James Mercer, November 30, 1781-March 5, 1789; November 30, 1789-October 31, 1793

Mercer Close up
Oil on canvas, by David Silvette, 1978
Location: courtroom foyer, right

Born February 26, 1736, in Stafford County
Died October 31, 1793, in Richmond

Elected by the General Assembly to the General Court on November 30, 1781, to fill the vacancy created by the death of John Tazewell and became a member, ex-officio, of the Court of Appeals. Retired on March 5, 1789.

Elected to the reorganized Court of Appeals on November 12, 1789, to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of John Blair, and began his service on the same day. Service terminated by death.

Other judicial service:
Judge, General Court, 1781-1789


College of William and Mary, graduated circa 1755

Professional career:

Private practice, Hampshire County, 1757-1781, circa
Burgess, 1762-1776
Delegate, Virginia Conventions, 1774-1776
Virginia Committee of Safety, 1775
State delegate, 1776
Virginia representative, Continental Congress, 1779-1780
Trustee and president, Fredericksburg Academy, 1786-1790

Military service:
French and Indian War

Further reading/Research collections

Elected, Journal of the House of Delegates of the General Assembly Session Beginning October 1, 1781, 23; elected and qualified in 1789, Court of Appeals Order Book, 1, 148, cited in David J. Mays, Edmund Pendleton, 1721-1803, A Biography, (Harvard University Press, 1952; reprint, Richmond, Va., Virginia State Library, 1984), v. 2, 299, note 40; graduated from William and Mary “about 1755,” “William and Mary College: Notes Collected by E.G. Swem,” William and Mary Quarterly, v. 17, 90, and A Provisional List of Alumni, Grammar School Students, Members of the Faculty, and Members of the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary in Virginia From 1693-1888 (Richmond: Division of Purchase and Printing, 1941), 28; birth, death, and career, J. Elliott Drinard, “James Mercer, 1736-1793,” Proceedings of the Thirty-Ninth Annual Meeting of the Virginia State Bar Association (August 1928), 423-435; see also, Mercer, James (1736-1793), Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, retrieved on March 21, 2014; portrait, transcript of memorial and portrait presentation on April 20, 1978, published in 218 Va., xxv-xxx. The Silvette portrait was donated by the Fredericksburg Masonic lodge in 1978.