Charles J. Faulkner

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Charles James Faulkner
Charles J. Faulkner 1806-1884 - Brady-Handy.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1875 – March 3, 1877
Preceded by John Hagans
Succeeded by Benjamin F. Martin
United States Minister to France
In office
March 4, 1860 – May 12, 1861
Appointed by James Buchanan
Preceded by John Y. Mason
Succeeded by John Bigelow
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 8th district
In office
March 4, 1853 – March 3, 1859
Preceded by Alexander Holladay
Succeeded by Alexander Boteler
Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs
In office
March 4, 1857 – March 3, 1859
Preceded by John B. Weller
Succeeded by Benjamin Stanton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 10th district
In office
March 4, 1851 – March 3, 1853
Preceded by Richard Parker
Succeeded by Zedekiah Kidwell
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Berkeley County
In office
Alongside William Boak
In office
Alongside William Good and Levi Henshaw
In office
Alongside Elisha Boyd
Member of the Virginia Senate from Berkeley, Morgan and Hampshire Counties
In office
Preceded by William Donaldson
Succeeded by Thomas Sloan
Personal details
Born (1806-07-06)July 6, 1806
Martinsburg, Virginia
Died November 1, 1884(1884-11-01) (aged 78)
Martinsburg, West Virginia
Political party Democratic
Other political
Spouse(s) Mary Wagner Boyde Faulkner
Profession Politician, Lawyer
Military service
Allegiance Confederate States of America
Service/branch Confederate States Army
Rank Confederate States of America Lieutenant Colonel.png Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/wars American Civil War

Charles James Faulkner (July 6, 1806 – November 1, 1884) was a nineteenth-century politician and lawyer from Virginia and West Virginia. He was the father of Charles James Faulkner.

Early life[edit]

Faulkner was born in Martinsburg, Berkeley County, Virginia (now West Virginia). Faulkner graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in 1822, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1829. Faulkner was the father of a son of the same name, Charles James Faulkner (1847-1929)[1]


As an adult, Faulkner practiced law in Berkeley County. He was elected a member of the Virginia House of Delegates 1832-33. Soon after Faulkner was appointed a commissioner to report on the boundary between Virginia and Maryland.[2]

Later in his career, Faulkner was elected to the Virginia State Senate in 1841, and again to the General Assembly in 1848.[3] In 1848 he introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates a law after which the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was modeled.[4]

In 1850, Faulkner was elected to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850. He was one of four delegates elected from the northern Valley delegate district made up of his home district of Berkeley County as well as Jefferson and Clarke Counties.[5]

Faulkner was a U.S. Representative from 1851 to 1858[6] Entering Congress as a Whig, the next Congress Faulkner was elected as a Democrat, which he remained for the rest of his Congressional career.[7]

Faulkner was elected a Whig and Democrat to the United States House of Representatives in 1850, serving from 1851 to 1859. There, he served as chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs from 1857 to 1859.[8]

He was appointed by President James Buchanan Minister to France in 1860, serving until he was arrested in August 1861 on charges of negotiating sales of arms for the Confederacy while in Paris, France. He was imprisoned at Fort Warren in Boston. Faulkner was released in December after negotiating his own exchange for Alfred Ely, a New York congressman who was captured at the First Battle of Bull Run.[9]

During the American Civil War, Faulkner enlisted in the Confederate Army and was a lieutenant colonel and assistant adjutant general on the staff of General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.[10][11]

Faulkner engaged in railroad enterprises after the war and was a member of the West Virginia Constitutional Convention again in 1872. He was elected back to the House of Representatives as a Democrat from West Virginia in 1874, serving again from 1875 to 1877. Afterward, he resumed practicing law until his death.[12]


Charles J. Faulkner died at the family estate called "Boydville" near Martinsburg, West Virginia on November 1, 1884. Faulkner was interred in the family cemetery on the estate.



  • "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 - Present". United States Congress. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  • Krick, Robert E. L. (2003). Staff Officers in Gray: A Biographical Register of the Staff Officers in the Army of Northern Virginia. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-8078-2788-8.
  • Pulliam, David Loyd (1901). The Constitutional Conventions of Virginia from the foundation of the Commonwealth to the present time. John T. West, Richmond. ISBN 978-1-2879-2059-5.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Richard Parker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 10th congressional district

Succeeded by
Zedekiah Kidwell
Preceded by
Alexander Holladay
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
Alexander Boteler
Preceded by
John Hagans
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from West Virginia's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Benjamin F. Martin
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Y. Mason
U.S. Minister to France
Succeeded by
William L. Dayton

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website