Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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MEDARY, Samuel, editor, born in Montgomery Square, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 25 February, 1801; died in Columbus, Ohio, 7 November, 1864. The family name was originally spelled Madeira, and is still so pronounced. He was reared in the Quaker faith, his mother's ancestors having emigrated to this country with William Penn. He was sent to the Norristown academy, and at sixteen years of age became a contributor to the "Norristown Herald," both in prose and poetry. He then taught and continued his studies in the higher branches. In 1820 his family went to Montgomery county, Maryland, and two or three years later to Georgetown, D.C. In 1825 he went to Ohio, and settled in Batavia, Clermont co. When he was twenty-six years old he was made county surveyor and school trustee, and later he became auditor of the county. In 1828 he established the "Ohio Sun" to advocate the claims of General Jackson for the presidency. He was elected as a Jackson man to the state house of representatives in 1834, was then sent to the senate, and, after serving two years, removed to Columbus and purchased the " Western Hemisphere," which was afterward changed to the "Ohio Statesman," and which he edited almost continuously till 1857. This paper soon became a power, not only in Ohio but in all the northwest and the south. He supported Jackson in his contests with the United States bank, and advocated his views on the tariff with ability, and probably no man enjoyed the confidence and warm personal esteem of the president to a greater extent than Medary. The cry of " Fifty-four forty, or fight," relative to the Oregon boundary question, is said to have been originated by him, and he became the warm friend of Stephen A. Douglas from his support of that measure. In 1844 he was chairman of the Ohio delegation to the Baltimore convention. Jackson had written a letter to Mr. Medary asking him in the event of discord to present the name of James K. Polk for the presidency. In the midst of wild excitement Mr. Medary produced this letter with the result that Polk was nominated by acclamation. Mr. Medary declined the office of United States minister to Chili in 1853. In 1856 he was temporary chairman of the Cincinnati convention that nominated James Buchanan, and strongly advocated the nomination of his friend Douglas. He was the last territorial governor of Minnesota in 1857-'8, and of Kansas in 1859-'60. His administrations were eminently successful, particularly in Kansas. The press of both parties in that territory accorded him equal praise. In December, 1860, he resigned and returned to Columbus, Ohio. to establish the "Crisis," which he edited until his death. In his early days he was devoted to horticulture and agriculture, and he was one of the originators of the Ohio state fairs, being their first treasurer and for several terms president. He also actively aided Samuel F. B. Morse in promoting the electric telegraph. He was known as the "Old wheel-horse of Democracy." One of his characteristics was the ability to write while keeping up a running conversation. In 1869 a monument was erected to his memory in Columbus by the Democrats of Ohio.
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