Missouri Digital Heritage :: Collections :: Hamilton Rowan Gamble, 1861—1864

Missouri State Archives
Hamilton Rowan Gamble, 1861—1864

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Convention of Georgia document


Hamilton Rowan Gamble was born on November 29, 1798 in Winchester, Virginia. He moved to St. Louis in 1818 to join the law firm of his brother Archibald, a clerk on the Missouri Circuit Court who appointed Gamble a deputy circuit court clerk. Gamble soon became prosecuting attorney of the Howard County Circuit Court. He served as Missouri Attorney General from 1824 to 1826 and was elected to the Missouri Supreme Court in 1846 as a Whig. Almost immediately, he became chief justice and wrote the dissenting opinion on the Dred Scott case in 1846. Justice Gamble continued service until failing health forced him to resign in 1855.

On January 21, 1861, a state convention was called to decide whether Missouri would secede from the United States or remain in the Union. Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson called for secession but he was removed from office in July of 1861 and Gamble was named as the provisional governor. His chief concern as governor was keeping Missouri in the Union while at the same time resisting federal control. The toll on his health, together with a fall on the ice at the executive mansion, led to a case of pneumonia, from which he died on January 31, 1864. Governor Gamble is interred in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis beside his wife.

The Collection

Records (1861-1863) of Governor Hamilton Rowan Gamble (1798-1864) include appointments, resignations, letters of recommendation, correspondence, memoranda, petitions, an oath of loyalty, and a proclamation.

Rights and Reproductions

Copyright is in the public domain. Citations should follow the format of (Item description), (date); Hamilton Rowan Gamble, 1861-1864; Office of Governor, Record Group 3.16; Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City.

How to Use This Collection

The official title lists dates of service from inauguration to end of term. Records (1861-1863) refer to the date range of materials included within the collection. The dates may not match. All references to places are within the state of Missouri unless indicated, and county is specified when known. The spelling of proper names varies greatly. When correct spelling could not be determined, the original spelling was retained. Officeholders are Missouri officials unless noted (U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Attorney General, U.S. Supreme Court, and et cetera). State Representatives are referred to as Representative. U.S. Representatives are noted with the title Congressman.

Additional Resources

The collection finding aid provides information pertaining to additional Gamble material held by the following institutions: Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City; Missouri History Museum of St. Louis; the State Historical Society, Columbia; and the University of Missouri, Elmer Ellis Library, Columbia.

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