John B. Weller

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For the Anglican missionary bishop, see John Weller (bishop). For the manager of the British rock group The Jam, see Paul Weller (singer).
John B. Weller
John B Weller by William F Cogswell, 1879.jpg
Portrait of Weller by William F. Cogswell
5th Governor of California
In office
January 8, 1858 – January 9, 1860
Lieutenant John Walkup
Preceded by J. Neely Johnson
Succeeded by Milton Latham
United States Senator
from California
In office
March 4, 1851 – March 3, 1857
Preceded by John C. Frémont
Succeeded by David C. Broderick
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1839 – March 3, 1845
Preceded by Francis A. Cunningham
Succeeded by David Fisher
Personal details
Born (1812-02-22)February 22, 1812
Montgomery, Ohio
Died August 17, 1875(1875-08-17) (aged 63)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Political party Lecompton Democrat
Spouse(s) G. W. Staunton
Alma mater Miami University
Profession Ambassador, lawyer, politician

John B. Weller (February 22, 1812 – August 17, 1875) was the fifth governor of California from January 8, 1858 to January 9, 1860 and a congressman from Ohio, U.S. senator from California, and minister to Mexico.


Weller was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, and attended the public schools and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He then studied law, was admitted to the bar and practiced in Butler County, Ohio. He was prosecuting attorney of Butler County from 1833 until 1836.

He 1838 he was elected as a Democrat from Ohio to the 26th-, 27th- and 28th Congresses, serving from 1839 until 1845.

He served in the 1st Regiment of Ohio Volunteers as a Lieutenant Colonel during Mexican-American War from 1846 until 1847, and then was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Governor of Ohio in 1848, a bitterly fought campaign, and the only disputed election for Ohio Governor of the 19th century. A select joint committee of the Ohio General Assembly finally established January 22, 1849 that Weller lost by 311 votes to Whig Seabury Ford.[1]

John B. Weller

In 1849 and 1850 he was a member of the commission to establish the boundary line between California and Mexico. After a scandal, he was removed from the commission by President Zachary Taylor. He then moved to California and practiced law. Somehow recovering from the scandal, Weller entered politics in California. He was elected as a Democrat from California to the United States Senate for the term commencing March 4, 1851, and served from January 30, 1852, to March 3, 1857, but was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection. During the 34th Congress he was chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Military Affairs. He was then elected Governor of California and served 1858 to 1860. As Governor, he intended to make California an independent republic if the North and South divided over slavery, and he personally led an assault on San Quentin Prison to take back possession of it from a commercial contractor.[2]

After leaving the state house, he was appointed Ambassador to Mexico in 1860 and was recalled in 1861. He moved to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1867 and continued the practice of law.

He died in New Orleans in 1875. Original interment was at Laurel Hill Cemetery in San Francisco. His remains were moved to Girod Street Cemetery. That burying ground was destroyed in 1959 and unclaimed remains were commingled with 15,000 others and deposited beneath Hope Mausoleum, St. John's Cemetery, New Orleans.

Weller's father-in-law, John A. Bryan, was a U.S. diplomat. His brother-in-law, Charles Henry Bryan, was a California State Senator.



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