Moved to Montgomery County, Indiana, 1826. Admitted to Indiana bar, 1843. Prosecuting attorney LaFayette (Indiana) Circuit, 1843-1847.
Practiced law, Crawfordsville, Indiana, 1847-1859. Member United States House of Representatives from Indiana, 31st Congress, 1849-1851. Attorney general Indiana, 1856, 58.
Chairman Indiana Democratic State Committee, 1874. Member United States Senate from Indiana, 1875-1881, member special commission to investigate frauds in Southern states that occasioned Hayes-Tilden election dispute.