Othniel Looker was the fifth governor of Ohio and the only governor of Ohio who actually fought in the American Revolution.
Born on Long Island, New York on October 4, 1757, Looker grew up in Hanover, New Jersey. Throughout the American Revolution, Looker served as a private in the New Jersey militia. Once the war was over, he taught school to support his family. He briefly lived in Vermont before moving his family to New York circa 1789. In 1803 and 1804, Looker became involved in politics for the first time, serving in the New York State Assembly.
Like many other veterans of the Revolutionary War, Looker received a land grant in the West in payment for his services. In 1804, he and his family moved to Hamilton County, Ohio. He became a well-respected member of his community, serving in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1807 to 1809 and in the Ohio Senate from 1810 to 1812 and again from 1813 to 1817. Serving as Speaker of the Senate in the 1813-14 assembly, he became acting governor when Governor Return J. Meigs, Jr., resigned to become Postmaster General of the United States. Looker served as Ohio's fifth governor from March 25 to December 8, 1814. Although Looker ran for governor in 1814, Thomas Worthington, who was better known throughout the state, defeated him.
After leaving the senate in 1817, Looker served as an associate judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Hamilton County. In 1824, he retired to his farm where he remained until his wife's death in 1841. Looker spent the rest of his life living with his children, dying in Palestine, Illinois, on July 23, 1845.
- Fess, Simeon D., ed. Ohio: A Four-Volume Reference Library on the History of a Great State. Chicago, IL: Lewis Publishing Company, 1937
- The Governors of Ohio. Columbus: The Ohio Historical Society, 1954