Ninian Edwards


Continuing with my series on the Governors of Illinois down to the end of Reconstruction, we come to Ninian Edwards, the third governor of Illinois.

Edwards was the most powerful politician in the State during his lifetime.  Born on March 17, 1775 in Montgomery County Maryland.  He rose to success in the new State of Tennessee, becoming Chief Justice of the State before he was 32.  After the Territory of Illinois was organized, Edwards was appointed by President Madison in 1809 to be Territorial Governor, a post he would occupy until 1818 when Illinois was admitted to the Union.  Edwards was immediately chosen by the Illinois Legislature to be a United States Senator.  He gave his full support to Governor Coles’ successful struggle in 1824 to keep Illinois a free state.

In 1824 he resigned from the Senate after President Monroe appointed him to be Minister to Mexico.  He never took up the post however because of allegations of corruption made against him by Secretary of the Treasury William H. Crawford.

To clear his name before the citizens of Illinois, Edwards ran for Governor and was elected in 1826.  During his term the Winnebago War was fought.  Relations with the Indians in Illinois and disputes over treaties dominated his term in office.  His popularity waning Edwards did not attempt to seek a second term.  In his last year in office Abraham Lincoln settled in Illinois.  Edwards ran for Congress in 1832, and for the only time in his political career was defeated.  He died of cholera on July 20,1833.  His son Ninian W. Edwards became a political associate and close friend of Abraham Lincoln.

Published in: on March 7, 2010 at 6:35 am  Comments Off on Ninian Edwards  
Tags: , ,