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 Silas Woodson

Silas Woodson

Birth
Barbourville, Knox County, Kentucky, USA
Death 9 Oct 1896 (aged 77)
Saint Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri, USA
Burial Saint Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri, USA
Plot Section L
Memorial ID 11427 · View Source
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21st Missouri Governor. Born near Barbourville in Knox County, Kentucky, when he reached adulthood he read law and was admitted to the Kentucky State Bar Association. He started a law practice with future United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Freeman Miller, served in the Kentucky State Legislature, and was a member of it’s 1849 Constitution Convention, where he was the sole member to propose and support gradual emancipation for the state’s slaves. In 1854 he removed to St. Joseph, Missouri, where he set up a law practice. Appointed a Circuit Judge in 1860 for Missouri’s Buchanan County, soon after the Civil War he threw himself into the war effort, being a staunch Unionist. He was commissioned as the Inspector General for the Missouri State Militia, and in 1863 was named Assistant Provost Marshal. When Union Department of Missouri commander Major General John Schofield issued General Order #135 authorizing provost marshals in the state to recruit and equip African-Americans for the Union Army, Silas Woodson spent much of the next year doing so. After the war he returned to his law practice, and made an unsuccessful attempt at being elected to the Missouri State Legislature before being elected as Missouri’s Governor in 1872. His election as a Democrat and his defeat of his Radical Republican opponent Senator John B. Henderson represented a shift in Missouri, and it would be another thirty years before a Republican was elected to the Governorship. While Governor, Silas Woodson attempted to collect the debt’s owed to the state by the Pacific Railroad Company, which owe millions, and by selling the railroad when it continually defaulted. The case went to the United States Supreme Court (Woodson Vs. Murdock, 1874), which ruled in favor of the railroad (Governor Woodson’s former law partner, Justice Samuel F. Miller, wrote the minority dissent in the case). During his tenure he also supported the state’s public school system, reduced the state’s debt, and unsuccessfully attempt to procure funding for security for trains and banks, which were being robbed continually. After he left office he returned to his law practice in St, Joseph, where he died at age 77 in 1896.

Bio by: Russ Dodge


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 6 Aug 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 11427
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Silas Woodson (18 May 1819–9 Oct 1896), Find A Grave Memorial no. 11427, citing Mount Mora Cemetery, Saint Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .