Walter Quinton Gresham - Encyclopedia

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WALTER QUINTON GRESHAM (1832-1895), American statesman and jurist, was born near Lanesville, Harrison county, Indiana, on the 17th of March 1832. He spent two years in an academy at Corydon, Indiana, and one year at the Indiana State University at Bloomington, then studied law, and in 1854 was admitted to the bar. He was active as a campaign speaker for the Republican ticket in 1856, and in 1860 was elected to the State House of Representatives as a Republican in a strong Democratic district. In the House, as chairman of the committee on military affairs, he did much to prepare the Indiana troops for service in the Federal army; in 1861 he became colonel of the S3rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and subsequently took part in Grant's Tennessee campaign of 1862, and in the operations against Corinth and Vicksburg, where he commanded a brigade. In August 1863 he was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers, and was placed in command of the Federal forces at Natchez. In 1864 he commanded a division of the 17th Army Corps in Sherman's Atlanta campaign, and before Atlanta, on the 10th of July, he received a wound which forced him to retire from active service, and left him lame for life. In 1865 he was brevetted major-general of volunteers. After the war he practised law at New Albany, Indiana, and in 1869 was appointed by President Grant United States District Judge for Indiana. In April 1883 he succeeded Timothy O. Howe (1816-1883) as postmaster-general in President Arthur's cabinet, taking an active part in the suppression of the Louisiana Lottery, and in September 1884 succeeded Charles J. Folger as secretary of the treasury. In the following month he resigned to accept an appointment as United States Judge for the Seventh Judicial Circuit. Gresham was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1884 and 1888, in the latter year leading for some time in the balloting. Gradually, however, he grew out of sympathy with the Republican leaders and policy, and in 1892 advocated the election of the Democratic candidate, Grover Cleveland, for the presidency. From the 7th of March 1893 until his death at Washington on the 28th of May 1895, he was secretary of state in President Cleveland's cabinet.

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