See biographies by E. Mayes (1896) and J. B. Murphy (1973).
Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (September 17, 1825 – January 23, 1893) was a politician and jurist from Mississippi. A United States Representative and Senator, he also served as United States Secretary of the Interior in the first administration of President Grover Cleveland, as well as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1849, Professor Longstreet moved to Oxford, Mississippi to take the position of Chancellor at the recently established University of Mississippi. His son-in-law followed him and took a position as a professor of mathematics for a single year. Lamar also practiced law in Oxford, eventually taking up the role as planter, establishing a cotton plantation named Solitude in Northern Lafayette County, near Abbeville.
"Thank God, we have a country at last: to live for, to pray for, and if need be, to die for."
Lamar resigned from the House in December 1860 to participate in the Mississippi secession convention. Lamar considered a staff appointment, but abandoned that to co-operate with his former law partner, Christopher H. Mott. Lamar raised, and funded out of his own pocket, the 19th Mississippi Volunteer Infantry. Mott was made Colonel, as he had served as an officer in the war with Mexico, and Lamar elected Lieutenant-Colonel. Lamar then resigned his professorship in the university and was, on the 14th of May, in Montgomery, offering his regiment to the Confederate War Department. On May 15 1862, Colonel Lamar, while reviewing his regiment, fell with an attack of vertigo, which had previously disabled him, and his service as a soldier was ended. After this he served as a judge advocate, and aide to his cousin, LTG James Longstreet. He later resigned his commission to take a position in the Confederacy's diplomatic mission to France and Russia. After having his civil rights restored following the war, Lamar returned to the House in 1873, serving there until 1877. Lamar would go on to represent Mississippi in the U.S. Senate from 1877 to 1885.
Lamar served as United States Secretary of the Interior under President Grover Cleveland from March 6, 1885 to January 10, 1888. As part of the first Democratic administration in 24 years, and as head of the corrupt Interior Department rife with political patronage, Lamar was besieged by visitors seeking jobs. One day a visitor came that was not seeking a job and, as The New York Times later reported:
As secretary, Lamar removed the Department's fleet of carriages for its officials and only used his personal one-horse rockaway.
President Cleveland appointed Lamar to the Supreme Court of the United States, and he was confirmed on January 16, 1888. He served on the court until his death on January 23, 1893. He is the only Mississippian to have served on the court.
Three U.S. counties are named in his honor: Lamar County, Alabama; Lamar County, Georgia; and Lamar County, Mississippi. Lamar was also featured in John F. Kennedy's book, Profiles in Courage, both for his elegy speech for Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner in 1874, and for his unpopular vote against the Bland-Allison Act of 1878.