1872 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election

The 1872 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election occurred on October 8, 1872. Incumbent governor John W. Geary, a Republican, was not a candidate for re-election.

1872 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election

← 1869 October 8, 1872 (1872-10-08) 1875 →
Nominee John F. Hartranft Charles R. Buckalew
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 353,287 317,700
Percentage 52.6% 47.3%

County results

Hartranft:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%

Buckalew:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%      80–90%

Governor before election

John W. Geary

Elected Governor

John F. Hartranft

Republican candidate John F. Hartranft defeated Democratic candidate Charles R. Buckalew to become Governor of Pennsylvania. George Washington Cass, William McClelland, and Hendrick Bradley Wright unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination.



Hartranft had become an important figure in the history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States during the American Civil War. A colonel in the Union Army who was awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor for the valor he displayed on July 21, 1861, during the First Battle of Bull Run, he rose through the ranks to become a major general, and was also the United States Army officer who read the death warrant to Mary Surratt, George Atzerodt, David Herold, and Lewis Powell before they were executed on July 7, 1865, for conspiring to assassinate American President Abraham Lincoln.[1] Post-war, he was elected twice as Pennsylvania's auditor general before choosing to run for the governor's office.[2][3]

After winning the 1872 gubernatorial election, Hartranft was inaugurated as Pennsylvania's 17th governor on January 21, 1873.[4]


Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 1872[5]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John F. Hartranft 353,287 52.55
Democratic Charles R. Buckalew 317,700 47.26
Prohibition Salmon B. Chase 1,250 0.19
Independent Winthrop W. Ketchum 1 0.00
Total votes 672,238 100.00


  1. ^ Eicher, John H. and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford University Press, 2001, pp. 57–58, 89 and 284.
  2. ^ "Our Standard Bearer: Nomination of Gen. John F. Hartranft." Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Daily Telegraph, April 11, 1872, p. 2 (subscription required).
  3. ^ "An Address: To the Voters of Pennsylvania: Chas. R. Buckalew and John F. Hartranft." Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Daily Telegraph, August 30, 1872, p. 1 (subscription required).
  4. ^ "Inauguration Day." Lancaster, Pennsylvania: The Daily Evening Express, January 21, 1873, p. 3 (subscription required).
  5. ^ "PA Governor General Election". OurCampaigns. Retrieved May 2, 2013.