History of Kentucky Governors

Kentucky Governors and Elections

GEORGE MADISON--KY's 6th Governor

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(1763-1816)

                George Madison ran unopposed when he was elected Governor in 1816 after serving over 20 years as Kentucky’s State Auditor having been originally appointed at the end of Isaac Shelby’s first term.

            Madison is best known for being the first Kentucky Governor to die in office.  George Madison was ill when he was sworn into office while at Blue Licks on September 5, 1816 and died on October 14, 1816 a little over one month into his term of office.  Madison’s only official action was to appoint Isaac Shelby’s son-in-law Charles Todd Secretary of State.

            George Madison was born in Virginia and was a second cousin to President James Madison. Prior to his election as governor, George Madison served with distinction in the Revolutionary War.  He fought in the Indian wars in the Old Northwest, being severely wounded in the Battle of the Wabash in November 1791.  He served in the War of 1812.  After the Battle of Frenchtown, Madison was taken prisoner and held by the British in for over a year.  It has been thought that the poor conditions while being held as a POW in Canada contributed to his ill health and eventual death.

            Madison Avenue in Covington, KY was named in his honor.

            Madison was succeeded by his Lt. Governor Gabriel Slaughter. 

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