Edward Tiffin


Edward Tiffin

Edward Tiffin (June 19, 1766ndash August 9, 1829) was a Democratic-Republican politician from Ohio, and the first Governor of the state.

Sources indicate that he was born in Carlisle, England; however he may have been born in or near Workington, England. He emigrated with his parents and siblings to Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1791, and opened a medical practice. Tiffin headed westward, along with Thomas Worthington, in 1798, settling in Chillicothe, Ohio.

He arrived with a letter addressed to the governor of the Northwest Territory, Arthur St. Clair from George Washington, recommending him for public office. Tiffin served as the Speaker of the Territorial House of Representatives from 1799–1801 and as president of the 1802 Constitutional Convention. He was a leader of the Chillicothe Junto, a group of Chillicothe Democratic-Republican politicians who brought about the admission of Ohio as a state in 1803 and largely controlled its politics for some years thereafter. Among his colleagues in the faction were Thomas Worthington and Nathaniel Massie.

Tiffin was the obvious choice for the governorship when Ohio was admitted to the Union. He was elected almost without opposition to a first term and re-elected by similarly overwhelming numbers two years later.

Tiffin was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1806 and resigned the governorship in March 1807 to take his seat. He served only two years, however, resigning after the death of his wife. He spent only a few months at home, however, before being elected to the Ohio House of Representatives, where he served as speaker from 1809–11. Tiffin became the first commissioner of the General Land Office, which managed allocations of Federal lands.

He quickly helped remove the Federal records from Washington before it was sacked during the War of 1812. In 1814, he became the Surveyor General of the Northwest Territory, exchanging positions with Josiah Meigs so that he might spend more time near his home in Chillicothe. Tiffin served in the post until a few weeks before his death.

The city of Tiffin in northwestern Ohio is named after him.

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