Effingham Lawrence
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 1st district
In office
March 3, 1875 – March 3, 1875
Preceded byJ. Hale Sypher
Succeeded byRandall L. Gibson
Member of the
Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 1st district
In office
Personal details
Born(1820-03-02)March 2, 1820
Bayside, Queens, New York, U.S.
DiedDecember 9, 1878(1878-12-09) (aged 58)
Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Mary Ann George

Effingham Lawrence (March 2, 1820 – December 9, 1878) was an American politician known for serving for the shortest term in congressional history, serving for just one day in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Lawrence was born in Bayside, Queens, New York, in 1820. He was a descendant of John Lawrence and John Bowne, both Quakers and pioneer English settlers of Queens, NY.

Lawrence moved to Louisiana in 1843 and engaged in the planting and refining of sugar. He served in the Louisiana State House of Representatives for some time and then successfully contested the re-election of Jacob Hale Sypher. Lawrence then served for one day in Congress but was not reelected. He died at Magnolia Plantation, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana in 1878.

Contested election

The voting in the 1872 election was characterized by a number of irregularities, with Sypher initially being declared the winner and returned to Congress while Lawrence appealed the election results. Lawrence's belated replacement of Sypher, after courts intervened to nullify the original results and instead deliver the seat to Lawrence, marked the first time since the Civil War that a Democrat had defeated a Republican for a seat in Congress from Louisiana.

The 1874 voting in which Lawrence failed "re-election" to the seat had already been held before he was seated for the term to which he had, by the later court order, been elected in 1872. Thus, under the congressional calendar in effect at the time, Lawrence was able to serve for one day of the 1873–1875 term to which he had, in the end, been elected. On the following day—March 4, 1875—he was succeeded by Randall Lee Gibson, a Democrat who had defeated him during the preceding autumn.

See also