George Hoadly

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George Hoadly (1826-1902) served one term as governor of Ohio from 1884 to 1886.

George Hoadly was the thirty-sixth Governor of Ohio. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on July 31, 1826. His father, also George Hoadly, was at one time mayor of New Haven. His mother, Mary Ann Woolsey Hoadly, traced her lineage back to the famous Puritan minister Jonathan Edwards.

The Hoadly family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, only a few years after Hoadly was born. He attended public schools in Cleveland and began attending Western Reserve College at the age of fourteen. After graduating from Western Reserve, Hoadly studied law at Harvard for a year. He then began working with Zanesville attorney Charles C. Converse before finally coming to the Cincinnati law office of Salmon P. Chase in 1846. Hoadly was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1847 and joined Chase's law partnership, which became known as Chase, Ball and Hoadly. Within a few years of moving to Cincinnati, Hoadly married Mary Burnet Perry. She was the granddaughter of Ohio Supreme Court Justice and United States Senator Jacob Burnet.

Hoadly made a name for himself by participating in several important legal cases. As a result, the state legislature appointed him to be a judge on the superior court in Cincinnati in 1851. He became Cincinnati's city solicitor in 1855, and held that position until 1859. When Chase became governor of Ohio, he offered Hoadly a seat on the state supreme court. Governor David Tod made the same offer in 1862. Hoadly refused both offers and chose to stay in Cincinnati. He served as a judge of the superior court for several years and also began to teach law at the Cincinnati Law School in 1864. Hoadly became a trustee of the University of Cincinnati in the 1860s. In 1866, he left the court to form his own law practice, which was named Hoadly, Jackson, and Johnson.

Originally, Hoadly had been a member of the Democratic Party. As the American Civil War began, Hoadly became a member of the Republican Party. He was staunchly opposed to slavery, in part because of Chase's influence. In the years following the end of the war, Hoadly became disillusioned with the Republican Party. He returned to the Democratic Party in the mid 1870s and remained a Democrat for the rest of his life. Hoadly was well-respected by his fellow Democrats, even though he had left the party for several years.

Hoadly decided to run for governor on the Democratic ticket in 1883. He ran against Joseph B. Foraker, who was also from Cincinnati. The Republican Party's stance on alcohol allowed Hoadly to gain an advantage in the election. He defeated Foraker by approximately 12,500 votes. Hoadly became Ohio's thirty-sixth governor when he took office in 1884.

Hoadly had an excellent reputation when he entered office, but his administration was filled with conflicts. The governor used the state militia to support the mine owners in the Great Hocking Valley Coal Strike of 1884-1885. He faced critics from both sides. Some people believed he should not have sent in the militia at all. Others thought he should have sent in troops more quickly. Hoadly was criticized as well for not sending in the Ohio militia more rapidly during the Cincinnati Courthouse Riots in 1884. Hoadly attempted to gain the Democratic Party's nomination for the presidency in 1884, but Grover Cleveland was chosen instead. Hoadly ran against Joseph Foraker unsuccessfully in the gubernatorial election of 1885

After completing his term as governor in 1886, Hoadly retired from politics. He moved to New York in 1887, where he established a new law partnership, known as Hoadly, Lauterbach, and Johnson. Hoadly was very successful in New York and lived there the rest of his life. He died of a respiratory infection on August 26, 1902.

See Also


  1. Cashman, Sean. America in the Gilded Age. N.p.: NYU Press, 1993.
  2. The Governors of Ohio. Columbus: The Ohio History Connection, 1954 
  3. Painter, Nell Irwin. Standing at Armageddon: A Grassroots History of the Progressive Era. N.p.: W.W. Norton, 2008.