Belford, James Burns

Life Span
Dickinson Connection
Class of 1859
    Full name
    James Burns Belford
    Place of Birth
    Burial Place
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Free State
    No. of Spouses
    Samuel Belford (father), Eliza Belford (mother), Frances C. McEwers (wife, 1860)
    Dickinson (Carlisle College)
    Attorney or Judge
    Relation to Slavery
    White non-slaveholder
    Political Parties
    Other Affiliations
    Grant Administration (1869-77)
    US House of Representatives
    State legislature
    State supreme court

    James Burns Belford (Dickinson Chronicles)

    James Burns Belford was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania on September 28, 1837, the son of Samuel and Eliza Belford. He was a cousin of Joseph McCrum Belford, class of 1871, who served a congressman from New York State. He prepared at Lewistown High School and entered Dickinson College in 1855. He retired from his class in 1857 though not before he had been elected to the Belles Lettres Society. He went on immediately to study law and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1859.

    He moved west and set up practice in a small town in Missouri called California. He moved again, however, soon after, to La Porte, Indiana in 1860. His practice was successful and by 1867 he was an elected member of the State House. Three years later he was moving again when he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Colorado as an associate justice and served five years till 1875. When Colorado became a state in 1876, he was elected to the Forty-fourth Congress as a Republican and served till December, 1877 when he was replaced in an election dispute with Thomas Patterson. He did gain re-election in 1878 and served from March 3, 1879 to March 3, 1885, chairing the powerful Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Treasury in his later years in the House. He failed to gain renomination in 1884 and returned to the practice of law in Denver. When he had first arrived in the state, he had settled in Central City, Colorado but when his political career ended he moved to Denver in 1883.

    He had married Frances C. McEwers from Lewistown in 1860 before he had moved west. James Burns Belford died in Denver on January 10, 1910 aged seventy-two.
    John Osborne and James W. Gerencser, eds., “James Burns Belford,” Dickinson Chronicles,

    James Burns Belford (Congressional Biographical Directory)

    BELFORD, James Burns, (cousin of Joseph McCrum Belford), a Representative from Colorado; born in Lewistown, Mifflin County, Pa., September 28, 1837; attended the common schools and Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa.; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1859; moved to California, Moniteau County, Mo., and commenced practice; moved to La Porte, La Porte County, Ind., in 1860; member of the State house of representatives in 1867; appointed an associate justice of the supreme court of Colorado in 1870 and moved to Central City; moved to Denver in 1883; upon the admission of Colorado as a State into the Union was elected as a Republican to the Forty-fourth Congress and served from October 3, 1876, until March 3, 1877; presented credentials as a Member-elect to the Forty-fifth Congress and served from March 4, 1877, until December 13, 1877, when he was succeeded by Thomas M. Patterson, who contested his election; elected to the Forty-sixth, Forty-seventh, and Forty-eighth Congresses (March 4, 1879-March 3, 1885); chairman, Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Treasury (Forty-seventh Congress); unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1884; engaged in the practice of law in Denver, Colo., until his death there January 10, 1910; interment in Riverside Cemetery.
    "Belford, James Burns," Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present,
    How to Cite This Page: "Belford, James Burns," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,