Walter Q. Gresham

Walter Q. Gresham

Infobox US Cabinet official
name=Walter Quintin Gresham

title=United States Postmaster General
term_start=April 3, 1883
term_end=September 4, 1884
predecessor=Timothy O. Howe
successor=Frank Hatton
title2=United States Secretary of the Treasury
term_start2=September 5, 1884
term_end2=October 30, 1884
predecessor2=Charles J. Folger
successor2=Hugh McCulloch
title3=Judge on United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
term_start3=June 16, 1891
term_end3=March 3, 1893
predecessor3="seat created"
successor3=James Graham Jenkins
title4=United States Secretary of State
term_start4=March 7, 1893
term_end4=May 28, 1895
predecessor4=John W. Foster
successor4=Richard Olney
birth_date=birth date|1832|3|17|mf=y
birth_place=Lanesville, Indiana, U.S.
death_date=death date and age|1895|05|28|1832|03|17
death_place=Washington, D.C., U.S.
party=Republican, Democrat
spouse=Matilda McGrain Gresham
profession=Politician, Lawyer, Judge

Walter Quintin Gresham (March 17, 1832 – May 28, 1895) was an American statesman and jurist. He served as United States Postmaster General, as a judge on the United States Courts of Appeals, was a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and was Secretary of State, and Secretary of the Treasury. He was also an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War.


He was born near Lanesville, Indiana to William Gresham (1802 - 1834) and his wife Sarah Davis. William had been elected a Colonel in the militia of Indiana. He was a member of the Whig Party and was elected Sheriff of Harrison County, Indiana. On January 26, 1834, William was fatally stabbed while assisting in the arrest of Levi Sipes, a so-called "desperado". [ [ Matilda Gresham, "The Life of Walter Quintin Gresham" (1919)] ]

His paternal grandparents were George Gresham (born 1776) and Mary Pennington. George was born in Virginia but latter settled in Kentucky. He moved to Indiana in 1809. Mary was the only sister of Dennis Pennington, speaker of the first Indiana Senate. [ [ Matilda Gresham, "The Life of Walter Quintin Gresham" (1919)] ]

George was a son of Lawrence Gresham. Lawrence was born in England but moved to the Colony of Virginia in 1759. He initially served as an indentured servant of an uncle. He was released from service upon reaching adulthood. He later served in the Continental Army. He married Sarah O'Neal. Lawrence followed his son to Kentucky and Indiana well into his old age. [ [ Matilda Gresham, "The Life of Walter Quintin Gresham" (1919)] ]

Early years

He spent two years in an academy at Corydon, Indiana, one year at the Indiana University Bloomington, then studied law, and in 1854 was admitted to the bar. He was active as a campaign speaker for the Republican ticket in 1856, married Matilda McGrain in 1858, and in 1860 was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives as a Republican from a strong Democratic district. In the House, as chairman of the committee on military affairs, he did much to prepare the Indiana troops for service in the federal army.

Civil War

In 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War, he became colonel of the 53rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and subsequently took part in Grant's Tennessee campaign of 1862, and First Battle of Corinth and Battle of Vicksburg, where he commanded a brigade. In August 1863 he was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers, and was placed in command of the Federal forces at Natchez, Mississippi. In 1864 he commanded a division of the 17th Army Corps in Sherman's Atlanta campaign, and before Battle of Atlanta, on July 20, he received a wound which forced him to retire from active service, and left him lame for life. In 1865 he was brevetted major-general of volunteers.

After the war he practiced law at New Albany, Indiana, and in 1869 was appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant United States District Judge for Indiana. In April 1883 he succeeded Timothy O. Howe (1816-1883) as Postmaster General in President Chester A. Arthur's cabinet, taking an active part in the suppression of the Louisiana Lottery, supervising the successful September, 1883 introduction of Postal Notes, and in September 1884 succeeded Charles J. Folger as United States Secretary of the Treasury. In the following month he resigned to accept an appointment to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. While serving as Postmaster General, Gresham, Oregon, was named after him.

Gresham was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1884 and 1888, in the latter year leading for some time in the balloting. Gradually, however, he grew out of sympathy with the Republican leaders and policy, and in 1892 advocated the election of the Democratic candidate, Grover Cleveland, for the presidency. From March 7, 1893, until his death at Washington, D.C., on May 28, 1895, he was Secretary of State in President Grover Cleveland's Cabinet. His grave is in Arlington National Cemetery.

ee also

*List of American Civil War generals




NAME= Gresham, Walter Q.

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