Governor Wilson Shannon (1802-1877),Ohio, first native-born governor, Wilson Shannon was born in February 1802 in the Mt. Olivet area near Barnesville. After attending Ohio University and studying law in Kentucky, he returned to Belmont County to practice and was elected county attorney in 1833. Shannon served two terms as governor of Ohio, from 1838 to 1840 and again from 1842 to 1844, resigning to accept a presidential appointment as minister to Mexico. After participating in the California Gold Rush, Shannon returned to Ohio and was elected to Congress in 1852. President Pierce then appointed him territorial governor of Kansas, an office he held until 1857. After a notable career of public service, Shannon died in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1877.
Barnesville's Shannon Family.Four of Governor Wilson Shannon's brothers and a nephew distinguished themselves as public servants during the nineteenth century. George Shannon III (c. 1785-1836) scouted for the Lewis and Clark Expedition and served as a Kentucky judge and senator. Thomas Shannon (c. 1787-1843) served in the War of 1812 and later in the U.S. Congress and the Ohio Senate. James Shannon (c. 1791-1832) was appointed U.S. Charge d'Affaires to the short-lived Federation of Central America in 1832. David Shannon (c. 1793-1823) served as Gen. Andrew Jackson's private secretary and as acting territorial governor of Florida. Isaac Charles Parker (1838-1896) was appointed federal judge of the West District of Arkansas in 1875, a notoriously lawless area now part of Oklahoma. His commitment to law and order earned him legendary status as the "Hanging Judge of Fort Smith."