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Trusten Polk

Gov. Trusten Polk

  • January 5, 1857 - February 27, 1857
  • Democratic
  • May 29, 1811
  • April 14, 1876
  • Delaware
  • Yale University
  • Married Elizabeth Skinner; five children
  • Resigned
  • Senator
  • Army


TRUSTEN POLK was born near Bridgeville, Sussex County, Delaware on May 29, 1811. His education was attained at Yale University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in 1831. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1835 after moving to Missouri, and then established his legal career, serving as the St. Louis city counselor in 1843. Polk first entered politics as a delegate to the 1845 Missouri Constitutional Convention. He also served as a presidential elector on the 1848 Democratic ticket. Polk next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor on August 4, 1856. He was sworn into office on January 5, 1857. Shortly after his inauguration, the legislature designated him to serve in the U.S. Senate. Consequently, he resigned from the governor’s office on February 27, 1857. Polk served in his senatorial seat from March 4, 1857 until January 10, 1862, when he was expelled from office for his support of the Confederacy. He served as a colonel in the Confederate Army, serving in the department of Mississippi as a military court judge. He was taken prisoner and confined to Johnson’s Island in 1864. Governor Trusten Polk returned to St. Louis following the war, passed away on April 16, 1876, and was buried in the Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.


Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Messages and Proclamations of the Governors of the State of Missouri (Produced by the Missouri Historical Society)

Missouri State Archives (Jefferson City, MO)

The Political Graveyard

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.

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