Secretary of State

Charles S. Todd

Term of OfficeSeptember 5, 1816 - October 20, 1816
Governor during his term of OfficeGov. George Madison
Assistant Secretary of StateOliver G. Waggener; Cutbert S. Anderson
EducationWilliam & Mary College; studied Law with his father
Spouse(s)Letitia Shelby (daughter of Governor Isaac Shelby)
ParentsThomas Todd & Elizabeth (Harris) Todd
ResidenceKentucky (Fayette County; Franklin County; Shelby County)
OccupationAttorney; Ambassador; Legislator; Farmer; Presbyterian Lay Minister
Birth Date1/22/1791
Birth PlaceKentucky (Lincoln County: between Stanford & Danville)
Date of Death5/14/1871
Place of DeathLouisiana (Baton Rouge)
National OfficesMinister to Colombia (1818-1823); Minister to Russia (1841-1845)
Other State Offices HeldKentucky Legislature (Franklin County)
Military ServiceWar of 1812 (Brevet Colonel of Cavalry)
NoteSecretary Todd's father served as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1807 to 1826.

Charles Todd was born on January 22, 1791, between Stanford and Danville in what was then Lincoln County. He was the son of Thomas Todd and Elizabeth (Harris) Todd. He graduated from William and Mary in 1809. He studied law with his father, who served as a Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court from 1807 to 1826. He was admitted to the Bar in 1811 and practiced Law in Lexington.

Todd saw extensive service in the War of 1812 and retired with the rank of Brevet Colonel of Cavalry. He resumed the practice of law in Frankfort. In 1816, he was appointed Secretary of State by Governor George Madison, but he served only until the Governor’s death later in 1816.

In 1817, Todd was a member of the State Legislature from Franklin County. From 1818 to 1823 he served as minister to Colombia. He returned home to take up farming in Shelby County. He became a prominent leader in agriculture and an active Presbyterian layman.

Todd was an enthusiastic supporter of William Henry Harrison who appointed him to be U. S. Minister to Austria. Harrison’s death prevented the appointment from being executed. Todd was, however, appointed U. S. Minister to Russia in 1841 by President John Tyler, and he served until 1845.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Todd offered his services to the Union cause, but he did not receive an appointment.

In 1816, Todd married Letitia Shelby, a daughter of Governor Isaac Shelby. She died on July 22, 1868. Charles Todd died on May 14, 1871 at Baton Rouge while on a visit to Louisiana.


"Biographical Encyclopedia," (1878), pgs. 518-19;

Collins, "History of Kentucky," Vol. II, (1874), pgs. 712-13;

John Gresham, "Biographical Cyclopedia," (1896), pg. 537;

Levin, ed., "Lawyers and Lawmakers," (1897), pg. 438.