ATCHISON, David Rice (1807-1886)

ATCHISON, DAVID RICE, a Senator from Missouri; born in Frogtown, Ky., August 11, 1807; attended Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky.; studied law; admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Liberty, Clay County, Mo., in 1829; also engaged in agricultural pursuits; member of the State house of representatives in 1834, and again in 1838; appointed judge of the Platte County circuit court in 1841; appointed and subsequently elected in 1843 as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Lewis F. Linn; reelected in 1849, and served from October 14, 1843, to March 3, 1855; President pro tempore of the Senate (Twenty-ninth through Thirty-third Congresses); chairman, Committee on the Militia (Twenty-ninth Congress), Committee on Indian Affairs (Thirtieth through Thirty-second Congresses); resumed the practice of law; died at his home near Gower, Clinton County, Mo., January 26, 1886; interment in Greenlawn Cemetery, Plattsburg, Mo.

University of Missouri
Western Historical Manuscript Collections
Columbia, MO
Papers: 1837-1953. 5 volumes, 19 folders, and 1 microfilm reel. Political and personal correspondence, diaries, and photographs. Correspondence relates to sectional controversy, the Civil War, elections, political parties, conditions after the war, and senators and other acquaintances in Washington, DC. Includes a thesis (1920), "The Life of David Rice Atchison as told by himself and contemporaries,'' by Ida Isabel Roberts. Finding aid.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: 1849. 1 letter.

Missouri Historical Society
St. Louis, MO
Papers: 1843-1886. Ca. 34 items. Also portraits.

Missouri State Archives
Jefferson City, MO
Papers: Miscellaneous items in various collections.

Pierpont Morgan Library
New York, NY
Papers: 1 letter (May 6, 1873) regarding Senate terms in the Gilder Lehrman collection.

  • Atchison, Theodore C. "David R. Atchison: A Study in American Politics.'' Missouri Historical Review 24 (July 1930): 502-15.
  • Parrish, William E. David Rice Atchison of Missouri: Border Politician. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1961.
  • Stevens, Walter B. "A Day and Night With `Old Davy': David R. Atchison.'' Missouri Historical Review 31 (January 1937): 129-39.
  • Townsend, John Wilson. "David Rice Atchison.'' Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society 8 (May 1910): 39-44.