Charles Stewart Todd

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Charles S. Todd, US Minister to Russia.

Colonel Charles Stewart Todd (January 22, 1791 – May 17, 1871) was an American military officer, government official and United States diplomat.

Todd was the son of Supreme Court Associate Justice Thomas Todd and his first wife, Elizabeth Harris. He was born near Danville, Kentucky, and continued to reside here through his childhood and adult life. Todd briefly attended Transylvania University before his transfer and graduation at the College of William and Mary in 1809. He briefly studied law with his father in Washington before attending Litchfield Law School. After his admission to the bar in 1811, he started his practice in Lexington, KY.

Shortly after, he volunteered in the War of 1812 where he was a subaltern and judge-advocate of General James Winchester's division in the War of 1812. In 1813, he was made a captain of infantry, and was an aide to General William Henry Harrison in the Battle of the Thames. In 1815, he became Inspector-General of the Michigan Territory under General Duncan McArthur who commissioned him with the rank of colonel. Shortly thereafter, Todd returned to Kentucky to establish a legal practice in the state capital of Frankfort where his diplomatic and political career began to expand. On June 18, 1816[1] he married the youngest of Governor Isaac Shelby's daughters, Letitia, with whom he had 12 children.

He served as a state representative in the years following his political establishment in Frankfort, and in 1817, he was appointed Secretary of State of Kentucky. In 1820, Todd was appointed a Confidential Agent to Gran Colombia, where he would remain until 1824. US. President James Monroe offered Todd a position to the secretaryship of the delegation to Colombia in 1823 but he declined the offer. Instead he went to retire in Shelby County, Kentucky where he worked on his farm and took up writing.

Todd came out of his retirement upon being appointed Minister to Russia.From 1841 to 1846 he served as the fifteenth United States Ambassador to Russia during the entirety of President Tyler's administration. He then went back to his retirement in 1846 and spent his time raising livestock and writing. He refused a later nomination for Governor of Kentucky, but remained politically active during Zachary Taylor's presidential campaign of 1848. He took interest in writing and in the state of Texas and its railroad system. He served as an editor of the Louisville Industrial and Commercial Gazette and the Cincinnati Republican.

Todd died in 1871 from pneumonia, in Baton Rouge, LA at the home of his son-in-law Judge Posey. He was buried at Rosehill Elmwood Cemetery in Owensboro, KY.


  1. ^ Jelsma, Sherry K. "The Making of Imperishable Honor: Charles S. Todd in the War of 1812." The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 105, no. 2 (2007): 195-227. Accessed August 2, 2021.
  • "Charles Stewart Todd". Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History. Vol. IX. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1905. p. 83.

This entry incorporates text from the public domain Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History, originally published in 1905.

  • "Charles Stewart Todd". The Ledger. Litchfield Historical Society.