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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesIllinois

Ninian EDWARDS

(1775-1833)
Senate Years of Service:
1818-1824
Party:
Democratic Republican; Adams-Clay Republican

EDWARDS, Ninian, (son of Benjamin Edwards), a Senator from Illinois; born at ‘Mount Pleasant,’ Montgomery County, Md., March 17, 1775; attended private schools; was graduated from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., in 1792; studied law; moved to Bardstown, Ky., in 1795; member, State house of representatives 1796-1797; admitted to the bar in 1798 and commenced practice in Russellville, Ky.; judge of the general court of Kentucky 1803; judge of the circuit court 1804; judge of the court of appeals 1806; chief justice of the State 1808; Governor of the Territory of Illinois 1809-1818; upon the admission of Illinois as a State into the Union was elected as a Democratic Republican (and later as Adams-Clay Republican) to the United States Senate and served from December 3, 1818, to March 4, 1824, when he resigned; appointed Minister to Mexico in 1824, but while en route was recalled to testify before a select committee of the House of Representatives appointed to investigate charges made by him against William H. Crawford, Secretary of the Treasury; resumed the practice of law; interested in saw and grist mills and engaged in mercantile pursuits; Governor of Illinois 1826-1831; died in Belleville, Ill., on July 20, 1833; interment in that city; reinterment in 1855 in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Ill.

Bibliography

American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Bakalis, Michael John. “Ninian Edwards and Territorial Politics in Illinois: 1775-1818.” Ph.D. dissertation, Northwestern University, 1966; Wixon, Richard L. ”Ninian Edwards: A Founding Father of Illinois.” Ph.D. dissertation, Southern Illinois University, 1983.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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