A House Divided: How Ohio Politics Shaped the Civil War← Previous Page
John Brough replaced David Tod as the Union Party candidate for governor in 1864. Orphaned at a young age, Brough managed to become a successful young journalist. At the age of twenty he purchased the Washington County Republican in Marrietta, Ohio. The newspaper had long been associated with the Democratic Party. A few years later he sold the Washington County Republican and purchased the Lancaster Eagle, another Democratic newpaper, with his brother. It was while Brough was working as the paper's editor that he became involved in politics for the first time.
From 1835 to 1837 Brough served as the clerk of the Ohio Senate. In 1838 he successfully ran as a representative from Fairfield and Holmes County to the Ohio Senate and served as the chairman of the house committee on banks and currency. In 1839, due to his work with the state's financial issues, Brough was elected state auditor. From 1839 to 1845 Brough worked as the state auditor and reorganized Ohio's financial system. By 1844 the Whig Party dominated state politics and Brough did not win reelection.
Taking a break from politics, Brough purchased the Cincinnati Advertiser with his brother and renamed it the Cincinnati Enquirer. Under the direction of Brough and his brother, the Enquirer became one of the most influential Democratic newspapers prior to the Civil War.
Prior to the outbreak of the Civil War Brough moved from Cincinnati to Cleveland. Long associated with the Democratic Party, when the South seceded Brough supported the Union and became a member of the Union Party. Then, in 1863 the party persuaded Brough to run for governor.
Brough's opponent in the governor's race was Copperhead Clement L. Vallandigham. Brough's campaign appealed to voter patriotism and won by over 100,000 votes, the largest margin of any governor before the Civil War.
As Ohio's twenty sixth governor, Brough recruited troops for the war effort, supported a tax that provided financial support for soldiers' families, improved conditions in military hospitals, and offered the Ohio militia for federal service. Brough even supported Lincoln's reelection campaign despite the fact he was not a Republican.
During his time as governor, Brough's health began to detiorate. As such, he did not seek reelection. But, four months before he was to leave office he sprained his ankle and the injury became gangrenous and he died a short time later. Brough's lieutenant governor, Charles Anderson, completed his term.
To find out more about John Brough visit http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=24