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Fundamental Documents of Ohio







1877- 1878

Rutherford B. Hayes resigned as governor of Ohio, effective March 2, 1877, to become the nineteenth president of the United States, and Lieutenant Governor Thomas Lowry Young of Cincinnati, who had served in both houses of the state legislature, was sworn in as governor for the unexpired term.

Most of the duties faced by Governor Young were routine, but a few months after taking office, he was confronted by a very serious labor situation in Ohio. This involved rioting and unrest as the result of a railroad strike beginning in Pennsylvania on July 22 and spreading rapidly to other states. At places in Pennsylvania and Maryland, riotous mobs destroyed many millions of dollars worth of property, and lives were lost in clashes with police and militia. In Ohio, at points along the lines of the Pennsylvania and the Baltimore and Ohio railroads, there was considerable tension and some disorder, with apprehension of disaster. Governor Young did not call upon the president of the United States for aid as did the governors of other states, but took personal charge of the situation and ordered the state militia into active service to maintain order. When asked why he did not turn to the president for assistance, he retorted, it is said, "Ohio can take care of herself." He would not appeal, he said, "until the last man in Ohio is whipped." The result of his timely action averted loss of life and property damage, and by early August peace had returned and the troops were disbanded.

Young was not a native of Ohio nor of the United States. He was born on December 14, 1832, in Killyleagh, County Down, on the estate of Lord Dufferin in the North of Ireland. At the age of twelve he immigrated to the United States with his parents, and was educated in the public schools of New York City. In 1848, near the close of the Mexican War, he enlisted in the United States Army as a musician and served ten years, advancing through the ranks from private to first sergeant. He left the army in January 1858, and a year later settled in Cincinnati to become an instructor and assistant superintendent of the House of Refuge Reform School for youth.

Three weeks before the bombardment of Fort Sumter, when civil war seemed to him to be inevitable, Young offered his services to General Winfield Scott, whom he knew personally, to organize volunteer forces for the United States government. But General Scott declined, believing his services would not be required. Between September and December 1861, after war broke out, he was captain of the Benton Cadets, Missouri Volunteers, said to have been General John C. Fremont's bodyguard. The next few months he spent in a somewhat aimless manner, part of the time editing a Democratic newspaper at Sidney, Ohio. As editor, he condemned the indecisive policy of those in charge of the conduct of the war and urged its vigorous prosecution.

But he could not be content with fighting the war on paper. In August 1862 he was commissioned major of the 118th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which was mustered into federal service the following month. For several weeks thereafter he was on detached service as provost marshal at various points in Kentucky. He was promoted, April 17, 1863, to lieutenant colonel and commanded his regiment in the East Tennessee campaign.

Young received his commission as colonel on April 11, 1864, and he spent the following month engaged in heavy fighting in Georgia. For courage and gallantry during the battle of Resaca, near Dalton, Georgia, he was breveted brigadier general of volunteers. The hardships and disease of the campaign proved too much for him, and he was honorably discharged for disability in the fall of 1864.

Returning to Cincinnati, Young studied law and was admitted to practice in April 1865. In the same month he was appointed assistant city auditor of Cincinnati, and in the fall elections he was sent to the state house of representatives from Hamilton County for one term. Other positions of public trust came to him. He was elected recorder of Hamilton County in 1867, and the following year received an appointment from President Andrew Johnson as supervisor of internal revenue for the southern district of Ohio. Finding the duties of this position unpleasant under the Johnson administration, he resigned at the end of one year.

Next he was engaged in real estate activities for some months ill 1870 with Daniel Weber and E. W. Langdon, but entered politics again in 1871 and was the only Republican elected to the state senate from Hamilton County that year. Completing the term as senator, Young turned to the private practice of law in Cincinnati with his partners, Ransford Smith and Samuel T. Crawford. His absence from public life was of short duration, however, for in the campaign of 1875 tale Republican party nominated him for lieutenant governor to run on the ticket with Rutherford B. Hayes. Both were elected, and when Hayes later went to Washington as president, Young became governor of Ohio for slightly less than a year.

Young's last venture in politics was to serve as a representative from the Cincinnati district in the 46th and 47th congresses, 1879-83. He was defeated for renomination for a third term, and thereupon withdrew from politics to resume the private practice of law. He died in Cincinnati on July 20, 1888, and was buried in Spring Grove Cemetery. Young had been married three times, and was survived by eight children. The Hayes Memorial Library


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