Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LETCHER, John, governor of Virginia, born in Lexington, Virginia, 29 March, 1813; died there, 26 January, 1884. He was graduated at Randolph Macon in 1833, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1839, and while practising edited a newspaper in Lexington, Virginia he was a member of the State constitutional convention in 1850, and in 1852 was elected to congress as a Democrat, serving till 1859. At the latter date he became governor of Virginia, and was in office when the convention passed the ordinance of secession in 1861. Although he posed this policy, he sustained the action of the convention, and immediately placed all the state's forces at the disposition of the Confederate government, without waiting for the popular vote. After the failure of the Confederacy he resumed his profession, and retired from politics.
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