Moulton, Samuel W.

Born: 1823-01-20 Hamilton, Massachusetts

Died: 1905-06-03 Shelbyville, Illinois

Samuel W. Moulton attended primary schools in Hamilton, Massachusetts. As a young man, he taught school near Lexington, Kentucky, and in Mississippi. In 1844, Moulton married Mary H. Affleck in Mississippi. In the following year, the Moultons moved to Coles County, Illinois, where Samuel studied law. In 1847, the Illinois Supreme Court admitted Moulton to the bar, and he began his practice in Sullivan. Moulton moved to Shelbyville in 1850. In 1853, voters elected Moulton as a Democrat for the first of three consecutive terms in the Illinois House of Representatives. As chairman of the House Committee on Education, he drafted and helped pass Illinois’ first free school legislation in 1853. In 1855, Moulton helped secure passage of legislation that chartered the Illinois State Normal University, for the education of teachers. He was president of the Illinois State Board of Education, from 1859 to 1876. Moulton was a presidential elector for James Buchanan in 1856. In 1864, Moulton won election, as a Republican, to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving until 1867.

The Shelbyville Democrat (IL), 8 June 1905, 1:2-3; The Biographical Encyclopaedia of Illinois of the Nineteenth Century (Philadelphia: Galaxy, 1875), 491-92; John M. Palmer, ed., The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent (Chicago: Lewis, 1899), 1:459-61; Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 1564. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.