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  • Full Name: Richard Buckner
  • Served: 1712 - 1715
  • Bio Information: RICHARD BUCKNER, the son of John Buckner, of Gloucester County, was born in Virginia. From 1703 to 1715 he was clerk of Essex County. Starting with a gift of land from his father in 1682, when he was legally a minor, Buckner acquired at least 1,200 acres of land in Essex County. As a land speculator he also bought and sold properties in four other counties as well as the town of Tappahannock. Buckner allied himself politically with Alexander Spotswood soon after the new lieutenant governor arrived in 1710 and was rewarded in 1712 with an appointment as clerk of the House of Burgesses. A year later he was a silent partner in the acquisition of rights to a 4,000-acre tract with rich iron ore deposits and its immediate sale to Spotswood, whose development of mines and a forge at Germanna both made his fortune and promoted industry in the colony. Spotswood appointed Buckner to the lucrative post of county tobacco agent in 1714.
    Buckner served as clerk through 1715, but at the next General Assembly in 1718 he was censured by burgesses opposed to Spotswood's efforts to manage the assembly by patronage appointments to public offices. Buckner was arrested on a warrant from the Speaker because, in a departure from previous practice, he had copied the text of Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood 's speech dissolving the assembly into the journal of the 1715 session. Summoned to the bar of the House, Buckner explained that he had prepared copies of the journals "without the Addition of his Honours Speech," but that William Robertson, clerk of the Council and of the General Assembly, had sent him a letter directing that the speech be added. Robertson's letter adduced English precedent ("observable in the journalls of the House of Commons ... particularly in the Votes in 1711") in support of Lieutenant Governor Spotswood's order that Buckner insert the text of his speech, without which "it does not appear what became of the House." Spotswood had sent Buckner "the last Sheet of your journall Together with a Copy of his Speech that you may insert it in its proper place," and Buckner had complied. Despite Robertson's English precedent, the House declared that recording the governor's speech at the dissolution of the 1715 session was "without president and unwarrantable," and it ordered Buckner discharged, "paying fees." Nevertheless, subsequent governors' speeches at the prorogation or dissolution of assemblies continued to be recorded in the House of Burgesses journals.
    When Caroline County was established in 1728, Richard Buckner's residence stood within its boundaries and he was named a justice of the peace. He also represented Caroline County in the House of Burgesses from 1730 to 1732. He died between 18 October 1733 and 14 March 1734.

*The information within this interactive and searchable application has been researched extensively by the House Clerk’s Office. As with any historical records of this age and breadth, there may be discrepancies and/or inconsistencies within records obtained from a variety of credible sources. Any feedback is encouraged at history@house.virginia.gov.

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