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Joseph Vance

Gov. Joseph Vance

  • December 12, 1836 - December 13, 1838
  • Whig
  • March 21, 1786
  • August 24, 1852
  • Pennsylvania
  • Married Mary Lemen
  • Representative
  • Ohio Militia


JOSEPH VANCE, the thirteenth governor of Ohio, was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania on March 21, 1786. His education was limited and attained in the common schools of his native state. He started working as a salt peddler, which brought him to remote areas of Ohio. He eventually settled in Urbana, Ohio, where he became a farmer. He also served in the state militia during the War of 1812, where he attained the rank of major general. Vance first entered politics as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, a position he held from 1812 to 1816, and 1819 to 1820. He also served a delegate to the 1820 Ohio Constitutional Convention; and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1821 to 1835. Vance next secured the Whig gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in the 1836 general election. During his tenure, the elimination of capital punishment was lobbied for; canal construction was advanced; and a state sponsored public school system was endorsed. After running unsuccessfully for reelection, Vance retired briefly from politics. In 1839 he won reelection to the Ohio Senate, where he served two years. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1843 to 1847; was a delegate to the 1848 Whig National Convention; and served as a delegate to the 1851 Ohio Constitutional Convention. Governor Joseph Vance passed away on August 24, 1852, and was buried in the Oak Dale Cemetery in Champaign County, Ohio.


Sobel Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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