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Joseph Henry Lumpkin

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Joseph Henry Lumpkin (December 23, 1799-June 4, 1867) was the first Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.[1]

Lumpkin attended the University of Georgia for some time and then attended and graduated from from Princeton College in 1819. After studying law under the tutelage of Thomas W. Cobb, Lumpkin was admitted to the state bar in 1820, and he began practicing in Lexington, Georgia.


After serving two terms in the Georgia General Assembly from 1824-1825, Lumpkin returned his full attention to his legal career.[2] In 1830, Lumpkin worked in unison with William Schley and John H. Cuthbert to create the Georgia state penal code.[3]

After the creation of the Georgia Supreme Court in 1845, Lumpkin was elected as one of three initial justices to preside over that court and was its first chief justice. He served on the court until his death.[3] Lumpkin was offered the faculty chair of rhetoric and oratory at UGA in 1846, but he declined it. He did the same when offered the chancellorship of UGA in 1860. Even a presidential appointment to a federal seat on the Court of Claims was turned down by Lumpkin so that he could remain on the state supreme court.[3]

University of Georgia School of Law

He co-founded the University of Georgia School of Law. The school was previously referred to as the Lumpkin School of Law;[2] however, Lumpkin's name has since been removed from the official name of the school. Lumpkin taught at the law school until the university shut down during the American Civil War. He also served as a trustee for the school for many years.[3]

Other writings

His writings and policies suggest a mixing of religion and politics:

"In the early 1820s Lumpkin underwent an evangelical conversion that profoundly affected his life. He took an active part in the temperance movement on both the national and state levels. He also believed that slavery was sanctioned by the Bible and often cited religious arguments to support continuation of that institution."[2]


Lumpkin died in Athens in 1867 and was buried in that same city.[3]

External links


  1. Lumpkin
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 New Georgia Encyclopedia entry for Joseph Henry Lumpkin
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 William J. Northen, Men of Mark in Georgia, A. B. Caldwell, 1912, pp.302-307