Lucien Coatsworth Gause (1836–1880)

Lucien Coatsworth Gause was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the First District of Arkansas in the Forty-Fourth and Forty-Fifth Congresses, serving from 1875 to 1879.

Lucien C. Gause was born near Wilmington, North Carolina, on December 25, 1836, to Samuel Sidney Gause and Elizabeth Ann Gause. The family, which included another son, moved to Lauderdale County, Tennessee, where Gause received his earliest education, studying with a private tutor. After graduating from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, he studied law at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. After graduating from Cumberland, he was admitted to the bar and began to practice law in Arkansas at Jacksonport (Jackson County) in 1859.

Gause was reputedly an excellent speaker who owned an impressive library. However, the young attorney’s fledgling private practice was interrupted by the Civil War. Gause enlisted in the Confederate infantry and was given the rank of lieutenant; he later attained the rank of colonel. He was a brigade commander in Arkansas’s First Division, serving under General James C. Tappan. Gause served for the duration of the war, finally surrendering in Shreveport, Louisiana, in May 1865. He was paroled in June, and the following month he returned to Jacksonport, where he resumed his law practice.

Gause married Virginia Ann Page on June 21, 1866, and they had three children: a son and two daughters.

As the state government returned to operation, Gause was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives, where he served in 1866. As President Andrew Johnson battled with Congress over procedures by which the former Confederate states would rejoin the Union, Gause went to Washington DC, serving as the commissioner representing the state’s interests as it awaited readmission to the Union. When the state was readmitted to the union, Gause sought a seat in Congress. Running as a Democrat in 1872, he lost a closely contested election to Republican Asa Hodges. Alleging election fraud, Gause challenged the election result, but his effort was rebuffed. However, a second attempt in 1874 resulted in an overwhelming victory, and he ran unopposed in 1876. While in Congress, Gause served on the Public Lands Committee as well as the Committee on the Expenditures of the Treasury Department.

While the end of national Reconstruction following the election of 1876 left the Democratic Party fully in control of the Arkansas political landscape, Gause chose not to run again in 1878, instead returning home and resuming his private law practice in Jacksonport.

The family was living in Jacksonport when Gause died suddenly on November 5, 1880. He had been suffering from consumption (tuberculosis) for some time. Gause is interred in a private cemetery near Jacksonport.

For additional information:
“Death of Col. Gause.” Arkansas Gazette, November 16, 1880, p. 1.

“Lucien Coatsworth Gause.” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. (accessed September 16, 2021).

William H. Pruden III
Ravenscroft School


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