Ewing, William L. D.

Born: 1795-08-31 Paris, Kentucky

Died: 1846-03-25 Springfield, Illinois

Flourished: Vandalia, Illinois

Ewing studied law and was admitted to the bar in Kentucky before moving to Shawneetown, Illinois, in 1818. In 1820, President James Monroe appointed him receiver of public moneys at Vandalia. In the Black Hawk War, he served as the colonel of a "spy battalion." In 1827, Ewing married Caroline L. Berry in Fayette County, Illinois. Voters elected Ewing to the Illinois Senate in 1832, and he was chosen as speaker of the Senate in 1834. Later that year, when both the governor and lieutenant governor resigned to take seats in Congress, Ewing became acting governor for fifteen days, resuming his seat in the Senate after the new governor was inaugurated. In 1835, the Illinois legislature elected Ewing to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, where he served until losing a re-election bid in 1837. Ewing served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1838 to 1842, where he was chosen as speaker of the House over Abraham Lincoln. In 1843, the legislature elected him auditor of public accounts. In 1830, Ewing owned two enslaved persons, and in 1840 his household included one free person of color.

Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 1011; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Fayette County, 3 May 1827, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Robert P. Howard, Mostly Good and Competent Men (Springfield, IL: Sangamon State University, 1988), 57-59; U.S. Census Office, Fifth Census of the United States (1830), Fayette County, IL, 236; U.S. Census Office, Sixth Census of the United States (1840), Fayette County, IL, 160; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 2 April 1846, 2:6.