Samuel Galloway was a political leader and public servant from Ohio. He was born on March 20, 1811, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. His family moved to Ohio in 1819, and Galloway graduated as valedictorian from Miami University in 1833. He began a teaching career after his graduation and became a professor of ancient languages at Miami University in 1837. In 1841, after teaching at two additional institutions of higher education, Galloway began studying the law. In 1843, he successfully passed the Ohio bar examination and set up a law practice in Chillicothe, Ohio.
In 1844, Galloway began a political career and became Ohio's Secretary of State. One of his many duties was to oversee public education in the state. During Galloway's six years in office, the Ohio legislature passed two major laws dealing with education. Both of these laws helped create the school district system still in effect in Ohio. The first of these laws was the Akron School Law of 1847. Before this legislation was enacted, local schools commonly functioned independently from one another, with little attempt at uniformity. The citizens of Akron, influenced by their New England roots, used the new law to organize their community's schools into a single system.
The roots of today's school system could be found in the Akron School Law. There was one school district encompassing the entire city. Within that district were a number of elementary schools, with students divided into separate "grades" based on achievement. When enough demand existed, the school board established a high school as well. Property taxes paid for the new school system. A school board, elected by the community, made decisions regarding the system's management and hired the necessary professionals to run each school. In 1849, the Ohio legislature adopted the Akron School Law for the entire state.
In 1850, Galloway refused to seek reelection as secretary of state. In 1854, he returned to public life as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio. Politically, he favored the stance of the new Republican Party and became well known for his opposition to slavery's expansion into the Kansas Territory. He sought reelection to the House of Representatives in 1856, but was defeated by Samuel S. Cox. Galloway ran against Cox again in 1858, but once again failed to win the election. Galloway stopped seeking elected public offices at this point. He served as judge advocate of Camp Chase, a military prison located in Columbus, Ohio, during the American Civil War. Samuel Galloway died on April 5, 1872, in Columbus, Ohio.
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