Courts in the Classroom
Supreme Court of Indiana
Division of State Court Administration
30 S. Meridian Street, Ste 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Dr. Elizabeth R. Osborn
Court History and
Public Education Programs
History Project Award
from the National Council
on Public History
Justice Hovey was born September 6, 1821, in Mt. Vernon, Indiana, and died November 23, 1891, in Indianapolis.
He was virtually self-educated in the law, having received only a common school education before he began his legal studies. He was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1843 and began legal practice at Mount Vernon, Indiana. In 1850, he was elected a member of the Indiana Constitutional Convention and was later chosen judge of the Third Indiana Judicial Circuit, because of his exemplary service at the convention. He served as circuit judge for three years and was then appointed to be an Indiana Supreme Court Justice on May 8, 1854, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Justice Roach. He held that position only a few months, suffering defeat in his 1855 election bid. Justice Hovey was then appointed U.S. District Attorney for Indiana by President Franklin K. Pierce, and held that office until his removal by President James Buchanan.
When the Civil War began, Justice Hovey was appointed a colonel in the Union Army by Governor Morton and served throughout the war. When he left the military in October 1865, he held the rank of major general. In 1865, he was appointed U.S. Minister to Peru and held that position for five years. He resigned in 1870, and returned to Indiana to resume his law practice. In 1886, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Two years later, he made a successful bid for governor of Indiana on the Republican ticket. He died in office in 1891.349
349. 1 MONKS, supra note 25, at 250-51; 2 id. at 481-84.
Source: Browning, Minde C., Richard Humphrey, and Bruce Kleinschmidt. "Biographical Sketches of Indiana Supreme Court Justices." Indiana Law Review: Vol. 30, No. 1, 1997. View this source in PDF format.