William Groesbeck

From Ohio History Central

Ohio political leader William Groesbeck was born on July 24, 1815, in Kinderhook, New York. While he was still a baby, his family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. His parents enrolled Groesbeck in the local public schools and he attended Augusta College in Kentucky. Groesbeck later continued his studies and graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1835. He studied law, passed the bar examination and opened his own practice in Cincinnati in 1836.

Groesbeck earned a reputation as a brilliant legal mind. Moreover, he soon became involved in local and state politics. For most of his life, Groesbeck supported the Democratic Party. In 1851, Groesbeck served as a member of the state constitutional convention and helped to codify Ohio's laws in 1852. In 1856, Cincinnati residents elected Groesbeck to the United States House of Representatives. He was not reelected in the election of 1858.

During the Civil War, Groesbeck argued against war. He participated in the Peace Convention of 1861 that met in Washington, DC and hoped to find peaceful solutions to the issues dividing the nation. From 1862 to 1864, Groesbeck served in the Ohio Senate and continued to oppose the national conflict. He was a strong supporter of the Peace Democrats. The seat in the Ohio Senate was the last elected governmental office that Groesbeck held.

Groesbeck continued to remain involved in national affairs. He served as a lawyer for President Andrew Johnson during his impeachment trial and as a delegate from the United States at the International Monetary Conference in 1878, in Paris, France. He ran for President of the United States in 1872, as an independent. By this point, Groesbeck had switched his political loyalties to the Republican Party but he remained more liberal than most of this party's membership. He did not receive a single Electoral College vote for president but did receive one Electoral College vote for vice president. Groesbeck died in Cincinnati on July 7, 1897.

See Also


  1. Dee, Christine, ed. Ohio's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007.  
  2. Reid, Whitelaw. Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Generals and Soldiers. Cincinnati, OH: Clarke, 1895.
  3. Roseboom, Eugene H. The Civil War Era: 1850-1873. Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1944.  
  4. Weisenburger, Francis P. The Passing of the Frontier: 1825-1850. Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1941.