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More Information about Edward W. McGaughey


McGAUGHEY, Edward Wilson, a Representative from Indiana; born near Greencastle, Putnam County, Ind., January 16, 1817; attended the public schools; deputy clerk of Putnam County; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1835 and commenced practice in Greencastle, Ind.; member of the State house of representatives in 1839 and 1840; served in the State senate for the session December 5, 1842, to February 13, 1843; resigned before the beginning of the next session; unsuccessful candidate for election to the Twenty-eighth Congress; elected as a Whig to the Twenty-ninth Congress (March 4, 1845-March 3, 1847); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1846 to the Thirtieth Congress; moved to Rockville, Parke County, Ind., in 1846 and resumed the practice of law; elected to the Thirty-first Congress (March 4, 1849-March 3, 1851); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1850 to the Thirty-second Congress; nominated by President Taylor as Governor of Minnesota Territory in 1849, but the Senate failed to confirm the nomination; moved to California in 1852; died in San Francisco, Calif., August 6, 1852; interment in Yerba Buena Cemetery.

McGaughey, Edward Wilson (1817-1852) — also known as Edward W. McGaughey — of Greencastle, Putnam County, Ind. Born near Greencastle, Putnam County, Ind., January 16, 1817. Member of Indiana state house of representatives, 1839-40; member of Indiana state senate, 1842-43; U.S. Representative from Indiana 7th District, 1845-47, 1849-51; defeated, 1843, 1851; candidate for Presidential Elector for Indiana, 1848. Died in San Francisco, Calif., August 6, 1852. Original interment at Yerba Buena Cemetery (which no longer exists), San Francisco, Calif.; subsequent interment at Golden Gate Cemetery (which no longer exists), San Francisco, Calif.; reinterment to unknown location.


Abraham Lincoln fears Edward W. McGaughey as a competitor for appointment as commissioner of the General Land Office.

“I believe that, so far as the whigs in congress, are concerned, I could have the Genl. Land Office almost by common consent; but then Sweet, and Don: Morrison, and Browning, and Cyrus Edwards all want it. And what is worse, while I think I could easily take it myself, I fear I shall have trouble to get it for any other man in Illinois. The reason is, that McGaughey, an Indiana ex-member of congress is here after it; and being personally known, he will be hard to beat by anyone who is not.”

From letter of Abraham Lincoln to Joshua F. Speed, Feb. 20, 1849 (The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 2)


“But, as the sequel proved, there was no need to fear the Hoosier statesman, for although he had the endorsement of General Scott and others of equal influence, yet he was left far behind in the race, and along with him Lincoln, Morrison, Browning, and Edwards. A dark horse in the person of Justin Butterfield sprang into view and with surprising facility captured the tempting prize.”

From “The Life of Lincoln” by W. W. Herndon and Jesse William Weik. (Weik, a resident of Greencastle, Indiana, was coauthor of “Life of Lincoln” with Lincoln’s law partner, William Herndon.)


More about Edward McGaughey's career: He was nicknamed "Ned" and later moved from Greencastle to Rockville, Indiana. Edward W. McGaughey, then of Rockville, was one of three Whigs in Congress to vote for the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850.


About Edward McGaughey's daughter, Sara McGaughey Rand, and her view of her father's political career

"Mrs. Sara McGaughey Rand represents two families historically worth recording, and in her personally is a woman who merits a place in a history of Iowa women. She was born in Greencastle, Ind., the daughter of Edward W. McGaughey and Margaret Matlock, who were married Jan. 18, 1838. Their family consisted of five children Sara, Mary, Edward, Charles, and Thomas. In 1835, her father, E.W. McGaughey, at the age of eighteen years was upon examination admitted to the practice of law in Putnam County, Ind. In 1842 he was elected state senator. In 1843 he resigned to make his first race for a seat in congress in which he was defeated by only three votes. In 1845 he was elected to congress. He was a strong opponent to the Mexican War and delivered a speech against the action taken by congress, which speech cost him the seat of governor of the Territory of Minnesota. President Taylor nominated him for territorial governor, but failed of confirmation by the senate in consequence of his attitude on the war question. In 1852, being broken in health he started to California, in the hope of being benefitted. In crossing the Isthmus of Panama he contracted fever from which he died in San Francisco, Aug. 6, 1852.

Mrs. Rand’s grandfather, Arthur O. McGaughey, was clerk of the first court held in Putnam county, Ind., in a private house. He was clerk of the courts for 23 years. He took the first case taken to supreme court. Mrs. Rand was the oldest of five children and was educated in the Conventual College of St. Mary of the Woods near Terre Haute, Inc. For many years she was president of the Alumnae of St. Mary’s, and in 1911, was made honorary president for life. At Greencastle, Inc. on Dec. 25, 1862, she was married to George Dexter Rand of Burlington, they had one daughter, Mary Rand. Mrs. Rand is a convert to the Catholic church .... She is always thought of as one of the foremost women of Keokuk."

From The Blue Book of Iowa Women: a history of contemporary women


About the death of Edward W. McGaughey in San Francisco

"The death of Hon. Edward W. McGaughey is thus recorded in the San Francisco Whig of August 7 1852:

“It is our painful duty to record the demise of Hon. E. W. McGaughey, who arrived in San Francisco on the 4th inst. by the “Winfield Scott”. He died at the James’ Hotel yesterday morning at one o’clock of Panama fever, with which he was attacked on the passage. Doctor Greathouse, of Kentucky, and Judge Hammond, of Indiana, and other kind friends, who were with him on board the steamer, were unremitting in their attentions to him ... Doctor Aldrich, of this city, was called on to assist in attending to him ... But he had become so emaciated and enfeebled that all was without avail. He did not die among strangers. Old acquaintances and friends were around him and paid him every possible attention. Among them were Hon. George C. Bates ex-Governor McDougal, and Hon P. W. Tomkins. Col E.D. Baker, who had known him familiarly, was not in town at the time of his death. Mr. McGaughey was formerly a Whig member of Congress of Indiana, and one of the youngest members of that body, and of more than average talents. He had embarked for California with the intention of prosecuting his profession of law and politics.”

From Weik’s History of Putnam County by Jesse William Weik, 1910


About Edward W. McGaughey's forbearers

"The parents of Edward W. McGaughey were Arthur O. and Sarah (Bell) McGaughey. His father was born on March 3, 1788, and came from Jamestown, Pennsylvania, to the West when a very young man, with a company of “Rangers” - I presume a military company, armed for protection. At Corydon, Indiana, in about 1810, he married Sarah Bell, who was born in Kentucky on June 11, 1790. Their family consisted of six children - William B., Edward W., Thomas D., Mary Jane, John, and Harriet. Mary Jane McGaughey was the first white child born in Putnam County. The records of Putnam county show that the first term of court held in that county was at a private house about sixteen miles south of town, on the 3rd of June, 1822, and that Arthur McGaughey was clerk of the county, and that the first case taken to the supreme court was by Arthur McGaughey. He held this office for twenty-tree or four years and lived on a farm about three miles of Greencastle up to the time of his death, May 2, 1857. His wife was a woman of strong character and keen intellect ... a staunch member of the Baptist church.”

From Weik’s History of Putnam County by Jesse William Weik, 1910


About McGaugheys living in Greencastle, Indiana, today

“I had never heard of Edward W. McGaughey. But there are many McGaugheys in Putnam County today. Ed McGaughey, whose farm adjoins the family’s Russellville farm, was a prominent farmer in that area. His farm was also adjoined by a farm owned by another McGaughey. They were not related. The McGaugheys I know are all responsible, hard-working people. Their only problem is folks have different ways of saying McGaughey, McGaffey, etc. There was a Charles McGaughey, local attorney in Pap’s day.” (Grandfather “Pap” was a state senator in the 1920s representing Greencastle. He was a Democrat.)

Letter from Greencastle attorney and judge, J. Frank Durham, to his nephew, William McGaughey, Jr., November 4, 2010


About some of Edward W. McGaughey's descendants

A letter from Sally Beringer Schaub:

“Hello Bill, I found your link on E.W.McGaughey, and found it very interesting.. Edward W McGaughey and Margaret Matlock McGaughey were my 5th Aunt and Uncle. Margaret's sister, Rosannah Matlock was my 3rd Great Grandmother...and when Rosannah died in 1842, her daughter, Minerva Lindsey, then 10 years old, went to live with her Aunt Margaret and Uncle Edward, until she married Milton C Turner in 1850.. Minerva named her first born son, Edward McGaughey Turner...b 1852..My Great Grandfather. For years, I have tried to uncover the mystery of where the "McGaughey" name came from. And about a year ago, it all came into place...The puzzle pieces....I have been doing my family genealogy for 35 years and still hit brick walls.."

More information from Sally Beringer Schaub:

"A few tid bits I found on EWM..... He was , for the most part, self educated and he entered his father's office as "deputy clerk", at an early age. When he married Margaret Matlock, he signed his own marriage license, "Arthur McGaughey, clerk, per EW McGaughey, Deputy. His father was opposed to his marriage on account of his youth. At age 18, he was admitted to the practice of law, in Putnam County. 1842, he made his first race for office , that of state senator, was elected. 1843 he resigned to make his forst race for Congress.

He was enthusiastic, gifted, clear headed, courageous, ambitious,. His triumphs at the bar were the fireside talk of those early days. He was 5ft 7 in, slender, dark hair, thin visaged and slightly stoop shouldered. His voice was that of a nasal Yankee twang..clear, piercing... He had a feeble constitution. His brain seemed to out run his body. Hwas elected to Congress but in a subsequent race, was defeated.. This influenced him to move on. He then looked at California and on the way he became ill...He died in California...

Here is a copy of a letter, written to Margaret Matlock McGaughey, from WD Griswold:

"Mrs. EW McGaughey

Dear Madam,

I am deputed to transmit to you a copy of resolutions adopted by members of the bar of this circuit
at this place during the recent session of court, in memory of your deceased husband. These
resolutions you will find enclosed with this. Having taken part in their adoptiion, it is almost
unnecessary for me to express further any sentiments I entertain in relation to the sad event which
called him forth. Yet, I can not refrain to say to you that the unexpected news of Mr. McGaughey's
death impressed me mournfully. W, we weree were of nearly the same age and we commenced our professional
careers together in the same courts. During some 13 or 14 years, we were on terms of unterrupted
friendship. I, therefore, could not but feel the blow, that struck him down fell very near to me.
I deeply sympathize with you and your dear children in this bereavement. Your husband and their
father was a man of talents and a man of honor. Ambitious as he was, I believe that he never swerved
in his ingtegrity or in his fidelity.
His death is greatly a public loss to his friends and associates, but principally yours. The memory of
his virtues will comfort you. You can with truth and fidelity hold out to your children the example of
his life for their guidance and emulation. In this exercize, I confidently believe you will realize much
consolation in the dark hours of your widowhood. Belileve me, with sincerest sympathy and regards,

your friend and servant,

WD Griswold"


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