KIRKWOOD, Samuel Jordan (1813-1894)
Senate Years of Service: 1866-1867; 1877-1881

KIRKWOOD, SAMUEL JORDAN, a Senator from Iowa; born in Harford County, Md., December 20, 1813; attended country schools and the academy of John McLeod in Washington, D.C.; clerked in a drug store and taught school; moved to Mansfield, Richmond County, Ohio, in 1835 and continued teaching until 1840; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1843 and commenced practice in Mansfield; prosecuting attorney of Richland County 1845-1849; member of the State constitutional convention in 1850 and 1851; moved to Coralville, Johnson County, Iowa, in 1855 and engaged in the milling business; member, State senate 1856-1859; Governor of Iowa 1860-1864; appointed by President Abraham Lincoln as Minister to Denmark in 1863, but declined; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of James Harlan and served from January 13, 1866, to March 3, 1867; resumed the practice of law and also served as president of the Iowa & Southwestern Railroad Co.; Governor of Iowa 1876-1877, when he resigned to become United States Senator, serving as a Republican from March 4, 1877, to March 7, 1881, when he resigned to accept a Cabinet portfolio; Secretary of the Interior in the Cabinet of President James Garfield 1881-1882, when, upon the death of President Garfield, he resigned; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1886 to the Fiftieth Congress; resumed the practice of law; president of the Iowa City National Bank; died in Iowa City, Johnson County, Iowa, September 1, 1894; interment in Oakland Cemetery.

Brown University
Providence, RI
Papers: Letters in John Milton Hay correspondence, 1854-1914.

State Historical Society of Iowa
Des Moines, IA
Papers: 1841-1893. 8 volumes. Correspondence, appointments, reports, petitions, legislation, and an address concerning administrative, political, and personal affairs.

State Historical Society of Iowa
Iowa City, IA
Papers: 1843-1915. 2 feet. Account books, speeches, autobiography, biographical accounts, financial records, letters and letterbooks, diary (1859), photographs, and portrait. Finding aid.

State Historical Society of Iowa
Clermont, IA
Papers: 2 letters (1881, 1885) in William Larrabee papers.

Pierpont Morgan Library
New York, NY
Papers: 1861-1879. 2 items.

University of Iowa Libraries
Special Collections Department
Iowa City, IA
Papers: 1859-1890. 12 items. Correspondence concerning political activities.

Yale University Libraries
Manuscripts and Archives
New Haven, CT
Papers: In Martin A. Lambert letters and diary, 1861-1863.

  • Clark, Dan Elbert. Samuel Jordan Kirkwood. Iowa City: State Historical Society of Iowa, 1917.
  • Hake, Herbert V. "The Political Firecracker: Samuel J. Kirkwood.'' Palimpsest 56 (January/February 1975): 2-14.
  • Kirkwood, Samuel Jordan. "Governor Kirkwood's First Meeting with President Lincoln.'' Iowa Historical Record 7 (January 1891): 34-38.
  • Lathrop, Henry Warren. The Life and Times of Samuel Kirkwood, Iowa's War Governor. Chicago: Press of Regan Printing House, 1893.
  • "Letters of a War Governor.'' Iowa Historical Record 2 (July 1886): 321-28; (October 1886): 372-78; 3 (January 1887): 429-31; 7 (January 1891): 39-41.
  • Sage, Leland L. "Weaver in Allison's Way.'' Annals of Iowa 31 (January 1953): 485-507.