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John Letcher
Birth: Mar. 29, 1813
Death: Jan. 25, 1884

Civil War Virginia Governor, US Congressman. Born in Lexington, Virginia, after attending Randolph-Macon and Washington College, (now Washington and Lee), he graduated from the latter in 1833 and was admitted to the bar 6 years later. He was the editor of the Democratic “Valley Star” from 1839 to 1850, and was a supporter of states rights. At the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850 to 1851, he played a major role in creating a new constitution. His popularity resulted in his being elected to represent Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, where he served from 1851 to 1859. His pro-slavery speeches cautioned moderation and conciliation. He won the Virginia gubernatorial election of 1859, and tried to dissuade secessionists in his state, supporting for the presidency the compromise politician Stephen A. Douglas. At the same time, he encouraged the strengthening of the militia. When the Deep South began seceding in 1861 he helped organize the Washington Peace Conference in hopes of finding some resolution to Southern grievances. Once the war began, he became governor of the most powerful of Confederate states. As such, he was to the Confederate government what Joseph Brown of Georgia was not, a cooperative governor. One of his chief accomplishments was the appointment of Robert E. Lee as commander of all state troops. He commissioned Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson Colonel, then defended him against criticism from Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin. He also relinquished the state forces to Confederate authority before any other state did so. His constant collaboration with the Confederate authorities in unpopular measures did not sit well with his constituency. In order to continue his political career after his term expired at the end of 1864, he ran, in 1863, for a seat in the Second Confederate Congress but was defeated. He therefore returned home financially ruined by the war, his home in Lexington burned by Union Major General David Hunter's troops in 1864. He tried to resume his law practice. He was imprisoned for 6 weeks after the surrender but was released without being tried for treason. He then again resumed his law practice, playing only a minor role in postwar Virginia politics as a member of the state house from 1875 to 1877. In retirement, he died at his home in Lexington. (bio by: Ugaalltheway) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Mary Susan Holt Letcher (1829 - 1909)*
 
 Children:
  Samuel Houston Letcher (1848 - 1914)*
  Greenlee Davidson Letcher (1867 - 1954)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery
Lexington
Lexington City
Virginia, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jul 10, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 10673
John Letcher
Added by: Garver Graver
 
John Letcher
Added by: Ethan F. Bishop
 
John Letcher
Added by: Janet Greentree
 
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Enjoyed a visit on Lee-Jackson day. RIP Governor
- glennrocks92
 Added: Jan. 23, 2014

- Tom Fagart
 Added: Jan. 14, 2013

- Annie H Darracott 791, UDC - Lakeland, FL
 Added: Jan. 10, 2013
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Current ranking for this person: (3.4 after 24 votes)
 

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