Samuel L. Southard was born in Basking Ridge, New Jersey on June 9, 1787. His early education was attained at an academy in Basking Ridge, and later he attended Princeton University, where he graduated in 1804. While studying law, he worked in Virginia, both as a teacher and tutor. Southard first entered politics as a member of the New Jersey House of Representatives, a position he won election to in 1814. He served as a New Jersey State Supreme Court justice from 1815 to 1820; was a member of the U.S. Senate from 1821 to 1823; and served as the secretary of navy from 1823 to 1829. He served briefly as ad interim secretary of treasury in 1825, as well as serving for a short time as the ad interim secretary of war in 1828. He also served as the New Jersey attorney general from 1830 to 1832. Southard next won election to the governorship in 1832. During his tenure, the development of railroads and canals was focused on. Southard resigned from the governor’s office on February 27, 1833, upon his election to the U.S. Senate, a position he held until 1842. Governor Samuel L. Southard passed away on June 26, 1842, and was buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
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.