Back to former Kentucky governors
Charles Anderson Wickliffe

Gov. Charles Anderson Wickliffe

  • September 5, 1839 - September 2, 1840
  • Whig
  • June 8, 1788
  • October 31, 1869
  • Kentucky
  • Married Margaret Cripps; eight children
  • Succeeded
  • Representative


CHARLES A. WICKLIFFE was born in Springfield, Kentucky on June 8, 1788. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1809, and established a successful legal career in Bardstown. During the War of 1812, he served as an aide on the staff of General Winlock, as well as on General Caldwell’s staff. Wickliffe entered politics in 1812, serving as a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, a position he held again in 1813, 1820, 1821, and from 1833 to 1835, and in which he served as speaker in the 1834 session. He also served as a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1823 to 1833, and was elected on the 1836 Whig ticket as lieutenant governor of Kentucky. On August 27, 1839, Governor James Clark passed away, and Wickliffe, who was lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. During his tenure, he advocated raising property taxes in an effort to preserve the state’s unstable credit rating. After leaving office, Wickliffe secured an appointment as postmaster general, a position he held from 1841 to 1845. Later in 1845, he served as a presidential envoy and was sent on a secret mission to Texas regarding the issue of annexation. He also served as a member of the 1849 State constitutional convention, was a member of the 1861 Washington peace conference, served again in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1861 to 1863, and was a delegate to the 1864 Democratic National Convention. Governor Charles A. Wickliffe died on October 31, 1869, and was buried in the Bardstown Cemetery.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Governors’ Papers, Kentucky Department for Libraries & Archives, Public Records Division

Virtual American Biographies

Relation to Another Governor
  • Son of Kentucky  Governor Robert Wickliffe

Recent Kentucky Governors