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John Marshall Hamilton

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Governor of Illinois, 1883-1885.
William J. Campbell, President of the Senate and Acting Lieutenant Governor.


John Marshall Hamilton was born in Union County, Ohio, May 28, 1847. When seven years of age, was brought to Illinois by his lather, who settled on a farm in Marshall County. In 1864 (at the age of 17) he enlisted in the One Hundred and Forty-first Illinois Volunteers—a 100-day regiment. After being mustered out, he matriculated at the Wesleyan (Illinois) University at Bloomington. He was admitted to the bar in 1870, and was a successful practitioner.

In 1876 he was elected State Senator from McLean County, and, in 1880, Lieutenant Governor on the ticket with Governor Shelby M. Cullom. On February 6, 1883, he was inaugurated Governor to succeed Governor Cullom, who had been chosen United States Senator.

In 1884 he was a candidate for the gubernatorial nomination before the Republican State Convention at Peoria, but that body selected Ex-Governor and Senator, Richard J. Oglesby to head the State ticket.

Governor Hamilton married in 1871, Miss Helen Williams. His death occurred in Chicago, September 23, 1905. He is buried in Oakwoods Cemetery, Chicago.


Source: "The Governors of Illinois, 1818-1918"; Issued by the Illinois Centennial Commission



JOHN M. HAMILTON—1883-1885.


JOHN MARSHALL HAMILTON became the twentieth governor at Illinois, February 6, 1883, by reason of the resignation of Gov. Cullom. He was born in Union County, Ohio, May 28, 1847, and with his father he came to Illinois in 1854. When he was sixteen years old he enlisted in the army.

After the close of the war he took the course at Wesleyan University at Delaware, Ohio, whence he graduated in 1868. He located at Bloomington, Illinois, read law and was admitted to the bar in 1870. He was elected State Senator in 1876, and was elected President pro tem of the Senate in the 31st General Assembly. While a member of the Senate he was the author of the bill creating appellate courts. After his term as governor had expired, he moved to Chicago where he has since practiced his profession.

The events of his administration are, by legislative acts: The creation of the State Mining Board and the office of Inspector of Mines, also the appropriation of the state militia, as well as the adoption of the Harper High-License Liquor Law. In June, 1884, the Republican National Convention was held at Chicago. Gov. Hamilton was a delegate-at-large to this convention. The first choice of the state was John A. Logan, of Illinois, the second choice being Chester A. Arthur. James G. Blaine was nominated. In July the Democratic National Convention nominated Grover Cleveland at the same place.


Source: Decisive Dates in Illinois History, A Story of the State, By Lottie B. Jones. Danville, Illinois: Illinois Printing Company, 1909.

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