Benjamin Flanders

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Benjamin F. Flanders
Benjamin Franklin Flanders.jpg
31st Mayor of New Orleans
In office
April 4, 1870 – November 29, 1872
Preceded by John R. Conway
Succeeded by Louis A. Wiltz
21st Governor of Louisiana
In office
June 8, 1867 – January 8, 1868
Lieutenant Albert Voorhies
Preceded by James M. Wells
Succeeded by Joshua Baker
Personal details
Born (1816-01-26)January 26, 1816
Bristol, New Hampshire
Died March 13, 1896(1896-03-13) (aged 80)
Lafayette Parish, Louisiana
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Susan H. Sawyer
Religion Episcopalian

Benjamin Franklin Flanders (January 26, 1816 – March 13, 1896) was appointed the 21st Governor of Louisiana during Reconstruction and was Mayor of New Orleans.

Early life[edit]

Flanders was born in Bristol, New Hampshire, on January 26, 1816. At the age of 26 he graduated from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

In January 1843 he moved to New Orleans and read law under Charles M. Emerson. The following year he left his study of the law to become a schoolteacher and principal. In 1845, Flanders became editor of New Orleans Tropic, a local newspaper, and in 1847 he married Susan H. Sawyer in Bristol, New Hampshire. They went on to have six children.

Political career[edit]

Flanders was elected an Alderman representing 3rd Municipal District of New Orleans from 1847 - 1852. In 1852, he was selected as the Secretary and Treasurer of the New Orleans, Opelousas and Great Western Railroad, a position he held until 1862. In 1861, he fled New Orleans, leaving his family behind, for having opposed secession. He made his way to Cairo, Illinois, Columbus, Ohio and eventually, to New York City. He did not return to New Orleans until April 1862, when the city was captured by Union troops. On July 20, he was appointed New Orleans City Treasurer and served until his election to Congress on December 12, 1862. He was elected along with Michael Hahn as at-large Representatives of Louisiana, defeating independent incumbent J. E. Bouligny. Flanders and Hahn were not seated in Congress until the last fifteen days of their terms in February 1863.[1]

On July 13, 1863, Flanders was made the Captain of Company C, 5th Regiment Louisiana Volunteers, a Union Army unit. He was honorably discharged in August, 1863, when he was appointed a Special Agent of the United States Treasury Department of the Southern Region by Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase. He held this position until 1866. While in office he made commissions while selling confiscated cotton.

In 1864, Flanders campaigned for Governor, running a weak third place behind Michael Hahn and Fellows. He became the first Supervising Special Agent of the Freedmen’s Bureau, Department of the Gulf. At the same time, he led the movement to create a local Republican Party in Louisiana. He formed the Friends of Universal Suffrage with other scalawags to promote black suffrage and to repeal the Louisiana black codes. The tension over the rights of freed slaves would esclate into riots in 1866.

In 1867, General Philip Sheridan, Commander of the 5th Military District, which included Louisiana and Texas, removed elected Governor James Madison Wells for not responding to the riots appropriately and for not advancing the rights of freed slaves. Sheridan appointed Flanders as Governor of Louisiana. About six months later, on January 1, 1868, Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, as the new military commander of Louisiana removed all radicals from state offices and Governor Flanders resigned on January 8 and was replaced by Joshua Baker who was appointed by General Hancock.

In 1870, Governor Henry C. Warmoth appointed Flanders the Mayor of New Orleans. He was later elected to a full two-year term as Mayor, serving until 1873. President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Flanders Assistant Treasurer of the United States in 1873. He ran unsuccessfully as a Republican candidate for Louisiana State Treasurer in 1888. Governor Flanders died at Ben Alva plantation in Lafayette Parish in 1896. He was interred at Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.

References[edit]

  1. ^ John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963, ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, pp. 133-134
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
J. E. Bouligny
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 1st congressional district

1863–1864
Succeeded by
vacant
Political offices
Preceded by
James M. Wells
Governor of Louisiana
1867–1868
Succeeded by
Joshua Baker