James W. Nye
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James W. Nye

James W. Nye
James W. Nye - Brady-Handy.jpg
United States Senator
from Nevada

February 1, 1865 - March 3, 1873
John P. Jones
Governor of Nevada Territory

March 2, 1861 - December 5, 1864
Isaac Roop
as provisional governor
Henry G. Blasdel
as state governor
Personal details
Born(1815-06-10)June 10, 1815
DeRuyter (town), New York, U.S.
DiedDecember 25, 1876(1876-12-25) (aged 61)
White Plains, New York, U.S.
Resting placeWoodlawn Cemetery
The Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Free Soil (1840s)

James Warren Nye (June 10, 1815 - December 25, 1876) was an American attorney and politician. He was most notable for his service as Governor of Nevada Territory and a United States Senator from Nevada.


He was born in DeRuyter, New York, and attended the common schools and Homer Academy in Homer, New York.[1] He then studied law with Lorenzo Sherwood and Martin P. Sweet of Hamilton, New York, and was admitted to the bar.[1] Nye practiced with Sherwood in Hamilton as the firm of Sherwood & Nye.[1]

In 1843, Nye was appointed a master in chancery.[2] Nye served as surrogate of Madison County from 1844 to 1847 and county judge from 1847 to 1851.[1] Nye was active in the New York Militia; in the early 1840s he was commander of the 17th Division's 35th Brigade as a brigadier general.[3] In 1846 he was appointed commander of the 17th Division with the rank of major general.[4]

During the New York Democratic Party's fight between the Barnburners and Hunkers in the late 1840s, Nye was identified with the anti-slavery Barnburners.[5] He supported Martin Van Buren's candidacy as the Free Soil Party's nominee for president in 1848,[6] and was an unsuccessful Free-Soil candidate for election to the Thirty-First Congress.[7][8]

He lived in Syracuse, New York from 1852 to 1857, where he continued the practice of law.[1] In 1857, he moved New York City, where he served as president of the Metropolitan Board of Police from 1857 to 1860.[1]

In 1861, James Nye was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln as governor of the newly created Nevada Territory.[1]

Upon the admission of Nevada as a state into the Union in 1864, he was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Senate.[1] He was reelected in 1867 and served from February 1, 1865 to March 3, 1873.[1] He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection. While in the Senate, Nye was chairman of the Committee on Enrolled Bills (Thirty-ninth Congress) and a member of the Committees on Revolutionary Claims (Fortieth Congress) and Territories (Forty-first Congress).

Mark Twain was briefly Nye's Senate secretary. In Sketches Old and New he gave an account of their parting, which occurred after Twain supposedly wrote ridiculous letters to constituents following Nye's instructions not to address controversial issues.

Nye was considered insane during his later years, and resided in an asylum.[1][9] He suffered from delusions, including the belief that he was dead and waiting for his coffin to arrive.[1] Nye died in White Plains, New York on December 25, 1876 and[1] was interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx.[10]

Nye County, Nevada was named for him.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Nye, George Hyatt (1907). A Genealogy of the Nye family. 1. Cleveland, OH: The Nye Family of America Association. pp. 390-391.
  2. ^ "Appointments by the Governor: James W. Nye". The Evening Post. New York, NY. January 30, 1843. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ Holley, Orville Luther (1843). The New York State Register for 1843. Albany, NY: J. Disturnell. p. 339.
  4. ^ "Military: James W. Nye of Hamilton". New-York Tribune. New York, NY. March 16, 1846. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "The Barnburners Meet To-Morrow". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. June 5, 1848. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "The Barnburners' Convention". New York Herald. New York, NY. June 24, 1848. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "New York: Congressional Nominations". New York Herald. New York, NY. October 24, 1848. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "The Result". Buffalo Weekly Republic. Buffalo, NY. November 14, 1848. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "The Late James W. Nye". New Orleans Republican. New Orleans, LA. January 2, 1877. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ Spencer, Thomas E. (1998). Where They're Buried. Baltimore, MD: Clearfield Company. p. 422. ISBN 978-0-8063-4823-0.
  11. ^ "Creation of Nevada's Counties". County History. Carson City, NV: Nevada Association of Counties. Retrieved 2020.

External links

Media related to James Warren Nye at Wikimedia Commons

Carl Schurz and his Senate neighbor, James Nye, in a political cartoon from Harper's Weekly
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
U.S. senator (Class 3) from Nevada
Served alongside: William M. Stewart
Succeeded by
John P. Jones
Political offices
Preceded by
Isaac Roop
provisional governor
Governor of Nevada Territory
Succeeded by
Henry G. Blasdel
state governor

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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