Salmon Portland Chase - Facts

January 13, 1808 - May 7, 1873

Key facts about Salmon P. Chase, the twenty-third Governor of Ohio, U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury during the Civil War, and sixth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Portrait of Salmon P. Chase

Serving as Secretary of the Treasury throughout most of the Civil War, Salmon P. Chase successfully managed the daunting task of maintaining the nation’s solvency while simultaneously financing the Union war effort. [Wikimedia Commons]

Birth Date:

  • January 13, 1808

Birth Location:

  • Cornish, New Hampshire


  • Ithmar Chase and Janet (Ralston) Chase


  • Dartmouth College (1826)


  • Lawyer
  • Politician

Career Summary:

  • Governor of Ohio
  • U.S. Senator
  • U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
  • Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court


  • Catherine Jane Garniss (1834)
  • Eliza Ann Smith, (1839)
  • Sarah Bella Dunlop Ludlow (1846)


  • Old Mister Greenbacks

Place of Death:

  • New York City

Date of Death:

  • May 7, 1873

Place of Burial:

  • Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio


  • Salmon P. Chase was the ninth of eleven children born to Ithmar Chase and Janet (Ralston) Chase.
  • When Ithmar Chase died in 1817, Janet Chase sent nine-year-old Salmon P. Chase to live with his uncle, Philander Chase, in Worthington, Ohio.
  • As a youth, Salmon P. Chase attended his uncle Philander Chase’s private school in Worthington, Ohio.
  • Salmon P. Chase graduated from Dartmouth College in 1826.
  • Salmon P. Chase studied law with William Wirt, the Attorney General of the United States from 1826-29.
  • Salmon P. Chase passed his bar exam and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1829.
  • Salmon P. Chase edited The Statutes of Ohio and of the Northwestern Territory, a three-volume reference work that greatly benefitted government officials and fellow attorneys.
  • Salmon P. Chase married the first of his three wives, Catherine Jane Garniss on March 4, 1834. Their marriage was cut short when she died on December 1, 1835, after giving birth to a daughter who died the next year.
  • Salmon P. Chase married his second wife, Eliza Ann Smith, on September 26, 1839. She gave birth to three daughters before passing away from tuberculosis on September 29, 1845. Only one of the three daughters (Katherine Jane “Kate” Chase) survived infancy.
  • Salmon P. Chase married his third wife, Sarah Bella Dunlop Ludlow, on November 6, 1846. She died of tuberculosis on January 13, 1852. Their marriage produced two daughters, only one of whom lived to adulthood (Janet Ralston Chase).
  • Following the death of his first wife, Salmon P. Chase rededicated himself to his religion and became actively engaged in the temperance and abolitionist movements.
  • Slavery supporters mockingly branded Salmon P. Chase the Attorney General of Fugitive Slaves because he defended fugitive slaves trying to escape prosecution under the Fugitive Slave Act. Unflinching in his principles, Chase proudly adopted the derogatory nickname.
  • Initially a member of the Whig Party, Salmon P. Chase won a seat on Cincinnati’s city council in 1840.
  • In 1841, Salmon P. Chase joined the newly-formed, anti-slavery Liberty Party.
  • In 1846, Salmon P. Chase finished a distant last out of four candidates in his bid to represent Ohio’s First District in the U.S. Congress.
  • In 1848, Salmon P. Chase supported the Liberty Party’s alliance with the “Barnburner” faction of New York Democrats to form the Free Soil Party.
  • Through his Free Soil contacts, Salmon P. Chase gradually emerged as a leading voice of abolitionists in Ohio.
  • On November 7, 1848, a coalition of Free Soilers and Democrats in the Ohio General Assembly elected Salmon P. Chase to a seat in the United States Senate.
  • Salmon P. Chase was one of the first abolitionist U.S. Senators not affiliated with either of the two major parties.
  • Chase served as a U.S. senator from March 4, 1849, to March 3, 1855, during the Thirty-first through the Thirty-Third Congresses.
  • Salmon P. Chase served as Ohio’s governor from January 14, 1856, to January 9, 1860.
  • Salmon P. Chase was Ohio’s first Republican governor.
  • Salmon P. Chase failed in his bid to win the Republican presidential nomination in 1860.
  • Salmon P. Chase served as a U.S. Senator from March 4-5, 1861, before accepting an appointment as U. S. Secretary of the Treasury.
  • Serving as Secretary of the Treasury throughout most of the Civil War, Salmon P. Chase successfully managed the daunting task of maintaining the nation’s solvency while simultaneously financing the Union war effort.
  • Salmon P. Chase had rocky relationships with President Abraham Lincoln and other cabinet members.
  • As an ardent abolitionist, Chase was not hesitant to support or join the chorus of critics among the Radical element of the Republican Party who disapproved of Lincoln’s seemingly lenient policies regarding the South.
  • President Abraham Lincoln accepted Salmon P. Chase’s resignation as Secretary of the Treasury on June 30, 1864.
  • Salmon P. Chase served as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from March 5, 1861, to June 30, 1864.
  • President Abraham Lincoln nominated Salmon P. Chase for the office of Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on December 4, 1864. The Senate confirmed the appointment the same day.
  • Salmon P. Chase served as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from December 15, 1864, until his death on May 7, 1873.
  • During the eight-and-one-half years of Salmon P. Chase’s leadership, the Supreme Court ruled on numerous cases focused on the constitutionality of Reconstruction policies.
  • Salmon P. Chase also presided at the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in 1868.
  • After switching allegiances to the Democratic Party, Salmon P. Chase made an ineffective bid to gain the party’s presidential nomination in 1868.
  • During the night of May 5-6, 1873, Salmon P. Chase suffered a stroke while sleeping at the home of his daughter, Janet “Nettie” Hoyt, on West Thirty-Third Street in New York City. After lingering for a day, he passed at 10:30 a.m. on May 7, 1873.
  • Salmon P. Chase was initially buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, D.C. In 1886, his remains were reinterred in Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio, alongside his three wives and five children.

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  • Article Title Salmon Portland Chase - Facts
  • Date January 13, 1808 - May 7, 1873
  • Author
  • Keywords Salmon Portland Chase
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date April 16, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 17, 2024