Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

1841-1845, John Chambers


1841-1845, John Chambers



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. His son 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 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. He died near Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky, September 21, 1852 and was interred in the family burial ground at Washington, in Mason County, Kentucky. He married Margaret Taylor (b. May 22, 1781), daughter of Major Ignatius Taylor (1742-1807), on June 16, 1803. She died on March 4, 1807. They had no surviving children. He married secondly, on October 29, 1807, to Hannah Lee Taylor (January 9, 1791-November 11, 1832), daughter of Major Ignatius Taylor with his second wife, Barbara Bowie (1756-1805). Hannah was a half sister to John's first wife Margaret. John and Hannah had twelve children.


State Library of Iowa and State Historical Society of Iowa


1841; 1842; 1843; 1844; 1845;


Biographical Directory of the United States, Wikipedia, History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century / Volume 4 by Benjamin F. Gue


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