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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesIowa

Samuel Jordan KIRKWOOD

(1813-1894)
Senate Years of Service:
1866-1867; 1877-1881
Party:
Republican; Republican

KIRKWOOD, Samuel Jordan, a Senator from Iowa; born in Harford County, Md., December 20, 1813; attended country schools and the academy of John McLeod in Washington, D.C.; clerked in a drug store and taught school; moved to Mansfield, Richmond County, Ohio, in 1835 and continued teaching until 1840; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1843 and commenced practice in Mansfield; prosecuting attorney of Richland County 1845-1849; member of the State constitutional convention in 1850 and 1851; moved to Coralville, Johnson County, Iowa, in 1855 and engaged in the milling business; member, State senate 1856-1859; Governor of Iowa 1860-1864; appointed by President Abraham Lincoln as Minister to Denmark in 1863, but declined; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of James Harlan and served from January 13, 1866, to March 3, 1867; resumed the practice of law and also served as president of the Iowa & Southwestern Railroad Co.; Governor of Iowa 1876-1877, when he resigned to become United States Senator, serving as a Republican from March 4, 1877, to March 7, 1881, when he resigned to accept a Cabinet portfolio; Secretary of the Interior in the Cabinet of President James Garfield 1881-1882, when, upon the death of President Garfield, he resigned; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1886 to the Fiftieth Congress; resumed the practice of law; president of the Iowa City National Bank; died in Iowa City, Johnson County, Iowa, September 1, 1894; interment in Oakland Cemetery.

Bibliography

Dictionary of American Biography; Clark, Dan E. Samuel Jordan Kirkwood. Iowa City: State Historical Society of Iowa, 1917; Hake, Herbert. “The Political Firecracker: Samuel J. Kirkwood.” Palimpsest 56 (January/February 1975): 2-14.

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

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