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Political Quickstep: The Life of Kentucky's Colonel Charles S. Todd

Tuesday, April 24, 2018: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Venue: The Filson Historical Society

Add To Calendar   24/04/2018 12:00:00 24/04/2018 13:00:00 America/Anguilla Political Quickstep: The Life of Kentucky's Colonel Charles S. Todd Tuesday, April 24, 12:00-1:00 p.m. | Sherry Jelsma will give a presentation on the life of Charles S. Todd. The Filson Historical Society, 1310 South 3rd Street, Louisville, Kentucky, 40208 The Filson Historical Society info@filsonhistorical.org false DD/MM/YYYY

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19646078025 Filson members $0.00 $0.00
19646178025 Non-members $10.00 $0.00
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Charles Stewart Todd was born into a life of privilege and unyielding social structure. After studies at the College of William and Mary and Judge Tapping Reeves's law school, he joined the militia to serve in the War of 1812; by the time he mustered out, he was a regular army colonel. He fell in love with and married Letitia Shelby, daughter of Kentucky's first governor, Isaac Shelby. The couple appears to have been happy and both were engaged in their farming operation. Todd also wrote political articles for newspapers. However, during recurring financial crises, he accepted political appointments that required leaving his wife and children behind in Kentucky for years at a time. Todd accepted a position as a United States confidential agent in Colombia and Venezuela, where he fought disease and disaster for four years as local patriots rebelled against Spanish rule. He spent six years as ambassador to St. Petersburg, Russia, during the reign of Czar Nicholas I, and later worked in Texas for the burgeoning railroad industry. Todd's political connections ran deep and included his governor father-in-law, statesman and presidential candidate Henry Clay, President William Henry Harrison (for whom Todd had managed the "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" campaign), and President Zachary Taylor, whom Todd had also backed. Through military service, international and domestic travel, vast wealth and crippling debt, political successes and failures, Todd's life reflects a turbulent time in America. During his life, social and class distinctions were upended, new lands were opened to settlement, and the Civil War ended slavery and the plantation lifestyle to which Todd had been born. This biography explores the evolution of a patriotic Whig gentleman into a champion of the cultural and industrial revolutions in 19th-century America. Sherry Keith Jelsma, granddaughter of historian Dr. Henry Noble Sherwood, grew up with history. She earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Harvard/Radcliffe College and an MA from New York University. Jelsma taught at public schools in Louisville, Baltimore, and New York City. Elected to the Jefferson County, Kentucky, board of education for three terms (twice as chair), she resigned to serve a four-year term as secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet of Education, Arts, and Humanities.
Political Quickstep: The Life of Kentucky's Colonel Charles S. Todd

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