History & Tourism, Literary Mansfield

Literary Mansfield Part Four: The Statesman

5 Aug , 2017  

Today we look at a work of non-fiction by a leading political figure of the 19th century.

Mansfield has been able to boast of several statesmen and stateswomen in its history, two of which rose to the level of United States Senator from Ohio. One of the two holders of that title, Sherrod Brown, is a graduate of Mansfield Senior; 150 years ago, another Mansfielder had that distinction.

Much has been written of John Sherman’s career, though no thorough biography of the man has been written to date. That is unfortunate, as Sherman had a unique career in public service that took place over extraordinary years in American history. He also was an integral part of the civic and cultural life of Mansfield from its days as a quiet county seat town to the booming industrial center of the late 19th century.

Among his many achievements were these:

  • Member of the US House of Representatives, 1855-1861
  • US Senator from Ohio, 1861-1877 and again from 1881-1897 (total of 32 years)
  • US Secretary of the Treasury, 1877-1881
  • US Secretary of State, 1897-1898

It is likely that John Sherman is most closely identified with the Sherman Antitrust Act, the piece of anti-monopolistic legislation which bears his name.

Sherman first moved to Mansfield in 1840, when the community had a population of only 1,328. His brother Charles, then a member of the Richland County Bar, allowed him to “read” the law; he became licensed to practice in 1844. Sherman married the daughter of Judge James Stewart, a jurist said to be “will versed in the classics and with a comprehensive knowledge of human nature.”

Throughout his career, John Sherman remained connected to Mansfield and maintained a large home here. At this death, his body was returned home for services at Grace Episcopal Church attended by President William McKinley and burial in Mansfield Cemetery.

In 1895, John Sherman’s Autobiography was published. Entitled, “John Sherman’s Recollections of Forty Years in the House, Senate, and Cabinet.” Included are early photographs of Mansfield. The 600-plus page work is available for free reading on Google Books at this link. Many Mansfield references and images are included in the autobiography.

Sources: Wikipedia, Google Books


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