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Fundamental Documents of Ohio







1865- 1866

The twenty-seventh governor of Ohio, Charles Anderson, filled the vacancy created by John Brough's death. Although he spent less than five months as governor, Anderson served his adopted state well in other capacities.

At his father's residence, "Soldier's Retreat," near the falls of the Ohio River and within the present-day city limits of Louisville, Kentucky, Charles Anderson was born on June 1, 1814. His father, Colonel Richard Clough Anderson, who had served as aide-de-camp to Lafayette in the American Revolution, migrated from Virginia in 1783 to become a land surveyor in the Virginia Military District of Ohio. His headquarters was at Louisville. Anderson's mother was related to Chief Justice John Marshall.

In 1829 Anderson entered Miami University where it is said he "prosecuted his studies, both in the English branches and in the ancient classics." He was "educated in a liberal manner" and graduated in 1833. It had been his boyhood ambition to become a farmer in the vicinity of St. Louis, but he gave this up to read law in the office of Pirtle and Anderson in Louisville.

He was admitted to the bar in 1835 and moved to Dayton, Ohio, where he decided to open a law office. That autumn he was married to Eliza J. Brown, the daughter of a Dayton merchant who had served with Anthony Wayne in the West. Anderson's law practice in Dayton was supplemented by a farm and by service for a term as prosecuting attorney of Montgomery County.

In 1844 Anderson was elected to the Ohio Senate. Here he estab- lished himself as a champion of Negro rights. A pioneer advocate of the repeal of Ohio's "Black Laws," he worked tirelessly for that end but not very successfully. He was also one of the leaders in the efforts to complete the new statehouse. At the expiration of his term, Anderson spent several months touring Europe and taking the "water cure" at an Austrian resort.

Back in Ohio, Anderson moved with his family to Cincinnati in 1848. Here he entered into a law partnership with Rufus King which soon grew into a "large and successful" business. Once more, however, in 1855 or 1856, Anderson moved back to Dayton. Poor health convinced him that he should seek a different climate, and in 1859 he moved to Texas and managed farm property which he had purchased there.

In Texas he found the people greatly excited over the political situation in the country and seriously entertaining the possibility of secession. In the midst of the election year of 1860, Anderson addressed a large gathering in San Antonio, boldly calling for the "perpetuity of the national Union." For this he gained many enemies and received a number of threatening letters. After the Civil War broke out, Anderson disposed of his property and set out with his family to leave the country by way of Mexico. En route he was arrested without any charge and taken back to San Antonio as a political prisoner. Not long after, he escaped, overtook his family in Mexico, and returned to Dayton.

President Lincoln sent Anderson on a special mission to England to lecture in behalf of the cause of the Union. Discouraged, he soon returned to the United States to serve in a more effective way. His services were accepted by the governor of Ohio, who appointed him a colonel and commander of the 93d Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which was being organized in the summer of 1862. At the battle of Stone River, serving under General Rosecrans, Anderson was severely wounded. Not expecting to live, he resigned his commission and returned home.

He recovered, however, and ran successfully for lieutenant governor in 1863 on the Union ticket with John Brough. In this capacity he served in the regular and adjourned sessions of the fifty-sixth general assembly in 1864 and 1865 which devoted their attention primarily to measures concerning the war.

Governor Brough died on August 29, 1865, and Anderson acceded to his office. The few months in which he served as governor, August 29, 1865, to January 8, 1866, were uneventful, and "the services he performed were merely routine." Afterwards he returned to his law practice in Dayton.

The lure of rural life which had always attracted him once more prevailed, and in 1870 he settled on a large estate on the Cumberland River in Lyon County, Kentucky. There he died at Kuttawa, a village which he had founded, on September 2, 1895. He was survived by a son and two daughters.

Governor Anderson and his brothers had served their country well. His eldest brother, Richard, served a term in congress, was the first United States minister to Columbia, and was a commissioner to the Panama Congress. Another brother, Robert, a West Point graduate, was in command at Fort Sumter at the outbreak of the Civil War.

Anderson was well known as a lawyer and as a plain-spoken orator. He was described as "tall and elegant in person" and as an "accomplished Christian gentleman." Miami University


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