Secretary of State

John Pope

Term of OfficeOctober 21, 1816 - August 2, 1819
PartyDemocratic Republican; Whig
Significant AccomplishmentsServed as President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate during the Eleventh Congress.
Governor during his term of OfficeGov. Gabriel Slaughter
Assistant Secretary of StateOliver G. Waggener; Cuthbert S. Anderson
EducationJames Priestly's School, Bardstown, Ky.; read Law with George Nicholas in Lexington, Ky.
Spouse(s)Anne Christian; Elizabeth Johnson; Frances Walton
ParentsWilliam & Penelope (Edwards) Pope
ResidenceKentucky (Shelby Co.; Fayette Co.; Washington Co.)
OccupationAttorney; Career Politician
Birth Date1/1/1770
Birth PlaceVirginia (Prince William County)
Date of Death7/12/1845
Place of DeathKentucky (Springfield, Washington Co.)
Place of BurialKentucky (Springfield Cemetery, Washington Co.)
National OfficesU.S. Senate (1807-1813); appointed Territorial Governor of Arkansas (1829-1835) by President Andrew Jackson; U.S. House of Representatives (1837-1843).
Other State Offices HeldKentucky House of Representatives (1802; 1806-1807); Kentucky Senate (1825-1829)
NoteExact date of birth in 1770 unknown. Pope moved with his family to Kentucky in 1779.

John Pope was born in Prince William County, Virginia, in 1770. His parents were William and Penelope (Edwards) Pope. He moved with his family to Kentucky in 1779. He lost an arm in a mill accident while a young boy. Pope was educated at James Priestly’s school at Bardstown; he then read law with George Nicholas in Lexington.

In 1800, Pope voted for Thomas Jefferson in Kentucky’s electoral college. In 1802, he was elected to the State House of Representatives from Shelby County. He moved to Lexington and served in the State House of Representatives from Fayette County in 1806-7. In 1807, he was elected to the U. S. Senate where he served until 1813. His vote in opposition to the War of 1812 hurt him politically, and he did not seek reelection in 1813.

From 1816 to 1819 Pope was Secretary of State in the administration of Governor Gabriel Slaughter. In 1824, he supported his brother-in-law, John Quincy Adams, for President. He was elected to the State Senate and served from 1825 to 1829. In 1828, he supported Andrew Jackson for President. Jackson then appointed him Territorial Governor for the Arkansas Territory. He was Territorial Governor until 1835 when he broke with Jackson; he returned to Kentucky and became a Whig. He was elected three times to the U. S. House of Representatives from 1837 to 1843.

John Pope was married three times and was twice a widower. He married Anne Christian, Elizabeth Johnson, and Frances Walton. He retired to Springfield in Washington County where he died on July 12, 1845. He is buried in the Springfield Cemetery.


Orval W. Baylor, "John Pope, Kentuckian: His Life and Times, 1770-1845," The Hobson Press, Cynthiana, Ky. (1943);

"The Life and Times of John Pope, 1770-1845,” Filson Club History Quarterly 15 (1941), pgs 59-77;

"Biographical Encyclopedia," (1878), pg 207;

Collins, "History of Kentucky," (1874), Vol. II, pg 752;

"Kentucky Encyclopedia," (1992), pg 728;

Levin, ed., "Lawyers and Lawmakers," (1897), pgs 116-17.