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Samuel Medary

Newspaperman, politician, territorial governor. Democrat. Born: February 25, 1801, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Died:  November 7, 1864, Columbus, Ohio. Served as sixth territorial governor of Kansas: took the oath December 1, 1858; commission dated December 22; served December 18, 1858 to August 1, 1859; September 15, 1859 to April 15, 1860; June 16 to September 11, 1860; November 26 to December 17, 1860.

Samuel MedaryBorn February 25, 1801 in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Samuel Medary attended Norristown Academy. He became a contributor to the Norristown Herald at the age of 16. In 1825 he went to Batavia, Ohio, where he later established the Ohio Sun to help promote General Andrew Jackson's presidential campaign. He was elected in 1834 to the Ohio House of Representatives and following this term was elected to the state senate. He purchased the Western Hemisphere in Columbus, which he changed to Ohio Statesman, and continued to edit until 1857.  The newspaper became influential in Ohio politics and influence the national Democratic Party. He is credited for coining "Fifty-four Forty or Fight" during an Ohio border dispute.  He served as a delegate to the Democratic national convention at Baltimore in 1844, where he used a letter from General Jackson to nominate James K. Polk for the presidency in case of discord; Polk was nominated. In 1856 Medary was temporary chairman of the national convention and he attempted to nominate Stephen A. Douglas. In 1857 Medary was appointed governor of Minnesota Territory. When it was admitted to the Union in May 1858, he was appointed postmaster in Columbus, Ohio. In December 1858 he was appointed governor Kansas Territory. He resigned that position in December 1860 and returned to Columbus and to establish the Crisis, which he continued to publish until his death. Medary was nicknamed "Old wheel-horse of Democracy," and in 1869 a monument was erected in Columbus to honor his efforts.

Entry: Medary, Samuel

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: May 2012

Date Modified: February 2017

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.