McDougall, James A. (McDougal)

Born: 1817-11-19 Albany County, New York

Died: 1867-09-03 Albany, New York

Flourished: California

Alternate name: McDougal

McDougall was an attorney, explorer, and politician. He received his primary education at Albany, New York, public schools. After leaving school, he read law, and in 1837, he moved from his native state to Pike County, Illinois. He earned admission to the Illinois bar, and commenced a law practice at Jonesboro. He later became a resident of Morgan County. In addition to his law practice, McDougall became a fixture in the Illinois Democratic Party. In January 1843, he became attorney general of the state, a position he held until January 1846, when he resigned. After leaving office he engaged in engineering, and in 1849, he organized and led an expedition to explore the Rio Norte, Gila, and Colorado rivers. He eventually settled in San Francisco, where he again took up the practice of law. From 1850 to 1851, he was attorney general of California, and in 1852, voters elected him to the U.S. House of Representatives. He served in the House from 1853 to 1855; he was not a candidate for re-election in 1854. In 1860, the California State Assembly elected him as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate, where he served as a War Democrat from March 1861 until his retirement in March 1867.

Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, eds. Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois: Cook County Edition (Chicago: Munsell, 1905), 1:363; Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 1480; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 102-3; D. W. Lusk, Politics and Politicians of Illinois 3rd ed. (Springfield, IL: H. W. Rokker, 1887), 616.