Amos Lovering

(1805–1879) Judge

Born in Medway, Massachusetts, in 1805, Amos Lovering was best known for his role as a Republican commissioner on the committee tasked with revising the Mississippi Code of Laws in 1871. Lovering received his early education at Day’s Academy in Massachusetts, an institution that prepared him for study at Brown University in Rhode Island, from which he graduated in 1828. Lovering then studied law and apprenticed with other lawyers before moving to Louisville, Kentucky, to begin his practice. His search for better positions and more stimulating environs prompted moves to St. Joseph, Missouri, and then to Scott County, Indiana. Lovering soon established himself as an able lawyer, becoming a justice of common pleas for Scott and Clark Counties. In 1862, after ten years of service as a judge, Lovering moved to Nashville.

In 1869 Lovering moved to Jackson to become a judge in Mississippi’s 9th Judicial District. In the highly charged environment of Presidential and Congressional Reconstruction, many white Democrats perceived the presence and governing role of Lovering and other Republicans in Mississippi as evidence that the oppressive North was seeking to punish a defeated South. Gov. James Alcorn, a Republican and a scalawag, attempted to introduce progressive reforms to Mississippi, and Lovering participated in these endeavors, directly confronting issues of race, education, and law. In the December 1871 edition of the Mississippi Educational Journal, Lovering expressed his opinion that the way to defeat the Ku Klux Klan could be found in “universal education in morals and mind” for both races. Such views only incited passions against him.

Lovering became a commissioner on the committee to revise Mississippi’s Code of Laws to conform with the newly passed amendments to the US Constitution regarding the abolition of slavery, a prerequisite for readmission to the Union. Appointed by Gov. Alcorn, Lovering joined two Democratic judges, J. A. P. Campbell and Amos R. Johnson. Lovering’s Republican affiliation and presence on the committee, combined with his outspoken beliefs, sparked hatred against the new code. The Code of 1871 greatly resembled the Code of 1857, yet white southerners detested the laws and blamed problems within the legal system on Lovering and the Republican Party. Gov. John M. Stone, a Democrat who took over for Ames in 1876, blamed his inability to stop racial violence on the Code of 1871.

Lovering contracted malaria while in Mississippi and was enfeebled by the disease. He ended work in the legal profession and returned in 1876 to Louisville, where he died on 28 January 1879.

Further Reading

  • William C. Harris, Journal of Southern History (May 1974)
  • E. O. Jameson, The Biographical Sketches of Prominent Persons, and the Genealogical Records of Many Early and Other Families in Medway, Mass., 1713–1886 (1886)

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Amos Lovering
  • Coverage 1805–1879
  • Author
  • Website Name Mississippi Encyclopedia
  • URL
  • Access Date July 13, 2020
  • Publisher Center for Study of Southern Culture
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 14, 2018