William H. English
Born: Lexington, IN 1822
Died: Indianapolis, IN 1896
William H. English was the first native born Hoosier to be placed on the Democrat or Republican party ticket, being nominated for the vice presidency by the Democrat party. William was immersed in local and state politics as a young man, serving in clerkship in Indianapolis and Washington D.C., before entering the Indiana General Assembly and becoming, in 1851, the youngest Speaker if the House in State history.
William English then served eight years in the United States House of Representatives during the divisive political fights of the 1850’s. He left politics and southern Indiana in 1861, moving to Indianapolis and an eminently successful banking career. Upon his retirement in 1877, he was recognized as the wealthiest individual in the state of Indiana. This distinction was one of the factors in his selection as running mate with General Winfield Scott Hancock, a Union general from Pennsylvania whose nomination by the Democrat party was an attempt to blunt the Republican tactic of “waving the bloody shirt” and appealing to the electorate to “vote as you shot.” The Democrats, however, lost Indiana and New York, and hence lost the election by a very slim margin. After which, William English devoted himself to history, where he collected documents, wrote a two-volume history of Clark’s conquest of the Northwest and helped reorganize the Indiana Historical Society.