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William Pitt Kellogg

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Title: William Pitt Kellogg  
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Subject: Stephen B. Packard, Chester Bidwell Darrall, Huey Long, Battle of Liberty Place, Governors of Louisiana
Collection: 1830 Births, 1918 Deaths, American Lawyers, Burials at Arlington National Cemetery, Governors of Louisiana, Illinois Republicans, Louisiana Republicans, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Louisiana, Nebraska Republicans, People from Fulton County, Illinois, People from Orwell, Vermont, People from Peoria, Illinois, People of Vermont in the American Civil War, Politicians from Peoria, Illinois, Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Republican Party State Governors of the United States, Republican Party United States Senators, Union Army Colonels, United States Senators from Louisiana, Washington, D.C. Republicans
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William Pitt Kellogg

William Pitt Kellogg
United States Senator
from Louisiana
In office
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1883
Preceded by Joseph R. West
Succeeded by Randall L. Gibson
In office
July 9, 1868 – November 1, 1872
Preceded by John Slidell
Succeeded by James B. Eustis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1883 – March 4, 1885
Preceded by Chester Bidwell Darrall
Succeeded by Edward James Gay
26th Governor of Louisiana
In office
May 22, 1873 – January 8, 1877
Lieutenant Caesar Antoine
Preceded by John McEnery
Succeeded by Stephen B. Packard
Personal details
Born (1830-12-08)December 8, 1830
Orwell, Vermont
Died August 10, 1918(1918-08-10) (aged 87)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Republican

William Pitt Kellogg (December 8, 1830 – August 10, 1918) was an American lawyer and Republican Party politician who served as a United States Senator from 1868 to 1872 and from 1877 to 1883 and as the Governor of Louisiana from 1873 to 1877 during the Reconstruction Era. He was one of the most important politicians in Louisiana during and immediately after Reconstruction, notable for being elected after most other Republican officials had been defeated when white Democrats regained control of state politics. Kellogg is also notable as one of few incumbent Senators to be elected to the House of Representatives, where he served from 1883 to 1885. He was the last Republican Governor of Louisiana until Dave Treen in 1980.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Early life and education

Kellogg was born in Orwell in Addison County in western Vermont near the New York boundary, where he spent his childhood.[1] After completing his education in the common schools, he moved to Peoria, Illinois, at the age of eighteen and was a school teacher for several years. His fifth cousin William Kellogg lived in the area and served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1857 to 1863.[1]


Kellogg became a lawyer, likely "reading the law" and studying with practicing lawyers, as was typical for many then. He moved to Canton, Illinois and started a practice. There he joined the Republican Party and eventually came to know Abraham Lincoln, a fellow lawyer. When Lincoln became President in 1861, he appointed Kellogg as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Nebraska Territory. Kellogg moved to Nebraska and started in the position.[1]

With the outbreak of the American Civil War, Kellogg was granted a leave of absence and he returned to Illinois and joined the 7th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Cavalry. By 1862, he had risen to the rank of Colonel and played an important role at a small battle near Sikeston, Missouri. Kellogg resigned because of ill health on June 1, 1862. He then returned to Nebraska and resumed his work as Chief Justice. After the Civil War, Kellogg was elected as a companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

In 1865, at the end of the Civil War, days before his assassination, Lincoln appointed Kellogg as the federal collector of customs of the port of New Orleans. This launched Kellogg's 20-year political career in Louisiana, notable as he was one of the first carpetbaggers.[1] He remained Collector of New Orleans until 1868, when he was appointed to the United States Senate. That year "reconstructed" Louisiana was readmitted to the federal Union.

In 1872, Kellogg ran on the Republican ticket and was elected Governor. He resigned from the Senate to take office. In the election, John McEnery, a Democrat, ran against Kellogg. The sitting Governor Henry Clay Warmoth, although a Republican, opposed the Republican Party faction that was loyal to President Ulysses S. Grant, who was supporting Kellogg. Warmoth supported McEnery.

Former Confederate Assistant Secretary of War John Archibald Campbell was involved in the controversy surrounding Kellogg. He was a member of the “Committee of One Hundred” that went to Washington to persuade President Grant to end his support of what they called the “Kellogg usurpation”. Grant initially refused to meet them but later relented. Campbell stated the case before Grant but was refused.[2]

The results of the election were disputed by the Democrats. The politics of the state was in turmoil for months, as both candidates held inauguration celebrations, certified their local candidate slates and tried to gather political power. Political tensions broke out in violence, including the Colfax Massacre in April 1873. As Governor, Warmoth controlled the State Returning Board, the institution which administered elections. With the election challenged, Warmoth's board named McEnery the winner. A rival board claimed Kellogg to be the victor.

Warmoth was impeached for allegedly stealing the election. A black Republican, P. B. S. Pinchback, became Governor for 35 days until Grant seated Kellogg as Governor with Federal protection. McEnery's faction established a "rump legislature" in New Orleans to oppose Kellogg's actions. McEnery urged his supporters to take up arms against Kellogg's fraudulent government. In 1874 the anti-Republican White League sent 5,000 paramilitary men into New Orleans, where in the Battle of Liberty Place, they defeated the 3500-man Metropolitan Police and state militia. They took over the state government offices for a few days but retreated before the arrival of federal troops sent as reinforcements. President Grant had finally sent U.S. troops in response to Kellogg's request for help.[3]

Kellogg's lieutenant governor was Caesar Antoine, an African-American native of New Orleans. He had been a State Senator from Shreveport before running as lieutenant governor. Despite the intense backlash against the Republican Party among white Democrats in the South, Kellogg was elected to the United States Senate in 1876. He served in the Senate until 1883. He did not seek re-election, for his party was too weak in the South to be competitive. He was the chairman of the Senate Committee on Railroads from 1881 to 1883.

Kellogg was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1882, defeating the incumbent Democrat Chester Bidwell Darrall and served one term from 1883 to 1885. He was defeated for re-election in 1884 by Edward James Gay. He continued to live in Washington, D.C., but retired from political life. He died in Washington and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Kellogg was one of the most important politicians in Louisiana during and immediately after Reconstruction. He was able to maintain power for much longer than most Republican elected officials who had come to the area from the North. He is also notable as one of few Senators to be elected to the House of Representatives immediately after leaving the Senate. The late Claude Pepper, a 20th-century Florida Democrat, was similarly elected to the House after having served in the Senate. But, he did not begin his long House tenure until 12 years after the end of his Senate service.


  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^ The Ouachita Telegraph. "Death of a Great Jurist." March 12, 1889: 1.
  3. ^ State of Louisiana - Biography

External links

  • Louisiana Governor (1873-1877 : Kellogg), Louisiana Governor, 1873-1877 (W.P. Kellogg), William Pitt Kellogg, Louisiana, Governor 1873-1877 : Kellogg (1873). Annual Message of His Excellency Governor Wm. Pitt Kellogg, to the General .... Printed at the Republican office.  – Google Books full online browsing copy
  • State of Louisiana - Biography
  • Cemetery Memorial by La-Cemeteries
United States Senate
Preceded by
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Louisiana
Served alongside: John S. Harris, Joseph R. West
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Joseph R. West
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Louisiana
Served alongside: James B. Eustis, Benjamin F. Jonas
Succeeded by
Randall L. Gibson
Political offices
Preceded by
John McEnery
Governor of Louisiana
Succeeded by
Stephen B. Packard
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Chester Bidwell Darrall
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Edward James Gay
Notes and references
1. Because Louisiana seceded from the Union in 1861, seat was vacant from 1861-1868 when John Slidell withdrew from the Senate.
2. Seat contested until 1876 when James B. Eustis was elected.
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