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Robert Wickliffe

Gov. Robert Wickliffe

  • January 30, 1856 - January 11, 1860
  • Democratic
  • January 6, 1819
  • April 18, 1895
  • Kentucky
  • St. Joseph's College; Augusta College; Centre College
  • Married twice--Anna Dawson, Annie Davis Anderson; two children


ROBERT WICKLIFFE was born in Bardstown, Kentucky on January 6, 1819. His father was Charles A., governor of Kentucky and U.S. postmaster general. His education was attained at St. Joseph’s College in Bardstown, at Augusta College, and at Centre College in Danville, where he graduated from in 1840. He studied law in Washington, D.C., and was admitted to the bar. Shortly after establishing a legal practice in Bardstown, he became ill, and consequently moved to Louisiana to recuperate. Wickliffe entered politics in 1852, serving as a member of the Louisiana State Senate, a position he held until 1855. He also served as president of the senate from 1854 to 1855. He won the 1855 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor on November 5, 1855. He was sworn into office on January 30, 1856. During his tenure, railroad development was increased, a registry law was sanctioned, swamp renovation was advanced, and several acts were authorized that defined slavery. After completing his term, Wickliffe left office on January 11, 1860. He refused to participate in the secession controversy, and he did not serve in any capacity in the Civil War. In 1866, he was elected to Congress. However, he was denied his seat, as all Southern representatives were at the time. He served as a delegate on the Tilden ticket at the 1876 Democratic National Convention. After running unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1892, Wickliffe retired from public service. He passed away on April 18, 1895.


Dawson III, Joseph G. The Louisiana Governors: From Iberville to Edwards. Baton Rouge: Lousiana State University Press, 1990.

Encyclopedia Louisiana

Louisiana Secretary of State: The Governors of Louisiana

The Political Graveyard

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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