Robert P. Letcher

Robert P. Letcher

Governor of Kentucky
Born Feb 10, 1788

Robert Perkins Letcher was a politician and lawyer from the US state of Kentucky. He served as a U.S. Representative, Minister to Mexico, and the 15th Governor of Kentucky. He also served in the Kentucky General Assembly where he was Speaker of the House in 1837 and 1838. A strong supporter of the Whig Party, he was a friend of Henry Clay and John J. Crittenden. Letcher's family came to Kentucky around 1800.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Robert P. Letcher.


1788 Birth Born on February 10, 1788.


1800 12 Years Old Letcher's family came to Kentucky around 1800. … Read More


1812 24 Years Old 1 More Event
He was briefly a judge advocate in John Allen's volunteer militia during the War of 1812. … Read More
1813 25 Years Old Nicknamed "Black Bob", Letcher was known as a witty and gregarious campaigner. He was also known to distract audiences at his opponents' campaign speeches by playing a fiddle. His political career began in 1813 when he was elected to represent Garrard County in the Kentucky House of Representatives.
1815 27 Years Old He served until 1815, and after a respite of one term, was re-elected in 1817.


1823 35 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1823, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served for more than a decade.
1824 36 Years Old 1 More Event
During the 1824 presidential election, he acted as an intermediary between John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay. … Read More


1828 40 Years Old Letcher supported Adams' administration, but became anti-administration when Jackson won the 1828 presidential contest. … Read More
1833 45 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1833, Clay proposed a compromise in the Senate to quell the Nullification Crisis; Letcher introduced Clay's compromise in the House.
1836 48 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1836, Letcher served as a presidential elector on the Whig ticket He returned to the Kentucky House later that year, and was re-elected every year until 1838. … Read More


1840 52 Years Old 1 More Event
Just weeks after Letcher's inauguration, William Henry Harrison prevailed in the 1840 presidential election. … Read More
If he (Crittenden) were going to accept a position in President Harrison's cabinet, Letcher would prefer he do it before March 4, 1841 so the General Assembly would still be in session to elect Crittenden's replacement in the Senate.
1844 56 Years Old In one of his final acts as governor, Letcher proclaimed the first thanksgiving day in Kentucky on September 26, 1844. … Read More
1847 59 Years Old In 1847, he was one of four contenders for a seat in the U.S. Senate. … Read More


1848 60 Years Old Letcher was a strong supporter of Whig candidate Zachary Taylor in the 1848 presidential election. … Read More
Letcher arrived in Mexico City on February 3, 1850.
1851 63 Years Old Upon learning of the strong Mexican resistance to his proposed modifications, Webster instructed Letcher to negotiate the most favorable terms to which the Mexicans would agree. On January 25, 1851, Letcher signed a second treaty that was slightly more favorable to the Americans. … Read More
1852 64 Years Old 1 More Event
Letcher attempted to negotiate a new treaty to re-acquire the rights nullified by the Mexican government, but by February 14, 1852, he reported that he did not expect to be able to reach any kind of agreement.
Whigs were eager to avenge the loss in 1853, and Letcher wanted to be their candidate, but at their state convention, they chose Kentucky Attorney General James Harlan.
1856 68 Years Old …  During the 1856 presidential election, Letcher spoke on behalf of Millard Fillmore in Pennsylvania, New York, and Kentucky.
1857 69 Years Old In 1857 and 1858, he urged John J. Crittenden to oppose the Lecompton Constitution for Kansas.
1860 72 Years Old After the dissolution of the Whig Party, Letcher generally supported Know-Nothing candidates in state politics. Letcher and Crittenden both supported National Union candidate John Bell in the 1860 presidential election, believing he represented the best hope of peacefully resolving the tension between the north and south. … Read More
1861 73 Years Old 1 More Event
He died at his home in Frankfort on January 24, 1861, and was buried in Frankfort Cemetery. … Read More
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