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Posted By: Debbie Clough Gerischer (email)
Date: 1/5/2013 at 11:37:29

John Chambers, second Territorial Governor of Iowa, was born October 6, 1780, in Somerset County, New Jersey. His father, Colonel Rowland Chambers, was a colonel in the War for American Independence. At the close of the war he removed to Mason County, Kentucky. He soon, after securing an education, began the study of law. He was admitted to the bar and began practice in 1800.

In 1812 he was elected to the Kentucky Legislature and at the close of his term received an appointment on the staff of General William H. Harrison with the rank of major. He did excellent service during the war with Great Britain then prevailing, especially distinguishing himself at the Battle of the Thames. In 1815 he was again elected to the Legislature. In 1828 he was elected to Congress where he served but one term, declining reelection. In 1835 he was again elected to Congress, serving four years.

In 1841 he was appointed by President Harrison, his old commander, Governor of the Territory of Iowa. He was also appointed commissioner to negotiate treaties with the Sac and Fox Indians and interested himself in protecting several tribes of Indians from frauds of agents and traders. He made his home on a fine farm of 1,000 acres which he secured and improved six miles west of Burlington.

His administration was wise and creditable but, as he was a Whig, and the Legislatures during his term were strongly Democratic, the relations existing between the executive and legislative branches of the Territorial government were not harmonious.

Soon after the inauguration of President Polk, Governor Chambers was removed from office solely for political reasons. He earnestly opposed the adoption of the Constitution of 1846, under which Iowa became a State.

In 1849 Governor Chambers was appointed by President Taylor to negotiate a treaty with the Sioux Indians. This was his last official position. Toward the close of his life he returned to Kentucky where he died on the 21st of September, 1852.


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