The Photo Request has been fulfilled.

 
 John Palmer Usher

John Palmer Usher

Birth
Brookfield, Madison County, New York, USA
Death 13 Apr 1889 (aged 71)
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas, USA
Memorial ID 10535 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Civil War Presidential Cabinet Secretary. Born in Brookfield, New York, and the son of an established New England family, he attended local schools; later he became a legal apprentice to Henry Bennett in New Berlin, New York. Admitted to the bar in 1839, he opened a practice in Terre Haute, Indiana, and while on the judicial circuit met and became friends with Abraham Lincoln. Elected to the Indiana state legislature in 1850, he served one term. In 1856 he ran unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives on the Republican ticket. Five years later he was appointed Indiana's attorney general, but soon resigned to accept the post as first Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of Interior. In this position, he investigated the damage claims and capital sentences arising from the Minnesota Sioux Uprising, and he recommended clemency and moderation. When Caleb B. Smith resigned his post as Secretary in December 1862, he succeeded him on January 8, 1863. This was done more because of Indiana's political importance than Lincoln's personal preference. During his term, he advocated several plans for the colonization of former slaves, believing that blacks should be resettled away from white populations. Attempts at colonizing Central America failed, and he could not get support for the establishment of black reservations in the States. He also was a large stockholder in the Union Pacific Railroad, which was completing its leg of the transcontinental railway. As Secretary of the Interior, he was in an excellent position to determine rights of way; consequently, entire Indian reservations were relocated to facilitate the railroad's completion. While in office, he also presented reports commenting on the benefits of the Homestead Act of 1862, increased appropriations for Indian reservations, and the taxation of gold and silver mines. He supported Lincoln's policies and ardently opposed Radical moves to displace Lincoln in 1864 and warned him against Salmon P. Chase's ambitions repeatedly. When another Hoosier, Hugh McCulloch, entered Lincoln's Cabinet in March 1865, his days were numbered, and he was asked to resign by May 15 in order that there not be two men from the same state in the Cabinet. Lincoln quickly chose Senator James Harlan of Iowa to succeed him. Then tragically came the President's assassination. Of note, it seems that he was the only person at the Petersen House on the night of the assassination that managed to get any sleep; he was found by Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, asleep on the bed in the back parlor. Not long into the Andrew Johnson administration, he fell in with the Radicals and criticized Johnson for his policies toward the South. On May 15, 1865, he resigned his post and moved to Lawrence, Kansas. Here he would serve one term as Mayor; this would be his last politcal post. He also accepted the position of chief counsel to the Union Pacific Railroad, serving in that position until his death in Philadelphia.

Bio by: Stonewall


Family Members


Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

How famous was John Palmer Usher?

Current rating:

27 votes

Sign-in to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 10 Jul 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10535
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Palmer Usher (18 Jan 1818–13 Apr 1889), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10535, citing Oak Hill Cemetery, Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .