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Daniel Wolsey Voorhees

lawyer , politician

Daniel Wolsey Voorhees was a lawyer and United States Senator from Indiana, who was leader of the Democratic party and an anti-war Copperhead during the American Civil War.


Daniel Voorhees, celbrated as "The Tall Sycamore of the Wabash," was born September 26, 1827, in Butler county, Ohio. When he was two months old his parents removed to Fountain county, Indiana. He grew to manhood on a farm, engaged in all the arduous work pertaining to rural life.


He graduated at Indiana Asbury University, Greencastle, Indiana, in 1849.


Daniel Voorhees was admitted to the bar in 1850, and began to practice in Covington, Indiana, whence in 1857 he removed to Terre Haute.

Voorhees was a member of the powerful Finance Committee throughout his service in the Senate, and his first speech in that body was a defence of the free coinage of silver and a plea for the preservation of the full legal tender value of greenback currency. He had an active part in bringing about the building of the new Congressional Library.

In 1893, Voorhees came in for serious controversy when President Grover Cleveland called Congress into extra session to repeal the silver purchase clause of the 1890 Sherman Act. As chair of the Senate Finance Committee, the senior senator from Indiana could prevent action, and three years before, he had stood among the leading supporters for an unlimited coinage of silver. His views, in fact, had not changed.

Vooorhees delivered his last speech in the Senate in January 1896, a plea on behalf of silver coinage and denouncing the tariff protectionists and centralizers of government power.


Member United States House of Representatives (Democrat) from Indiana, 37th-39th, 41st-42d congresses, 1861-February 26, 1866, 69-73. Member United States Senate (Democratic) from Indiana, 1877-1897, Chairman of Commission on finance, fought for repeal of Sherman Silver Purchase Act during the extra session, 1893, nominal manager for Wilson Tariff Bill, 1894.

  • Finance Committee


Married Anna Hardesty, July 18, 1850, 4 children.

Stephen Pieter Voorhees

Rachel Elliott