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Governor Stephen Fowler Chadwick

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Office Dates:  Feb 01, 1877 - Sep 11, 1878


Born:  Dec 25, 1825

Passed:  Jan 15, 1895

Birth State:  Connecticut

Party:  Democrat

Family:  Married Jane A. Smith; four children

STEPHEN FOWLER CHADWICK was born in Middletown, Connecticut, where he received his elementary education. He studied law in New York and after being admitted to the Bar set off for Scottsburg, Oregon, where he practiced law and became the town's first postmaster. He later moved to Roseburg, where he was elected the first Judge of Douglas County. He also served as Assistant U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of Oregon. Chadwick was one of the original directors of the Oregon Central Railroad Company, which later became part of the Southern Pacific Railroad. He represented Douglas County at Oregon's 1857 Constitutional Convention, served as a Democratic presidential elector in 1864 and 1868, and was elected Secretary of State in 1870 and reelected in 1874. As Secretary of State, he succeeded to the office of governor when LaFayette Grover resigned to take a seat in the U.S. Senate. While governor, Chadwick helped white settlers in a conflict with the Bannock Indians that ended with his insistence that friendly Indian chiefs surrender those who had been involved, ultimately leading to the state's prosecution and hanging of nine Indians. When the term of office to which he had succeeded expired, Chadwick returned to his law career and was active in the Grand Lodge of Masons.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 8. New York: James T. White & Company.

Oregon State Archives