Edward F. Noyes

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Noyes, Edward F..jpg
Engraved portrait of Edward F. Noyes who served as Ohio's governor from 1872 to 1874. During the Civil War he helped raise and became a major in the

39th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Edward Follansbee Noyes was the thirtieth Governor of Ohio.

Edward F. Noyes was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, on October 3, 1832. His parents died when he was three years old, and he was taken to New Hampshire to live with his grandfather. When Noyes was thirteen, he became an apprentice in the newspaper office of the Morning Star, a religious newspaper published in Dover, New Hampshire. He remained an apprentice for more than four years. Noyes wanted to get an education and chose to leave his apprenticeship to attend an academy in Kingston, New Hampshire.

In 1853, he became a student at Dartmouth College. It was while he was in college that Noyes became interested in politics. He became a member of the newly formed Republican Party and gained a reputation as a public speaker. Noyes graduated from Dartmouth in 1857 and placed fourth in a class of fifty-seven students. After graduation, he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he attended the Cincinnati Law School. He graduated from law school in 1858 and began to practice law in Cincinnati.

When the American Civil War began, Noyes left his law practice to join the Union army. He helped to organize the Thirty-Ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment and was commissioned as a major on July 27, 1861. Noyes served in the regiment for three years and ultimately was promoted to colonel. Noyes was wounded in battle on July 4, 1864, near Ruff's Mills, Georgia. As a result of the injury, an army surgeon amputated Noyes's left leg. Only three months later, Major General Joseph Hooker assigned Noyes to command Camp Dennison in Ohio. Noyes was offered the opportunity to become the city solicitor of Cincinnati in April 1865 and chose to resign his commission in the army.

Noyes remained involved in politics after the war was over. In October 1866, he ran successfully for probate judge of Hamilton County. Noyes ran for governor in 1871 against Democrat George W. McCook. Noyes won by a margin of more than twenty thousand votes and became Ohio’s thirtieth governor. His term as governor was from 1872 to 1874. Noyes's administration promoted minor election reforms, as well as coal mine inspection and fish conservation laws. The state was reorganized into twenty congressional districts during his term in office. Noyes had a relatively quiet and uncontroversial term as governor. But his reelection campaign suffered as a result of the economic problems that the nation was facing at the time and the poor reputation of President Ulysses S. Grant's administration. Across the state, Republicans were blamed for the state's problems. Democratic candidate William Allen defeated Noyes by only 817 votes. Noyes then campaigned unsuccessfully for the United States Senate in 1874. The state legislature chose Democrat Allen G. Thurman instead.

Noyes remained active within the national Republican Party during this era. The Ohio delegation to the Republican national convention in 1876 chose Noyes to nominate Rutherford B. Hayes as the party's candidate for the presidency. Noyes actively campaigned for Hayes and contributed to his election success. At one point, Noyes was accused of illegally manipulating election results in Florida to benefit the Republican Party. An investigation later cleared him of any illegal activity.

Because of his support in the Election of 1876, President Hayes nominated Noyes as the United States minister to France in 1877. Noyes served as ambassador to France for four years. In 1881, Noyes returned to Cincinnati. He continued to be involved in Republican Party politics in Ohio throughout the 1880s while working at his law practice. In 1889, Noyes once again returned to elected office as a justice of the superior court of Cincinnati. He died suddenly on September 4, 1890.

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.
  4. Dee, Christine, ed. Ohio's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007.  
  5. Helfman, Harold M. "Edward F. Noyes: 1872-1874." The Ohio History Connection. Ohio Fundamental Documents Searchable Database. http://www.ohiohistory.org/onlinedoc/ohgovernment/governors/noyes.html.
  6. Jordan, Philip D. Ohio Comes of Age: 1874-1899. Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1943.  
  7. Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of Rebellion, 1861-1866. Akron, OH: The Werner Company, 1893.  
  8. Roseboom, Eugene H. The Civil War Era: 1850-1873. Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1944.