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Samuel Bigger

Gov. Samuel Bigger

  • December 9, 1840 - December 6, 1843
  • Whig
  • March 20, 1802
  • September 9, 1846
  • Ohio
  • Ohio University
  • Married Ellan Williamson


Samuel Bigger, Indiana’s seventh governor, was born in Warren County, Ohio, on March 20, 1802. He graduated with honors from Ohio University, earning an A.B. degree in 1825, and an A.M. degree in 1830. After studying law, Bigger moved to Indiana, where he was admitted to the bar, and established a successful legal practice. Bigger entered politics in 1833, serving as a member to the Indiana House of Representatives, a position he was reelected to in 1834. He also was the presiding judge of the Sixth Judicial Court, serving from 1836 to 1840. Bigger won the 1839 Whig gubernatorial nomination and was elected to the Indiana governorship on August 3, 1840. During his tenure, state laws were amended, and the state’s economy faltered due to the collapse of the internal improvement program. Also, Bigger met with opposition when he contested legislation that would have established Ashby College (a Methodist college). After running unsuccessfully for reelection, Bigger left office on December 16, 1843, and retired from public service. Three years later, Bigger passed away on September 9, 1846, at the age of forty-four. He was buried at the McCulloch Park Cemetery in Fort Wayne, Indiana.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Indiana Historical Bureau


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