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Gabriel Slaughter

Gov. Gabriel Slaughter

  • October 14, 1816 - September 6, 1820
  • Jeffersonian-Republican
  • December 12, 1767
  • September 19, 1830
  • Virginia
  • Married three times--Sarah Slaughter, Sarah Hord, Elizabeth Rodes; five children
  • Succeeded
  • National Guard


GABRIEL SLAUGHTER was born in Culpeper County, Virginia on December 12, 1767. As a young child, he moved with his family to Kentucky, where he was educated in the rural schools. Slaughter worked as a farmer until 1795, when he secured an appointment as the Mercer County justice of the peace. His military career began in 1803, as lieutenant colonel of the 5th Regiment, 8th Brigade of the Kentucky Militia. He was recognized for his valiant service in the Battle of New Orleans. Slaughter entered politics in 1797, serving as a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, a position he held until 1800. He also served as a member of the Kentucky State Senate from 1801 to 1808, and was the lieutenant governor of Kentucky from 1808 to 1812, a position he was reelected to in 1816. On October 14, 1816, Governor George Madison passed away, and Slaughter, who was lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. However, the legality of this action was questioned, due to the fact that Madison was the first governor to die in office. The legislature did not support the calling of a special election, and the decision for the lieutenant governor to fill the unexpired gubernatorial term prevailed. During Slaughter’s tenure, the development of internal improvements was endorsed, and educational advancements were advocated for. Also, during Slaughter’s term, the Panic of 1819 and the controversial removal of Charles S. Todd as secretary of state were both dealt with. Three years after leaving office, Slaughter was reelected to the Kentucky House of Representatives. He died on September 19, 1830, and was buried at the family graveyard in Mercer County, Kentucky.


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.

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