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Column: State’s first governor had roller-coaster career



Photos:


Jonathan Jennings died in 1834 and was buried in an unmarked grave. Almost 60 years later, his body was exhumed and moved to Charlestown Cemetery (above). Submitted photo


In the rough-and-tumble world of frontier politics, Jonathan Jennings experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

Indiana’s first governor, Jennings, was credited with pushing Indiana from territory to statehood, defeating an old guard loyal to William Henry Harrison and insisting that the 16th state would not have slavery.

By the time of his death at the young age of 50, Jennings had suffered political defeat, debt and health problems caused by years of alcohol abuse. He was buried in an unmarked grave and forgotten by history until the 1893 Legislature arranged for a tombstone.

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