blacks on sight. The New Orleans Picayune said that 11 black men were killed and one white.[6] The sheriff took several black men under armed guard to Meridian, Mississippi, to protect them from the white mobs in Forest.[6]

McLaurin returned to the US Senate in 1901 after being elected by the state legislature to that seat in 1900; he was re-elected January 19, 1904.[7]

He died of heart disease at age 61 on December 22, 1909, at his home in Brandon, Mississippi. He was sitting in a rocking chair in front of his fireplace.[8]


A great-great-grandson of McLaurin was actor and comedian Robin Williams, who was given McLaurin as his middle name.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cecil L. Sumners (1999). The Governors of Mississippi. Pelican Publishing. p. 84. ISBN 978-1-56554-503-8.
  2. ^ The Official and Statistical Register of the State of Mississippi, 1908, Pg. 977; "He [Anselm J. McLaurin] was married at Trenton, Miss., February 22, 1870, to Laura Elvira Victoria Rauch, daughter of John Rauch and wife, Epsilon Rauch, of Trenton, Miss. Mrs. McLaurin's paternal ancestors immigrated to America from Germany; maternal from England and Germany."
  3. ^ "A.J. McLaurin Nominated to be Senator from Mississippi" (PDF). The New York Times. February 7, 1894. Retrieved January 1, 2012. ... one of the foremost lawyers in the State ... District Attorney when twenty-one ... member of the Constitutional Convention of 1890 ... free-coinage man
  4. ^ McLaurin, Anselm Joseph. (December 12, 1898). Supplement : speech of Gov. A. J. M'Laurin at Hazlehurst, Miss., December 12, 1898. Vicksburg : Sunday journal, 1899 Miss. Dept. of Archives and History website.
  5. ^ "Fierce Race War in Mississippi", San Francisco Call, Volume 84, Number 146, 24 October 1898; California Digital Newspaper Collection; accessed 19 March 2017
  6. ^ a b Associated Press, "Mississippi Race War/ Counting Its Victims by the Dozen", Los Angeles Herald, Volume 26, Number 25, 25 October 1898; California Digital Newspaper Collection; accessed 20 March 2017
  7. ^ "Re-elect Senators McLaurin and Money" (PDF). The New York Times. January 20, 1904. p. 5.
  8. ^ "Senator M'Laurin Dies at Fireside. Seized with Heart Disease While in a Rocking Chair in His Mississippi Home. Fought For South At 18. Afterward Studied Law on Farm, and Rose Rapidly in Politics. His Work on Senate Committees". The New York Times. December 23, 1909. Retrieved March 23, 2010. United States Senator Anselm Joseph McLaurin died suddenly to-night of heart disease at his home in Brandon, Miss. The fatal attack seized Senator McLaurin while he was seated in a rocking chair in front of the fireplace in his library. He fell forward without speaking a word, and life was extinct when members of his family reached his side. ...
  9. ^ Phillip, Abby (August 12, 2014). "Robin Williams brought a punchline to the political fight". The Washington Post.

External links[edit]

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Edward C. Walthall
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Mississippi
Served alongside: James Z. George
Succeeded by
Edward C. Walthall
Political offices
Preceded by
John M. Stone
Governor of Mississippi
Succeeded by
Andrew H. Longino