Geary, John White

Life Span
Full name
John White Geary
Place of Birth
Birth Date Certainty
Death Date Certainty
Sectional choice
Free State
No. of Spouses
No. of Children
Richard Geary (father), Margaret White (mother), Margaret Ann Logan (first wife, 1843), Mary Church Henderson (second wife, 1858)
Other Education
Jefferson College
Attorney or Judge
Church or Religious Denomination
Pierce Administration (1853-57)
Local government
US military (Pre-Civil War)
Union Army

John White Geary (American National Bibliography)

In July 1856 President Franklin Pierce appointed [John Geary] territorial governor of Kansas. By that date "Bleeding Kansas" had become the nation's most urgent issue, influencing the pending presidential election, as Democrats championed congressional noninterference with slavery and Republicans immediate admission under a free-state constitution, threatening the welfare of Geary's party and nation. Assured of the Pierce administration's support and determined to restore peace, Geary in September reached Kansas, where armed bands roved the territory, terrorizing settlers.

Within a few weeks Geary had substantially restored order, disbanding the proslavery militia, organizing a new one subject to his orders, and averting an attack on Lawrence, threatened by a force of proslavery men. The judicial system was a more difficult problem. The federal judges he deemed negligent and incompetent, the U.S. marshal wanting in courage and energy, the attorney general uncooperative. Geary's troubles with securing justice came to a head when Chief Justice Samuel Lecompte twice freed an accused murderer, the marshal refused to arrest the freed man, the U.S. Senate refused to confirm a judge nominated to replace Lecompte, and Secretary of War William L. Marcy asked that Geary explain his earlier condemnation of Lecompte.
James A. Rawley, "Geary, John White," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
Date Event
John White Geary officially takes up his position as Territorial Governor of Kansas
Union troops push back attacking Virginia units around Harpers Ferry near Pritchard's Mill on the Potomac
At Point of Rocks, Union troops on the Maryland side skirmish with Confederate units across the Potomac
Union artillery units shell Harpers Ferry in response to the reported abuse of a flag of truce
In Loudon County, Virginia, Pennsylvania infantry storm the streets of Middleburg and take the town
Pennsylvania troops reportedly use the machine gun in open combat for the first time in the war
- The Army of the Potomac concentrates on Chancellorsville in preparation for an attack on Lee
Union and Confederate armies collide near Chancellorsville in Spotsylvania County, Virginia
"Stonewall" Jackson's flanking movement seizes the initiative in the Battle of Chancellorsville
Lee's Army of Northern Virginia forces back entrenched Union forces at the Battle of Chancellorsville
- The beaten Union Army retreats across the Rappahannock, ending the Battle of Chancellorsville
Above Chattanooga, Tennessee, Union troops storm the Confederate positions on Lookout Mountain
Henry Wirz, former commandant of the Andersonville prison camp, goes on trial in Washington
- At the Capitol, the trial of Henry Wirz, former Andersonville prison commandant, continues in Washington
Henry Wirz, former commandant of the Andersonville prison camp, is executed in Washington, D.C.
More than a hundred general officers of volunteers are mustered out of the Union Army
Pennsylvania Democrats convene in Harrisburg, praise the president, nominate Hiester Clymer for governor
In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Republicans nominate former Union General John White Geary for governor
In Pennsylvania, General John W. Geary is elected governor as Republicans again dominate.
Chicago Style Entry Link
Geary, John White, William Alan Blair, and Bell Irvin Wiley. A Politician Goes to War: The Civil War Letters of John White Geary. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995. view record
Tinkcom, Harry Marlin. John White Geary: Soldier-Statesman, 1819-1873. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1940. view record
How to Cite This Page: "Geary, John White," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,