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James Conner is Born

Today in Masonic History James Conner is born in 1829.

James Conner was an American lawyer and Confederate soldier.

Conner was born on September 1st, 1829 in Charleston, South Carolina. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1849 before going on to study law. After passing the bar, he opened a legal practice in Charleston.

In 1856, Conner was appointed United States District attorney, serving until 1860. In 1857, Conner wrote The History of a Suit at Law. It was also during his time as U.S. District Attorney that he prosecuted case against the slave-ship Echo. The Echo was part of the illegal trans-Atlantic slave trade. In 1807, the United States had outlawed the transporting of slaves across the Atlantic. By 1836 most other nations had outlawed it as well. Despite this fact there was a large illegal slave trade still occurring. The Echo was unique in it's prosecution since most ships were never captured and those that were destroyed all evidence of their activities including log books and other documentation. When the Echo trial occurred it was while there was a pre-Civil War debate going on in the United States. Pro-slavery advocates wanted the ban on the trans-Atlantic slave trade lifted, while Anti-slavery advocates demanded that the ban be kept in place.

Regardless of the Echo trials, Conner was a secessionist and attended the secessionist convention as a delegate. Despite being present, Conner did not vote on the ordinance of secession.

When the American Civil War started, Conner was involved in the attack on Fort Sumter. Shortly after the beginning of the war he declined an appointment as a district attorney for the Confederacy. Conner served in a variety of campaigns during the war. He was wounded twice, the first was when his leg was broken by a rifle ball at the Battle of Gaines Mills in 1862. It took him two months to recover. His second wound was more serious and occurred in 1864, shortly after he was promoted to Brigadier General of the Confederate Army. The second time he was wounded it was again in the leg, this time there was no choice but to amputate.

After the Conner returned to his legal practice in Charleston. In 1876 he was elected Attorney General of South Carolina.

Conner passed away on June 26th, 1883.

Conner was a member of Landmark Lodge No. 76 in Charleston, South Carolina. From 1868 to 1870 he served as the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina.

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