Summary

Birth:
15 Oct 1857 1
Ruckersville, Elbert County, Georgia 1
Death:
02 Jan 1916 1
Washington, D.C. 1
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Full Name:
Joseph Rucker Lamar 1
Birth:
15 Oct 1857 1
Ruckersville, Elbert County, Georgia 1
Death:
02 Jan 1916 1
Washington, D.C. 1

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Stories

Joseph Rucker Lamar, 1911-1916

JOSEPH RUCKER LAMAR was born in Ruckersville, Georgia, on October 14, 1857. He began his college education at the University of Georgia in 1874 and transferred one year later to Bethany College in West Virginia, where he was graduated in 1877. Lamar studied law at Washington and Lee University and clerked for an Augusta lawyer. He was admitted to the Georgia Bar in 1878. Lamar practiced law in Georgia from 1880 to 1910, with a few interruptions for public service. In 1886, he was elected to the Georgia Legislature, where he served two terms, and in 1893 the governor appointed Lamar commissioner to codify Georgia laws. His work on the laws of Georgia was approved in 1895. Lamar was elected to the Georgia Supreme Court in 1903 but resigned in 1905 to return to private practice. President William H. Taft nominated Lamar to the Supreme Court of the United States on December 17, 1910. The Senate confirmed the appointment on January 3, 1911. Lamar served on the Supreme Court for five years. He died on January 2, 1916, at the age of fifty-eight.

 

Joseph Rucker Lamar Boyhood Home


Joseph Rucker Lamar Boyhood Home
Historic Augusta, Inc.

Local stove merchant William H. Salisbury constructed the Joseph Rucker Lamar Boyhood Home in 1860.  An excellent example of the Italianate style of architecture, the 2½-story house has architectural details including an elevated 1-story front porch with Corinthian columns, dentils, gable brackets, brick chimneys, masonry lintels and sills, and a front entrance with transom and sidelights.  A 1-story brick side addition dating from in the 1880s has a c. 1940 second story.  

Wealthy benefactress, Emily Thomas Tubman, provided the house to the First Christian Church to use as a parsonage.  Joseph Rucker Lamar (1857-1916), a Justice of the United States Supreme Court, spent his childhood and young adult life in the parsonage, while his father James Sanford Lamar served as pastor of the First Christian Church. The Lamar family resided in Augusta until 1875, when James accepted a new pastorate in Louisville, Kentucky.  Joseph Lamar lived in the house between the ages of three and 18. While there, he became friends with Thomas (Tommy) Woodrow Wilson, who lived next door in the Presbyterian Manse.  Together the boys attended school, played baseball, and held meetings in the attics of their homes. Later their careers in Washington overlapped with part of President Wilson’s first term (1913-17).  As an adult Lamar became a prominent political and legal leader in Georgia.  He codified the laws of Georgia in 1896, and served on the Georgia Supreme Court from 1902-05. President William Howard Taft appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served between 1911 and his death in 1916 at age 58.  

The church sold the house in 1875 to Ferdinand Bowdre Phinizy after constructing a new church building with an attached manse.  The Phinizy family lived in the house until 1885 retaining it as rental property until 1932.  From the 1930s until 1990, the house was a tourist home and boarding house.  Historic Augusta purchased the then dilapidated building in 1995.  After extensive rehabilitation, the organization now utilizes the home as its headquarters and as the visitors center for the Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson.

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