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Richard D. Gholson

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Richard D. Gholson

Richard Dickerson Gholson (born January 31, 1804 in Caldwell, Garrard County, Kentucky; † August 23, 1862 in Troy, Tennessee) was a U.S. politician and the third Governor of Washington Territory from 1859 to 1861.

Early years

Richard Gholson grew up in Kentucky. There he studied law and there he also practiced law. During the Mexican-American War he was a captain in a military unit of the US Army consisting of volunteers.

Political career

Between 1851 and 1855 he sat in the Kentucky Senate. He was also involved in the drafting of a new constitution for that state. In the presidential election of 1856 Gholson was a supporter of James Buchanan, for whom he campaigned in Kentucky. In 1859 Buchanan returned the favor by appointing Gholson governor in Washington Territory. Gholson held this office until March 4, 1861. That was the day Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as U.S. president. In his letter of resignation, he made it clear that he would not serve one day under the new president. After Oregon was admitted to the Union as a state in 1859, the eastern portions of Oregon Territory, including southern Idaho, portions of Wyoming west of the Continental Divide (then Nebraska Territory), and a small portion of present-day Ravalli County in Montana were added to Washington Territory.

Further curriculum vitae

After his resignation, he first returned to Kentucky. Then, when the Civil War broke out, he moved to Tennessee because he felt safer there. The available source also indicates that he was a slave owner, which explains his harsh attitude towards President Lincoln and the Republicans. Richard Gholson was killed in an accident on August 23, 1862. Together with his wife Mary, who died in 1883, he had eleven children.

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