Archer was born on March 5, 1789, in Amelia County, the eldest of at least five sons and four daughters of John Archer and Elizabeth Eggleston Archer. He attended the College of William and Mary in the class of 1806, studied law, and practiced in Amelia County for the rest of his life.
Archer and other southern states' rights supporters broke with the president early in his second term after Jackson denounced nullification. Archer also criticized as high-handed the president's removal of government deposits from the Bank of the United States. As a result, Archer joined the new Whig Party, a disparate group of politicians opposed to Jackson's policies, albeit often for contrary reasons. Although never an advocate of Henry Clay's American System, which became the cornerstone of the Whigs' national appeal, Archer remained allied with the Whigs for the remainder of his life. He lost his seat in Congress to Democrat John Winston Jones in the election of April 1835.
Archer died on March 28, 1855, at his Amelia County house, the Lodge, and was buried nearby. He was a wealthy man, with nearly 2,000 acres of land and eighty-eight slaves in Amelia County, a large and valuable estate in Mississippi, and a library of more than 2,500 volumes. Never married, he willed all of his property to his three sisters, with whom he had lived. They then divided it into four equal portions, with the fourth, according to a later report, set aside to provide for Archer's illegitimate son, William Segar Archer Work.
March 5, 1789 - William Segar Archer is born in Amelia County.
1806 - William Segar Archer graduates from the College of William and Mary.
1812–1814 - William Segar Archer serves in the House of Delegates.
1818–1819 - William Segar Archer serves in the House of Delegates.
1820–1835 - William Segar Archer serves in the U.S. House of Representatives.
1820–1839 - William Segar Archer serves as a trustee of Hampden-Sydney College.
1841–1847 - William Segar Archer serves in the U.S. Senate.
March 28, 1855 - William Segar Archer dies at his Amelia County house, the Lodge, and is buried nearby.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Tarter, B., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. William Segar Archer (1789–1855). (2019, July 25). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Archer_William_Segar_1789-1855.
- MLA Citation:
Tarter, Brent and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "William Segar Archer (1789–1855)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 25 Jul. 2019. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: July 24, 2019 | Last modified: July 25, 2019