Absolom West


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Absolom Madden West was born in Alabama, but moved to Mississippi in 1837. He won election to the State Senate of that state as a Whig in 1847. Although initially an opponent of secession, West became a brigadier general for the Confederacy when the Civil War broke out. He raised a regiment, and later assumed various administrative offices for the state. After 1864, West also served as president of the Mississippi Central Railroad, which by that time had been mostly destroyed by the contending armies. After the war, the railroad was sold to the Illinois Central, and West was returned to the State Senate. Soon thereafter, he was elected to the federal House of Representatives although he, along with the rest of the unreconstructed Mississippi delegation, was not permitted to be seated. In the years that followed, West established a branch of the National Labor Union, and served as a Democratic elector for President in the election of 1876. Re-elected to the State Senate, he soon became disenchanted with the Democrats, and joined the Greenback party. For that party, West was a candidate for Vice President on the ticket of Benjamin Butler in 1884. He died at Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1894.

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