JOHN W. STEVENSON was born in Richmond, Virginia on May 2, 1812. His education was attained at the Hampden-Sydney Academy and at the University of Virginia, where he graduated in 1832. He studied law, was admitted to the bar, and established a legal practice in Vicksburg, Mississippi. In 1841, he moved to Kentucky, and settled in Covington. Stevenson entered politics in 1845, serving as a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, a position he was reelected to again in 1846 and 1848. He served as a member of the 1849 Kentucky Constitutional Convention, was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1848, 1852, 1856, and was one of the commissioners who amended Kentucky’s civil and criminal codes in 1850. He also served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1857 to 1861, and was the lieutenant governor of Kentucky in 1867. On September 8, 1867, Governor John L. Helm passed away, and Stevenson, who was the lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. He was elected to his own term in 1868. During his tenure, the bureau of education was established, public school advancements were sanctioned, and the state’s prison system was reorganized. Upon his election to the U.S. Senate, Stevenson resigned from the governor’s office on February 13, 1871. After his senatorial term ended on March 3, 1877, Stevenson taught law at the Cincinnati Law School. He later served as chairman of the 1880 Democratic National Convention, and was president of the American Bar Association in 1884. Governor John W. Stevenson died on August 10, 1886, and was buried at the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Governors' Papers, Kentucky Department for Libraries & Archives, Public Records Division
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.