John Sherman  
  Born:  May 10, 1823  
  Died:  October 22, 1900  
  Buried:  Mansfield Cemetery Mansfield Richland County Ohio  
John Sherman, nicknamed "The Ohio Icicle" was a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Ohio during the Civil War and into the late nineteenth century. He served as both Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State and was the principal author of the Sherman Antitrust Act. His older brothers were Charles Taylor Sherman, a US Judge in Ohio, and General William Tecumseh Sherman of Civil War fame. His younger brother was banker Hoyt Sherman.

Early life

Sherman was born in Lancaster, Ohio, to Mary Hoyt Sherman and Charles Robert Sherman, a justice in the Ohio Supreme Court. When he died in 1829, John's mother was left with eleven children to take care of. His brother, William, went to live with Maria and Thomas Ewing who were friends of the Shermans.

Sherman was educated at common schools as well as an academy in Ohio, but left early to work as an engineer on canal projects. He later began studying law and was admitted to the bar in 1844. He became partners with his brother the same year and practiced out of Mansfield, Ohio. He married Margaret Sarah Stewart in 1848, the daughter of an Ohio judge.

Political career

After his marriage, Sherman took up an interest in politics. He was a delegate to the 1848 Whig National Convention which nominated General Zachary Taylor for the presidency and again to the 1852 Whig National Convention which nominated General Winfield Scott. In 1853, he moved to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1854, he was elected a Republican to the United States House of Representatives for Ohio's thirteenth district where he was the Republican candidate for Speaker in the long contest of 1859-60 and served as chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means from 1860 to 1861.

After Senator Salmon P. Chase resigned to become the Secretary of the Treasury, Sherman was elected to fill his seat. There, he served as chairman of the Committee on Agriculture from 1863 to 1867 and chairman of the Committee on Finance from 1863 to 1865 and again from 1867 to 1877. In 1877, newly elected President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Sherman Secretary of the Treasury. He served in the position through the entire Hayes administration, 1877 to 1881.

In 1880, he sought the Republican nomination for the presidency hoping to become a compromise candidate between Ulysses S. Grant and James G. Blaine, but lost it to his campaign manager James A. Garfield.

When his term as Treasury Secretary expired, Sherman was elected back to the Senate to fill the seat to which James A. Garfield was originally elected, Garfield having won election to the presidency that year. Sherman served as chairman of the Committee on the Library from 1881 to 1887, chairman of the Republican Conference from 1884 to 1885 and again from 1891 to 1897 and chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations from 1885 to 1893 and again from 1895 to 1897. He was also elected President pro tempore of the Senate from 1885 to 1887. Due to the death of Vice President Thomas A. Hendricks, Sherman was next in line for the presidency from December 1885 to January 1886. He ran for the presidency two more times, in 1884 and 1888, but again lost the bids, to James G. Blaine and Benjamin Harrison.

In 1890, Sherman wrote and introduced the Sherman Antitrust Act, the first United States Federal Government action to limit monopolies and thus the oldest of all antitrust laws in the United States. It was signed by President Benjamin Harrison that year.

In 1897, newly elected President William McKinley appointed Sherman Secretary of State. Selected more for his high standing inside the Republican Party than any diplomatic experience, Sherman proved to be ineffective in the position and in 1898, McKinley replaced Sherman with Assistant Secretary of State William R. Day.


Sherman retired from public life after resigning as Secretary of State. He died in Washington, D.C. after a lingering illness and was interred in Mansfield City Cemetery in Mansfield, Ohio, with his wife, Margaret.

My Source:   wikipedia

Find A Grave Biography 

US Senator, Presidential Cabinet Secretary. He served forty years in public service. His broad career touched many facets of the American political scene from elective office to Congress, the Senate and high Cabinet appointments as Secretary of the Treasury and then Secretary of State.

His accomplishments were many but he was always overshadowed by his famous brother William. He was born in Lancaster, Ohio to Judge Charles Robert Sherman and Mary Hoyt Sherman, the eighth child in the family that would eventually number eleven children, six sons and five daughters. When John was six, his father died while on circuit holding court. Mary, left with no income to support this large family relied on friends and family to help raise her children. From the age of eight, he was past around to various relatives for his upbringing. His schooling was at the Homer Academy in Lancaster.

When seventeen, John followed the family tradition and pursued his goal of becoming a lawyer. He lived with his older lawyer brother Charles, who practiced in Mansfield, Ohio and studied law under him. At twenty one, he passed the Ohio Bar Exam and began a practice in Mansfield while marrying the only daughter of a prominent Mansfield Judge, Margaret Sara Stewart. Better opportunity lured him to Cleveland where he became active in politics resulting in election to the United States House of Representatives. John found his way to the U.S. Senate and during the Civil War was a staunch supporter of Lincoln and the Union.

He helped organize a brigade of volunteers from Mansfield and contemplated resigning his office to enlist in the Union army, but President Lincoln convinced him that his services as a politician would greater serve the union. He resigned to accept the nomination of President Hayes as Secretary of the Treasury. During his tenure, he instituted many reforms which had an impact on national finance. With President Hayes out of office, Shermans position as secretary was also over. He was soon back in the political arena with election to the Senate and responsible for the passage of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act which attempted to curb the growth of monopolies. This legislation authorized the federal government to break up any business that prohibited competition. The federal government has utilized this new power often in the past to break up monopolies including that of the Standard Oil Company in 1911.

Senator Sherman sought the Republican nomination to the presidency in 1880, 1884 and 1888 but failed. This was a great disappointment to him and a sharp contrast between him and his famous brother General Sherman who was sought after by both the Republican and Democrat parties but refused because of his great distaste for politics.

He resigned the Senate to take the Cabinet post Secretary of State during the administration of President McKinley but quickly resigned in 1898 because he opposed the administration's decision to go to war with Spain. Sherman retired in poor health to private life and resided in Washington.

Infirmities and health problems mounted resulting in his death. His remains were transferred back to Mansfield for burial. Legacy...The Sherman House in Lancaster, Ohio is owned and operated by the Fairfield Heritage Association. It is a Registered National Landmark commemorating the two Sherman brothers, William and John who were born in this house. Henry Clay and Daniel Webster were guests in the dwelling. Judge Charles Sherman's study and the family parlor are maintained in a near perfect condition. On the second floor, is a recreation of General Sherman's field tent with Civil War exhibits and a room full of family memorabilia which features the family album quilt. The senator penned the book "Recollections of Forty Years in the House, Senate and Cabinet: an Autobiography" and it was published in 1895.

My Source:  Biography by: Donald Greyfield