David Tod

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Tod, David.jpg
Governors portrait of David Tod that hangs in the Ohio Statehouse. He served as governor of Ohio from 1862 to 1864. As a Civil War Governor, Tod oversaw the recruitment of troops, established the Ohio Military Agency to aid Ohio soldiers and called up troops to defend the state's borders from attack by the Confederate Army.

David Tod was the twenty-fifth governor of Ohio.

Tod was born in Youngstown, Ohio, on February 21, 1805. His father was Judge George Tod. He studied the law and was admitted to the bar in 1827. In 1832, he became postmaster of Warren, Ohio. That same year he married Maria Smith, and they had a total of seven children.

A member of the Democratic Party, Tod went into politics in 1838 and successfully ran for the Ohio Senate. Like most Democrats, he opposed the National Bank. He also helped to gain passage of a law that made it easier for escaped slaves to be returned to their masters in Kentucky. Choosing not to run for a second term, Tod returned to his law practice in Warren. He remained active in Ohio's Democratic Party. As a result of his work, he earned the nickname "giant of Democracy." Tod ran unsuccessfully for governor against Mordecai Bartley in 1844 and William Bebb in 1846.

President James Polk appointed Tod as United States minister to Brazil in 1847. He held the position until 1851. Returning to Ohio, Tod concentrated on his business interests in the Youngstown area. Tod had invested in a number of industries, including coal, oil, and railroads. He ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1858, but Republican John Hutchins defeated him.

By the end of the decade, the Democratic Party, as well as the nation as a whole, was being divided along regional lines. In the Election of 1860, the Democratic Party split into the Northern Democratic Party and the Southern Democratic Party. Tod was one of Ohio's delegates to the Northern Democratic national convention in 1860, and he ultimately served as chairman of the convention. He was instrumental in assuring Stephen Douglas' nomination as the Northern Democratic presidential candidate in the Election of 1860. Republican Abraham Lincoln won the presidency, and the nation soon was at war. Rather than join with the Peace Democrats in opposing the war, Tod chose to become part of the Union Party, a new party consisting of pro-war Democrats and Republicans, and supported Lincoln's administration. As a result, the Union Party chose Tod as its gubernatorial candidate in 1861. Tod easily defeated Democrat Hugh J. Jewett and became the state's governor in 1862.

Tod faced many challenges as governor because of the war. He worked to provide medical aid for wounded Ohio soldiers. As the war continued, there were no longer enough volunteers to fill Ohio's quotas. Tod had to administer a draft to fulfill federal government requirements under the Militia Act of 1862. In 1863, the federal government assumed control of the draft under the Conscription Act, also known as the Enrollment Act, but Tod still had to contend with Ohioans opposed to the draft.

As Confederate troops came close to Ohio's southern borders in 1862, Tod created the "Squirrel Hunters" to strengthen Ohio's defenses. He also had to contend with strong Copperhead sentiment in the state, especially from Clement Vallandigham and Samuel S. Cox. During Tod's administration, Democrats managed to regain control of a number of elected positions in the state. Tod did respond quickly to Confederate John Hunt Morgan's raid into southern Ohio.

Although Tod would have liked to run for a second term as governor, Union Party leaders chose John Brough instead. There was a perception that Tod was still too close to the Democratic Party, and he did not speak favorably of emancipation of the slaves. Tod only served one term as governor, from 1862 to 1864. While Brough was also a former Democrat, he seemed to be a more outspoken supporter of African American freedom and of the Union war effort.

In June 1864, President Lincoln offered to appoint Tod to be Secretary of the Treasury. Lincoln selected Tod for a number of reasons, most notably Tod's former support of the Democratic Party. Lincoln hoped to unite Northerners of all political leanings behind the Northern war effort and believed that appointing a Democrat to a cabinet position would help accomplish this. Tod, though, was suffering from poor health. He had experienced a number of strokes, and decided not to accept the position. He never held any other political office and died of a stroke in November 1868.

See Also


  1. Abbott, Richard H. Ohio's War Governors. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 1962.  
  2. Dee, Christine, ed. Ohio's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007.  
  3. The Governors of Ohio. Columbus: The Ohio History Connection, 1954 
  4. Naragon, Harold L.The Ohio Gubernatorial Campaign of 1863. M.A. thesis. The Ohio State University. 1934.
  5. Reid, Whitelaw. Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Generals and Soldiers. Cincinnati, OH: Clarke, 1895.
  6. Roseboom, Eugene H. The Civil War Era: 1850-1873. Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1944.  
  7. Trester, Delmer J. "David Tod: 1862-1864." The Ohio History Connection. Ohio Fundamental Documents Searchable Database. http://www.ohiohistory.org/onlinedoc/ohgovernment/governors/tod.html
  8. Trester, Delmer J. "The Political Career of David Tod." M.A. thesis. The Ohio State University. 1950.