James Biddle Eustis, Congressman, US Senator, Ambassador
James Biddle Eustis was a United
States Senator from the state of Louisiana. He was born in New Orleans,
Louisiana on August 27, 1834 to George and and Clarice (Allain) Eustis. George
Eustis was a nephew to Governor William Eustis of Massachusetts and descended
from William and Sarah Eustis who settled at Rumney Marsh (now Chelsea,
Massachusetts) in 1674. George Eustis (1797-1858) served as Chief Justice of the
Louisiana Supreme Court.
James Biddle Eustis was raised in a
French and English bi-lingual home, pursued classical studies and graduated from
the Harvard Law School in 1854. He was admitted to the bar in 1856 and practiced
in New Orleans. He served as judge advocate during the Civil War in the
Confederate Army and at the end of the war, resumed the practice of law in New
Orleans. He was elected a member of the State House of Representatives prior to
the reconstruction acts and was a member of the committee sent to Washington to
confer with President Andrew Johnson on Louisiana affairs.
He was as a member of Louisiana House
of Representatives (1872) and a member of the Louisiana Senate (1874-1878). He
was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy in the
term commencing March 4, 1873, caused by the action of the Senate in declining
to seat certain claimants and served from January 12, 1876, to March 3, 1879. In
1878, he lost his bid for reelection to a second term.
He returned to Louisiana and became
professor of civil law at the University of Louisiana from 1877 until 1884. He
again was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1884 and served
from March 4, 1885, to March 3, 1891. He chose not to seek reelection in 1890.
He practiced law in Washington, D.C. in 1891 before being appointed Ambassador
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to France where he served from 1893 until
1897. On his return to the United States, he settled in New York City.
James Biddle Eustis married Ellen Buckner on September 3, 1857 in New Orleans. They were the parents of five children, three of whom reached maturity. James Biddle Eustis died in Newport, Rhode Island on September 9, 1899. He was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky.