Happy 200th Birthday, John Sherman!

Today, May 10th, marks a milestone: the 200th birthday of John Sherman, a monumental figure in the history of Mansfield.

John Sherman was born in Lancaster, Ohio, on 10 May 1823, in the same house as his brother William Tecumseh Sherman, who would become one of the most notable generals of the U.S. Civil War. John Sherman would go on to study law in Mansfield, and have a career of more than 40 years in the federal government, including appointments as Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State.

Scroll through this post for a timeline of Sherman’s life!


John Sherman is born in Lancaster to Charles Robert and Mary (Hoyt) Sherman, as the eighth of their eleven children.

Charles would pass away when John was only six years old.

John Sherman at 19 years old


John moves to Mansfield to begin studying law with his oldest brother, Charles Taylor Sherman.

Charles Taylor Sherman


John Sherman marries Margaret Cecelia Stewart, the daughter of a local judge. She had been raised in Mansfield, and then attended the Granville Female College and the Patapsco Institute of Maryland.

Margaret Cecelia Sherman
John Sherman at 23
Sherman’s first home in Mansfield

1854: Elected to the House of Representatives

In 1860, Sherman is elected to the House for the third time. He falls short of being elected Speaker of the House by 3 votes, and instead is chosen to be the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

1861: Elected to the Senate

In 1861, Ohio Senator Salmon P. Chase is chosen by newly-elected President Abraham Lincoln to serve as Secretary of the Treasury. John Sherman is selected to take his place in the Senate

During this time, the conflicts that would erupt into the Civil War were escalating. As a member of first the House and then the Senate, Sherman was well aware of the situation, and he also corresponds with his brother, William Tecumseh Sherman, about it.

John Sherman’s house in Mansfield, beginning in 1867.


Sherman is re-elected to the Senate for his first full term. He becomes the chairman of the Finances Committee.

Also in 1867, Sherman travels through Europe during the Senate recess. During this trip, he is invited to dine with Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte III of France at the Tuileries.


John Sherman introduces a Concurrent Resolution before the Senate to encourage Congress to fund the completion of the Washington Monument, construction of which had halted in 1848 due to lack of funds. The resolution passes, and on 2 August 1876 President Ulysses S. Grant signs a law appropriating funds for the completion of the Monument.


Rutherford B. Hayes is elected president, and selects John Sherman as his Secretary of the Treasury.


Sherman is elected to the Senate for the fourth time.

In the spring, he also receives the honorary degree Doctor of Law from Kenyon College.


In February, John Sherman serves as the chairman of the dedication ceremonies for the Washington Monument.

In December, Sherman is elected President Pro Tempore of the Senate.


1890 marked the passage of Sherman’s signature legislation, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The act was the first federal legislation that addressed trusts and monopolies. The law was used as the basis of anti-trust suits against many companies over the years, including Standard Oil, General Electric, AT&T, and Microsoft.

The Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Photo from the National Archives.


Sherman is selected to become President William McKinley’s Secretary of State.


Sherman resigns his post as Secretary of State and retires to Mansfield.

John Sherman with his grandson, John Sherman McCallum


On October 22, John Sherman dies in Washington, D.C. A large funeral was held in D.C. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, and then his body was brought back to Mansfield to be buried with Cecelia, who had died in January from a stroke, in Mansfield Cemetery.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s