EDWARDS, Ninian (1775-1833)

EDWARDS, NINIAN, (son of Benjamin Edwards), a Senator from Illinois; born at 'Mount Pleasant,' Montgomery County, Md., March 17, 1775; attended private schools; was graduated from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., in 1792; studied law; moved to Bardstown, Ky., in 1795; member, State house of representatives 1796-1797; admitted to the bar in 1798 and commenced practice in Russellville, Ky.; judge of the general court of Kentucky 1803; judge of the circuit court 1804; judge of the court of appeals 1806; chief justice of the State 1808; Governor of the Territory of Illinois 1809-1818; upon the admission of Illinois as a State into the Union was elected as a Democratic Republican (and later as Adams-Clay Republican) to the United States Senate and served from December 3, 1818, to March 4, 1824, when he resigned; appointed Minister to Mexico in 1824, but while en route was recalled to testify before a select committee of the House of Representatives appointed to investigate charges made by him against William H. Crawford, Secretary of the Treasury; resumed the practice of law; interested in saw and grist mills and engaged in mercantile pursuits; Governor of Illinois 1826-1831; died in Belleville, Ill., on July 20, 1833; interment in Hutchinson Cemetery, Springfield, Ill.; reinterment in 1866 in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Ill.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
Springfield, IL
Papers: l800-l835. 128 items.

Chicago Historical Society
Chicago, IL
Papers: 1798-1833. Ca. 650 items. In part transcripts, chiefly correspondence relating to state and national politics. Includes material on presidential elections, Illinois gubernatorial elections, Indian affairs, the Burr conspiracy, the War of 1812 in and around Illinois Territory, and the Black Hawk War. Finding aid. Also ca. 40 miscellaneous items in various collections.

Dickinson College Library
Carlisle, PA
Papers: 1818-1824. 4 items.

Knox College
Seymour Library
Galesburg, IL
Papers: 1 militia commission (August 27, 1817) in Sang collection, 1817-1963.

New York State Library
Manuscripts and Special Collections
Albany, NY
Papers: July 21, 1812. 1 letter. To Charles Scott.

State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Archives Division
Madison, WI
Papers: In Draper manuscripts, William Henry Harrison papers, 1811-1833 and William Clark papers, 1780-1804.

University of Illinois
Illinois Historical Survey
Urbana, IL
Papers: 1799-1880. Ca. 180 items. Transcripts, partly of originals in the Chicago Historical Society. Correspondence relating to state and national politics.

Western Kentucky University Library
Special Collections
Bowling Green, KY
Papers: In Billy Holman collection, 1809-1830.

Yale University Libraries
Manuscripts and Archives
New Haven, CT
Papers: In William Wirt papers, 1786-1850, on 24 microfilm reels of originals in Maryland Historical Society; and John McLean papers, 1817-1861, on 18 microfilm reels of originals in Library of Congress.

  • Bakalis, Michael John. "Ninian Edwards and Territorial Politics in Illinois: 1775-1818.'' Ph.D. dissertation, Northwestern University, 1966.
  • Edwards, Ninian Wirt. History of Illinois, from 1778-1833: And Life and Times of Ninian Edwards. 1870. Reprint. New York: Arno Press, 1975.
  • Suppiger, Joseph E. "Amity to Enmity: Ninian Edwards and Jesse B. Thomas.'' Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 67 (April 1974): 201-11.
  • Washburne, Elihu Benjamin, ed. The Edwards Papers. Chicago: Fergus Printing Co., 1884.
  • Wixon, Richard Lance. "Ninian Edwards: A Founding Father of Illinois.'' Ph.D. dissertation, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1983.