|A Year of Indiana History - 2016|
William Henry Harrison resigned as governor of the Indiana Territory on December 28, 1812 to pursue a military career against the Amerindian tribes in the Northwest Territory. President James Madison appointed Thomas Posey governor on March 3, 1813, disappointing many members of the Indiana Territorial assembly who wanted the new governor to be a northerner that opposed slavery.
Thomas Posey (July 9, 1750 – March 19, 1818)
The details of Thomas Posey's parentage are uncertain. Historians know that he was native to a farm on the banks of the Potomac River near Mount Vernon. Rumors persist that he was the illegitimate son of George Washington, however no one has ever been able to either prove or disprove it. We know little of his early childhood except that George Washington Thomas enjoyed George Washington’s patronage as a child.
Education and Early Adulthood
His education was that of a typical pioneer child. His formal education, as such, was limited. At nineteen, he enlisted in the Virginia militia where he fought against the native tribes. When the Revolutionary War broke out, Posey enlisted in the Continental Army. His service included Valley Forge, the Battle of Monmouth, and siege of Yorktown.
After the War
Posey returned to Virginia after resigning from the army. He ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives in 1797 and reentered the Army as a Brigadier general. Disturbed by suspected malfeasance by General James Wilkinson, Posey resigned in 1794. As a reward for his military service, the United States Government awarded him 7000 acres of land. He chose land near Henderson, Kentucky and promptly gained election to the Kentucky State Senate in 1804. He ran for governor of Kentucky in 1808, but withdrew to support another candidate. He rejoined the army and successfully organized a 100,000-militia force gathered in preparation for a possible war with the French and British. He resigned his commission once again to move to Louisiana. The Louisiana governor appointed him to the United States Senate, where he served until 1813. During his term, he assisted the Acting Secretary of War.
New Governor of Indiana Territory
During the interim between Harrison's resignation and Posey taking the helm, the Territorial Assembly approved the move from Vincennes to Corydon. Posey's health was deteriorating during these years and he disliked the small town that now served as Indiana's capital. He spent most of his term living in Jeffersonville, near the Louisville doctors. The Legislature disapproved of his pro-slavery stance and considered him aristocratic. His opposition to statehood for the Indiana Territory in 1816 did not help him among those that favored it. The achievement of Statehood status for Indiana came with his opposition and most do not consider him instrumental to it in any way. His biggest achievement was the reorganization of the Territory's courts.
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning