Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BIGLER, John, governor of California, born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, 8 January 1804 ; died 13 November 1871. He was of German descent. Learning the printer's trade, he became a journalist, afterward a lawyer, and removed to Illinois in 1846. He went to California among the emigrants of 1849. There he became a prominent democratic politician and gained the name of "honest John Bigler." From 1852 till 1856 he was governor of the state.*His brother, William, governor of Pennsylvania, was born in Shermansburg, Pennsylvania, in 1814: died in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, 9 August 1880. In 1829 he began to aid his brother John as a printer in the office of the "Center Democrat," published at Bellefonte. In 1833 he removed to Clearfield and established the "Clearfield Democrat," a Jackson paper, which became prosperous and notable, lie sold it in 1836, and entered the number business. But his editorial career had so extended his reputation that he was already regarded as a political leader. In 1841 he was elected to the state senate, and he was its speaker in 1843-'4. In 1849 he was appointed one of the revenue commissioners, and in 1851 was elected governor, he received the gubernatorial nomination a second time in 1854, but was defeated by the American party. In 1855 he was sent to the United States senate. He was a member of the Charleston convention in 1860, and was temporary chairman of the democratic convention of 1864, and a member of that of 1868. After the election of Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Bigler drew up a bill, and advocated it before the senate, for submitting the Crittenden compromise proposition to a vote of the people of the several states. In 1873 he was delegate-at-large of the constitutional convention at Erie. In 1874 he was an efficient member of the board of finance of the centennial exhibition.
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