Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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DEFREES, John D., politician, born in Sparta, Tennessee, 8 November 1811; died in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, 19 October 1882. In 1818 he was apprenticed by his father to a printer in Ohio, and at the same time began to study law. He was admitted to the bar of Indiana in 1836, having removed to that state a few years before to establish a newspaper in conjunction with his brother. He was soon elected to the legislature, and was several times reelected. In 1844 he resigned his seat in the state senate, and bought the "Indiana State Journal," a weekly paper published at Indianapolis. He removed there and made that paper a daily, which he edited for several years. After the Whig party was dissolved he united with the Republican, and in 1856 became the first chairman of the republican state committee, which place he occupied until 1860. Mr. Defrees was a friend of many leading politicians, among whom were Clay, Crittenden, Webster, and Corwin, who regarded him as an adroit politician. President Lincoln appointed him to the office of government printer, which he filled for many years.
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