Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Brough, John

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BROUGH, John (bruff), governor of Ohio, b. in Marietta, Ohio, in 1811; d. in Cleveland, 29 Aug., 1865. At the age of twelve, and with only the rudiments of a common-school training, he became an apprentice in the office of the Marietta “Gazette.” Here he stayed for two years, but all the time sought opportunities for education, and in 1825 secured a place in the office of the Athens “Mirror,” within reach of the Ohio university, then in its infancy. He entered at once as a student, and so improved his time that he more than made good his lack of early advantages. At the same period he was so successful in business that in 1831 he became proprietor of the “Washington County Republican,” a democratic paper published in Marietta. This journal he sold in 1833, and, in company with his brother, Charles Henry Brough, purchased the Lancaster “Eagle,” and soon made its influence felt as a democratic organ throughout the state. In 1825 Mr. Brough was elected clerk of the Ohio senate, which office he held until 1838, when he was elected to the state legislature from Fairfield and Hocking counties. During this period (1835-'6) he was a member of a joint commission to adjust the boundary between Virginia and Ohio. He was elected state auditor in 1839, and entered upon the duties of his office at that time when the whole country still felt the effects of the panic of 1837, and when the state of Ohio was peculiarly burdened with liabilities for which there appeared to be no adequate relief. Mr. Brough devoted himself to reconstructing the whole financial system of the state, and retired from office in 1846 with a high reputation as a public officer. In partnership with his brother Charles he undertook the management of the Cincinnati “Enquirer,” which was soon one of the most powerful democratic journals in the west. At the same time he opened a law office in Cincinnati. Personally, Mr. Brough took an active part in politics, and became the most powerful democratic orator in the state. He retired from active political life in 1848, and in 1853 was elected president of the Madison and Indianapolis railway, then one of the great lines of the west. He removed his residence to Cleveland, and when the civil war began in 1861, he was urged to become a candidate of the republican union party for governor. This honor he declined, although his position as a “war democrat” was always distinctly understood. The canvass of 1863 was held under very difficult conditions. The civil war was at its height, a large proportion of loyal voters were in the army, and southern sympathizers, led by Clement L. Vallandigham, were openly defiant. Vallandigham was arrested for disloyal utterances, tried by court-martial, and banished from the United States. He was sent within the confederate lines, and subsequently received the regular democratic nomination for governor of Ohio. There was apparently some danger that he would actually be elected by the “peace” faction of the party. At this crisis Mr. Brough made a patriotic speech at Marietta, declaring slavery destroyed by the act of rebellion, and earnestly appealing to all patriots, of whatever previous political affiliations, to unite against the southern rebels. He was immediately put before the people by the republican union party as a candidate for governor, and the majority that elected him (101,909) was the largest ever given for a governor in any state up to that time. In the discharge of his duties as chief magistrate he was laborious, patriotic, far-sighted, clear in his convictions of duty, firm in their maintenance, and fearless in their execution. He was distinctly the “war governor” of Ohio. - His brother, Charles Henry, b. in Marietta, Ohio, 17 Nov., 1813; d. in Cincinnati, 10 May, 1849, was a member of the Ohio legislature in 1840-'1; commanded the 4th Ohio regiment during the war with Mexico, and was presiding judge of the Hamilton county court of common pleas at the time of his death. He was associated with his brother in many of his business enterprises.