LAZARUS W. POWELL was born near Henderson, Kentucky on October 6, 1812. In 1833, he graduated from St. Joseph College in Bardstown, and then attended Transylvania College, where he studied law. Powell entered politics in 1836, serving as a one-term member of the Kentucky House of Representatives. He also was a presidential elector on the Democratic ticket in 1844, and was an unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1848. Three years later, he won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor by a popular vote. During his tenure, the school tax was raised for developing educational programs, a geological survey was authorized in 1854, legislation that dealt with banking issues was vetoed, and the apportionment of the state into ten congressional districts was sanctioned. After leaving office, Powell secured an appointment in 1858, serving as a commissioner that aided in negotiation settlements with the Utah Mormons. He also served as a member of the U.S. Senate, during the very turbulent time of 1859 to 1865, in which, he openly denounced the Lincoln administration and condemned General Grant’s 1862 edict, which barred Jews from the Department of Tennessee. After finishing his senatorial term, Powell returned to his law career, retiring from public service. Governor Lazarus W. Powell died on July 3, 1867, and was buried in the Fernwood Cemetery.
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.