Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus Elmer (1793-1883)

  Long before Lucius Q.C. Lamar became a prominent American political figure, there was Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus Elmer, a historian and politician from New Jersey. Born in Bridgeton, New Jersey on February 3, 1793, Elmer lived a long life, dying one month after his 90th birthday on March 11, 1883 in the town in which he was born. He was the son of General Ebenezer Elmer (1751-1843) a prominent New Jersey physician, military figure and member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1801-07. 
  Elmer attended private schools in the Bridgeton area and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia. He married Philadelphia native Catherine Hay in 1818 and four daughters were born to this couple over eight years time. They are listed as follows: Hannah (1819-1882), Caroline (1821-1911), Catherine (1825-1914) and Mary (1827-1914).
    L.Q.C. Elmer was also a veteran of the War of 1812, serving as a lieutenant of artillery in the New Jersey state militia. Elmer earned his his law degree in 1815 and in 1820 was elected to the New Jersey State Assembly, serving here until 1823. In his last year of service in the State Assembly, Elmer was elected as its Speaker. In the following year Elmer was named U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and served five years in that office (1824-1829).
   In 1843, Elmer was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey, where he served for one term. He was defeated for reelection in 1845 by fellow Bridgeton resident James Giles Hampton (1814-1861). After leaving Congress, Elmer experienced further political sucess when he was elected to the post of Attorney General of New Jersey, serving in this post from 1850-1852. In his last year as Attorney General, Elmer was appointed to a seat on the New Jersey State Supreme Court, serving as an Associate Justice from 1852-1859 and 1861-1869. 

           Elmer as he appeared in the History of the counties of Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland.

  In the early 1870s Elmer retired from public office and after his retirement authored a number of works on local New Jersey history, including the History of the early settlement and progress of Cumberland County, New Jerseyand of the Currency of this and the adjoining colonies, published in 1869. Elmer also authored and revised works on New Jersey state law and statutes during his twilight years, including Elmer's Digest of the Laws of New Jersey and Elmer's Book of Law Forms, the latter being published in 1868. Elmer is also recorded as serving as the President of the Cumberland County Bible Society for many years.
   The History of the Counties of Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland, New Jersey notes that Elmer suffered the affects of blindness in the last few months of his life, and was confined to his bed during his final days. After his death in 1883 at age 90, Elmer was buried in the Old Broad Street Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Bridgeton. He was survived by three of his daughters as well as his wife Catherine, who died a year after her husband at the age of 89. Ten years following his death, Lucius Q.C. Elmer received the distinction of having a New Jersey borough named in his honor, the borough of Elmer in Salem County, incorporated in January 1893.

This death notice for Elmer appeared in the March 12, 1883 edition of the Kingston, NY Daily Freeman.


  1. The town of Elmer, New Jersey is named in honor of L.Q.C. Elmer because while as a member of Congress he helped the community to get a post office.

  2. I work at the Elmer Post Office....thank you L.Q. C. Elmer!!