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IOWA BIOGRAPHICAL SERIES
EDITED BY BENJAMIN F. SHAMBAUGH
SAMUEL JORDAN KIRKWOOD
DAN ELBERT CLARK
THE STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF IOWA
IOWA CITY IOWA 1917
SAMUEL J. KIRKWOOD is one of the outstanding figures in the political history of Iowa. Familiarly called the “War Governor”, his name is perhaps more widely known than that of any other man in the annals of this Commonwealth. He was a pioneer, a westerner, a man of common sense and of decision. In his life and ideas he typifies much that is characteristic of the pioneer period in the history of Iowa.
BENJ. F. SHAMBAUGH
OFFICE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT AND EDITOR
IOWA CITY IOWA
The life of Samuel Jordan Kirkwood is a part of the history of three Commonwealths. His boyhood and youth were spent in Maryland. In Ohio from 1835 to 1855 he practiced law, became prosecuting attorney of Richland County, and served in the convention which revised the State Constitution. Coming to Iowa at a time of great political upheaval, he was soon elected State Senator, and in 1860 was elevated to the position of Chief Executive. Subsequently he was United States Senator and Secretary of the Interior. But it is his service as the “War Governor" of Iowa from 1860 to 1864 that gives his name an assured place on the honor roll of the State and Nation.
In the pages which follow an attempt has been made to tell the story of Governor Kirkwood's life as far as possible by the use of his own letters and papers and those of his contemporaries. Hence the frequent quotations. This plan has been made possible by the great abundance of material. In fact, the problem with regard to sources was largely one of selection.