U.S. Senator, Ohio Governor, Presidential Cabinet Member, Judge, U.S. Army Officer, Attorney. Born in Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut, he graduated from Yale College in 1785. Meigs studied law, was admitted to the bar, and commenced to practice as an attorney in 1788 after moving to the Northwest Territory and settling in Marietta. When the first court in Marietta was established, Meigs was appointed as clerk of courts. He also participated in defending the white settlements and was involved with the fighting against Native Americans. In 1794, he was appointed as the first Postmaster of Marietta. Meigs was appointed as a Northwest Territory Judge in 1798 and was elected to the Territorial Legislature the following year. When Ohio became a state in 1803, he became Chief Justice of the Ohio State Supreme Court and served in that capacity until 1804. He resigned to accept an appointment as Brevet Colonel in the United States Army to command the St. Charles District of Louisiana. Meigs became Judge of the Supreme Court of Louisiana from 1805 to 1806. He was appointed as a Federal Court Judge for the United States District Court of Michigan in 1807 but resigned before accepting the position to become a Democratic Republican candidate for the office of Governor in Ohio. After winning the election, he was declared ineligible by Ohio's General Assembly because of his residency outside of the state during the required four years preceding the election. The same legislature then appointed him to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate caused by the resignation of John Smith. Meigs served as Senator from December 12, 1808 to December 8, 1810 and resigned to accept election as Ohio's 4th Governor when he won the election again in 1810. During the War of 1812, he helped to recruit 1,200 volunteers for service in the state militia. He served in that capacity until his resignation in 1814 to accept an appointment by President James Madison to become a member of the Cabinet as the United States Postmaster General. He served through the end of Madison's term in 1817 and was re-appointed by President Elect James Monroe. Meigs was forced to retire in 1823 because of his failing health and returned to Marietta, Ohio. He died at his residence in 1825 when he was 60 years old. Meigs County in Ohio and Fort Meigs in Perrysburg, Ohio are named for him. His father, Return J. Meigs, Sr., was a Colonel in the U.S. Army and served with distinction at the Battle of Sag Harbor during the Revolutionary War.
Bio by: K Guy