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Alvin Peterson Hovey

Gov. Alvin Peterson Hovey

  • January 14, 1889 - November 23, 1891
  • Republican
  • September 6, 1821
  • November 23, 1891
  • Indiana
  • Married twice--Mary Ann James, Rose Alice Smith Carey; Four children
  • Died in Office
  • Representative, Ambassador
  • Army


ALVIN PETERSON HOVEY, Indiana’s twenty-first governor, was born near Mount Vernon, Indiana, on September 6, 1821. His early education was limited and attained in the common schools of Indiana. He later studied law, teaching himself with borrowed books. He was admitted to the bar in 1842, and established a legal career in Mount Vernon. Hovey also had a very distinguished military career. Although he did not see any action in the Mexican War, he served as first lieutenant of the 2nd Indiana Regiment. During the Civil War, he was commissioned colonel of the 24th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers, was promoted to brigadier general of Volunteers, and in 1864 was brevetted major general of Volunteers. Hovey entered politics in 1850, serving as a delegate to the Indiana Constitutional Convention. He also served on the bench of the circuit court from 1850 to 1854, was a supreme court justice from 1854 to 1855, and served as the U.S. district attorney from 1856 to 1858. After leaving the Democratic Party in 1858, Hovey ran unsuccessfully on the Republican ticket for Congress. He served as U.S. Minister to the Republic of Peru from 1865 to 1870, and was a member to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from March 4, 1887 until January 17, 1889. Hovey won the 1888 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was sworn into the Indiana governorship on January 14, 1889. During his tenure, authorization was given to the State Board of Education for textbook selections, and the Australian ballot was initiated in 1889. Before he finished his term, Governor Alvin P. Hovey passed away. He died on November 23, 1891, and was buried at the Bellefontaine Cemetery in Mount Vernon, Indiana.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Indiana Historical Bureau

Indiana in the Civil War

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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