Gabriel Slaughter


1767 – 1830

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Who was Gabriel Slaughter?

Gabriel Slaughter was the seventh Governor of Kentucky and was the first person to ascend to that office upon the death of the sitting governor. His family moved to Kentucky from Virginia when he was very young. He became a member of the Kentucky militia, serving throughout his political career. He received a citation from the state legislature in recognition of his service at the Battle of New Orleans.

After spending a decade in the state legislature, Slaughter was elected the fourth Lieutenant Governor, serving under Charles Scott. With the War of 1812 looming at the end of his tenure, Slaughter ran for governor against Isaac Shelby, the state's first governor and a noted military leader. Shelby beat Slaughter soundly. Four years later, Slaughter was again elected as lieutenant governor, serving under George Madison.

Madison died a short time into his term, whereupon Slaughter became acting governor. He sought to be sworn in as governor, but public sentiment turned against him when he replaced Shelby's son-in-law with John Pope as Secretary of State. Pope was an unpopular figure in Kentucky and, after his appointment, some in the General Assembly began to call for a special election to replace Slaughter. The measure did not pass, but Slaughter was never able to shed the title of "acting governor." Following his term as governor, Slaughter became a Baptist lay minister and served on the first board of trustees of Georgetown College. He died September 19, 1830 and was buried in his family's cemetery.

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Dec 12, 1767
Culpeper County
  • Baptists
  • United States of America
Sep 19, 1830
Mercer County

on July 23, 2013


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