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Montana Territorial Governor Preston Leslie Signed Check 1887 Very Rare For Sale
This old and wonderful check which is signed by Territorial Governor, Preston Leslie..
Preston Hopkins Leslie(March 8, 1819 – February 7, 1907) was the26thGovernor of Kentuckyfrom 1871 to 1875 andterritorial governor of Montanafrom 1887 to 1889. He ascended to the office of governor by three different means. First, he succeeded Kentucky governorJohn W. Stevensonupon the latter's resignation to accept a seat in theUnited States Senatein 1871. Later that year, he was elected to a full term as governor, defeatingJohn Marshall Harlanin the general election. Finally, he was appointed territorial governor byPresidentGrover Cleveland.
Leslie was aConfederatesympathizer during theCivil War, but began to adopt a moreprogressiveposition during his gubernatorial campaign against Harlan. Though he opposed ratification of he used his influence as governor to effect passage of laws admitting the testimony ofblacksin court and providing for an educational system for recently-freed slaves. He also helped quell violence perpetrated by theKu Klux Klanin many areas of the state.
As territorial governor of Montana, Leslie quickly drew the ire of the press for his pro-temperanceposition. The territory'spolitical machineryalso turned against him, and he was removed from office by PresidentBenjamin Harrison. When Grover Cleveland succeeded Harrison for a second term in office, he appointed Lesliedistrict attorneyfor Montana. Leslie continued to practice law well into his eighties, and was being considered for a district court judgeship in Montana when he fell ill withpneumoniaand died on February 7, 1907, at the age of 87.
Preston Leslie was born inClinton County, Kentucky(then a part ofWayne County), on March 8, 1819. He was the second son of Vachel H. and Sarah Hopkins Leslie. He was educated in the public schools, then studied law under Judge Rice Maxey. He worked with his father on the family farm until 1835, and supported himself by doing odd jobs including driving astagecoach, running a ferry, and being store clerk.Leslie was admitted to thebaron October 10, 1840, and served as the deputy clerk of the Clinton County courts. In 1841, he relocated toTompkinsville, Kentucky, where he worked as a farmer. He becamecounty attorneyofMonroe Countyin 1842.
On November 11, 1841, Leslie married Louisa Black; they had seven children. Louisa died on August 9, 1858. Leslie married the widowed Mary Maupin Kuykendall on November 17, 1859, fathering three more children.Mary Leslie died September 3, 1900.Political career[edit source|editbeta]
Leslie began his political career by being elected as aWhigto theKentucky House of Representativesin 1844. He was defeated for a seat in thestate Senatein 1846 by a single vote. He continued serving in the House until 1850, when he won election to the Senate representing Monroe andBarrencounties. He then served in the Senate until 1855.In the 1850s, the Whig Party gradually faded in Kentucky, and Leslie became aDemocrat.He declined nominations for a seats in theUnited States Congressand on theKentucky Court of Appeals, preferring instead to work on his farm.In 1859, he moved toGlasgow, Kentucky, in Barren County.
By 1861, Leslie had built up a prosperous estate and added a plot of land in Texas to his holdings in Kentucky. In December of that year, he and his eldest son traveled to the property with 26 slaves and a large part of the family's possessions. After establishing his household, Leslie returned to Kentucky and left the Texas estate in the care of his son.
Leslie's feelings were mixed on the issues central to theCivil War. Known as a "strong Union man" prior to the war, his sympathies switched to thesouthern causeonce the war began. Nevertheless, he believed the South should solve its differences with the North through diplomatic means, and did not favor the idea ofsecession. He kept a low political profile and refused military service for either side. He returned to the state Senate from 1867 to 1871, serving aspresidentof that body from 1869 to 1871.Governor of Kentucky[edit source|editbeta]
On February 13, 1871, GovernorJohn W. Stevensonresigned his post to accept a seat in theU.S. Senate. Stevenson had ascended to the governorship on the death ofJohn L. Helm, and had nolieutenant governor. As president of the Senate, Leslie was theex-officiolieutenant governor, and next in line to succeed Stevenson.A gubernatorial election was already scheduled later in 1871, and Leslie was among several nominees put forward by the Democrats.Because of Leslie's opposition to his candidacy was opposed byHenry Watterson, founder of the powerfulLouisville Courier-Journal.Despite this, Leslie emerged from a field of Democratic candidates that included future governorsJohn Y. BrownandJ. Proctor Knottand formerConfederate governorRichard Hawes.John G. Carlislewas chosen as Leslie'srunning mate, and was declared by one commentator to be "by odds, the ablest man on theticket".Leslie's opposition to theSouthern Railroadbill while serving in the state senate proved a liability with some voters in his own party.Because of his southern sympathies, he was also opposed by the more progressive "New Departure" wing of his party.Nevertheless, he enjoyed support from theBourbon Democratsin the state, as well as the state's tobacco interests and theLouisville and Nashville Railroad.
During the campaign, Leslie's opponentRepublicanJohn Marshall Harlanwas blasted as a "politicalweathercock" for having changed his stance on many issues.In one joint debate, Leslie quoted anantebellumspeech wherein Harlan had called the Republican platform "revolutionary, and if carried out, would result in the destruction of our free government."Harlan admitted his inconsistent stands, declaring that he would rather be right than consistent.Meanwhile, Leslie began moving closer to the "New Departure" wing of his party during the course of the campaign.Ultimately, Leslie's supporters deemed him "sober, conservative, and safe", and this perception enabled him to defeat Harlan by a considerable margin in the first election in whichblackswere allowed to vote.
Leslie laid out an aggressive legislative agenda in his inaugural address to theGeneral Assemblyon September 5, 1871, but legislators were more concerned with passing the Southern Railroad bill that would create a connection between the railroads ofCincinnati, Ohio, and those of the Southern United States. The line would pass through central Kentucky, opening up trade to the region. It would be funded primarily by capital fromOhio, and would provide competition to the Louisville and Nashville Railroad's monopoly in the state. Though Leslie wasn't particularly supportive of the bill, he refused to veto it because of the potential economic benefits to the state.Leslie was also faced with the issue of post-war violence by theKu Klux Klan.The legislature had refused to pass a law against mob violence in 1871.In his address to the legislature on December 6, 1871, Leslie endorsed legislation that made it illegal to write or post threatening notices and to band together and wear disguises.This proposal enjoyed favorable public opinion, and was passed during the legislature's next session.With the railroad and violence issues resolved, Governor Leslie urged the legislature to improve the status of blacks in the state, including the creation of an educational system for blacks and the approval of the testimony of blacks in the state's courts. He commissioned a new geological survey, appointing native KentuckianNathaniel Southgate Shalerto head the work. An advocate of thetemperance movement, he secured additional regulations on the sale of liquor. Also during Leslie's tenure, the penal system was improved.
DevoutBaptists, Governor and Mrs. Leslie were given a silver service set at the expiration of his term by theGood Templarsof Kentucky for their charity to the needy.Following his term in office, Leslie was elected to serve on theGlasgowcircuit court, a position he held for six years, beginning in 1881. He failed in a re-election offer in 1886 by four votes.Governor of Montana[edit source|editbeta]
In 1887,PresidentGrover Clevelandappointed Leslie to be theTerritorial Governor of Montana.Cleveland made the appointment on the recommendation of John Marshall Harlan, Leslie's opponent in the Kentucky gubernatorial election of 1871, who was now serving as anAssociate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.Leslie soon ran afoul of the local press, who labeled him the "Coldwater Governor" for his stands in favor of temperance. The press's opinion of him further dimmed when he pardoned a prostitute convicted of grandlarcenybecause the penitentiary was not equipped to accommodate women. He urged the territorial legislature to enact fiscal reforms and improve facilities for the insane and the incarcerated, but he was no match for thepolitical machineryinMontana Territory. His 1889pocket vetoof an appointment bill supported by the legislature was the final straw; under pressure from Republicans, PresidentBenjamin Harrisonreplaced Leslie as territorial governor.
Meanwhile in Kentucky, thestate treasurer,"Honest Dick" Tate, had absconded with nearly $250,000 of the state's money in 1888. During the investigation that followed, it was discovered that Leslie, along with several other state officials, had procured personal loans from the state treasury through Tate.Later life and death[edit source|editbeta]
Following his removal from office, Leslie opened a legal practice inHelena, Montana, partnering with A. J. Craven.President Cleveland in his second term appointed LeslieU.S. district attorneyof Montana.He served from 1894 to 1898.
During his final years practicing law in Helena, Leslie gained widespread acclaim and served as president of the Montana StateBar Association.On a return visit to Kentucky in 1906, he addressed the legislature, noting how he had helped the state adjust to the "new order" following the Civil War.Montana governorJoseph Toolewas circulating a petition to have Leslie named a district court judge when Leslie fell ill withpneumonia.He died February 7, 1907 and was buried at Forestvale Cemetery in Helena.