14th Missouri Governor. Born in Truxton, New York, his family removed to Kentucky when he was young. He became wealthy from land speculation after the 1836 Platte Purchase, after which he read law, was admitted to the Missouri State Bar Association, and established a law practice in St. Joseph, Missouri. He was a delegate to the Missouri Constitution Convention of 1845, after which he served in the Missouri State Senate. In 1857 he was elected Governor of Missouri in a special election after Trusten Polk, who was elected both Governor and United States Senator in 1856, opted to serve in the Senate seat. During his time as Governor he established the state banking system, supported and influenced the founding of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad (which would aid in the rise of Kansas City, Missouri as a major city), and he dealt with the clashes over slavery of “Bloody Kansas” that spilled over Missouri’s borders. Leaving office in 1861, he advocated Missouri remaining neutral in sectional crisis that would erupt into the Civil War. When war did begin he offered to enlist in the military, but was denied due to his health. He died at age 56 in St. Joseph in 1871. Stewartsville in Dekalb County, Missouri was named in his honor.
Bio by: RPD2