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John A. Corwin was a Democratic politician and jurist from Ohio, United States. He was elected to the Ohio Supreme Court and ran unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives.

John A. Corwin
Seal of the Supreme Court of Ohio.svg
Associate Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court
In office
February 9, 1852 – October 28, 1854
Preceded bynew seat
Succeeded byRobert B. Warden
Personal details
Born(1818-10-26)October 26, 1818
Urbana, Ohio
DiedAugust 11, 1863(1863-08-11) (aged 44)
Urbana, Ohio
Resting placeOak Dale Cemetery, Urbana
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Mary Vance
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceUnion Army
Years of service1861
Unit13th Ohio Infantry


Corwin was born in Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio on October 26, 1818. His parents were Moses B. and Margaret Corwin. Moses Corwin was the first lawyer in Champaign County, and was the cousin[1] of Thomas Corwin, Governor, Senator and Secretary of the Treasury.[2]

After he finished school, Corwin ran a newspaper called the Rattler in about 1837, and studied law under his father. He was admitted to the bar at age 21, and established a law practice with his father in Urbana. They had clients throughout central Ohio, and John A. became a highly regarded criminal defense attorney. He started out like his famous relatives as a Whig, but switched to the Democratic Party in about 1840.[2]

Moses Corwin had been in the Ohio House of Representatives, and ran for Ohio's 4th congressional district as the Whig nominee in 1848. John A. decided to run as a Democrat against his father, and they had debates before immense crowds throughout the district.[3] Moses won in the solidly Whig district.[4] In 1850, John A. challenged Whig Benjamin Stanton in the same district, and again lost convincingly.[5]

In 1851, Ohio adopted a new constitution which made seats on the Ohio Supreme Court elective. The first election was in October, 1851. Corwin was nominated by the Democrats, and the Democrats won all five seats.[6] The new court was seated February 9, 1852, and the judges drew lots for length of their first term, so re-elections would be staggered. Corwin drew a four-year term.[7] In 1854, he challenged George E. Pugh for the Democratic nomination for United States Senate, but lost. He did not serve his whole term, but resigned October 28, 1854.[2]

After he resigned, Corwin returned to Urbana to practice law, spent 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio, in practice with another former justice, Robert B. Warden, and returned to Urbana in 1858.[2] In 1860, he supported the southern faction of the Democratic Party that nominated John C. Breckinridge, but joined the 13th Ohio Infantry for three months service as a Captain on April 20, 1861, resigning before his three months were up.[2][8]

Corwin suffered from tuberculosis for six months before he died at his Urbana home on August 11, 1863.[2] He was buried at the cemetery in Urbana.[9]

Corwin married Mary Vance, and they had one son.[2]


  1. ^ "Corwin, Moses Bledso". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "John A. Corwin". The Supreme Court of Ohio & The Ohio Judicial System. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
  3. ^ Taylor, William A (1900). Ohio in Congress from 1803 to 1901, with notes and sketches of senators and representatives. the XX Century Publishing Company. p. 195.
  4. ^ "1848 election OH district 4". Retrieved 01-12-2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ "1850 election OH district 4". Retrieved 01-12-2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ Bell, William, Jr. (1876). Annual report of the Secretary of State to the Governor and General Assembly for the year 1875... Ohio Secretary of State. p. 115.
  7. ^ Gilkey, Elliott Howard, ed. (1901). The Ohio Hundred Year Book: a Handbook of the Public Men and Public Institutions of Ohio ... State of Ohio. p. 472.
  8. ^ Reid, Whitelaw (1895). "13th Ohio Infantry". Ohio in the War Her Statesmen Generals and Soldiers. 2. Cincinnati: The Robert Clarke Company. p. 91.
  9. ^ Kinkead, Edgar B (1895). "Supreme Court of Ohio". The Green bag: an entertaining magazine of the law. 7: 355, 356.