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newspaper publisher; Territorial Governor of Minnesota and Kansas
Samuel Medary was born in Montgomery Square, Pennsylvania, on February 25, 1801, the son of Quakers. He attended the Norristown Academy, where at the age of sixteen he became a contributor to the Norristown Herald. He moved with his family to Montgomery County, Maryland, in 1820, and then to Georgetown, District of Columbia, in 1822 or 1823. In 1825, he settled in Batavia, Ohio, where in 1827 he became County Surveyor and School Trustee; he later became County Auditor.
In 1828, Medary established the Ohio Sun in order to back Andrew Jackson's candidacy for President. In 1834, he was elected as a Jacksonian Democrat to the Ohio House of Representatives. He then served two years in the Ohio Senate.
Moving to Columbus, Medary purchased the Western Hemisphere, which he subsequently renamed the Ohio Statesman. This paper soon became a power throughout the Northwest and the South. In it, he supported Jackson in his contests with the United States Bank and advocated his views on the tariff. It is said that the cry of "Fifty-four-forty, or fight," relative to the Oregon boundary question, originated in one of his editorials. He edited the paper almost continuously until 1857.
In 1844, Medary was chairman of the Ohio delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Baltimore. Jackson had written a letter to him asking him, in the event of discord, to present the name of James Knox Polk for the presidency. When the convention could not agree on a single candidate, Medary presented that letter and Polk was subsequently nominated by acclamation.
In 1853, Medary was offered the post of United States Minister to Chile, but he declined the offer. In 1856, he was temporary chairman of the Democratic National Convention that nominated James Buchanan for the presidency; Medary, however, had supported Stephen A. Douglas for the nomination.
In 1857, President James Buchanan named him Territorial Governor of Minnesota, a position he held until Minnesota achieved statehood in 1858. He was subsequently named Territorial Governor of Kansas, in which position he served from 1859 to 1860; he resigned the position when it became evident that Kansas would be admitted to the Union. Returning to Columbus, Medary established the Crisis, which he edited until his death.
Samuel Medary died in Columbus on November 7, 1864.
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