US Senator, Governor of Iowa, Presidential Cabinet Secretary. He was born in Hartford County, Maryland where after leaving school at the age of fourteen, he spent the next ten years working as a drug store clerk and teaching school before moving to Mansfield, Ohio in 1835. In 1843 he was admitted to the bar and practiced law, serving as the area's prosecuting attorney from 1845 to 1849. In 1855 he moved to Coralville, Iowa where he became involved in the milling business. The next year he was elected to the State senate and served until 1859. In 1860 he was elected governor of Iowa and served two terms until 1864. During the Civil War the governor was credited with recruiting enough volunteers to put together over fifty regiments of infantry and cavalry for the Union cause. He used much of his own money to partially outfit the troops. During that time he was also appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to be the minister to Denmark but the governor declined. Later he chose to run for and was elected US Senator to fulfill the unexpired term of James Harlan. He served in that position for fifteen months and returned to Iowa where he resumed his law practice and worked as president of a railroad company. However, the call to return to politics was strong and he was elected governor for a third time serving from 1876 to 1877, before resigning to once again become a US Senator. The Republican remained in the Senate from 1877 to 1881 but resigned that position to become President James Garfield's Secretary of the Interior. After the President's assassination he resigned and returned to Iowa where after an unsuccessful run for the Presidency in 1886, he lived out the remainder of his life practicing law and serving as president of a local bank.
Bio by: Bigwoo