Governor of the Illinois territory from 1826 to 1830. He was also one of its first two state senators, and the territory's third governor from 1809 to 1818.
He studied law in Pennsylvania, but moved to Kentucky to work on his family's land, and finished studying law in Tennessee.
The territory he presided over included not only the modern state of Illinois but also also parts of Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Both his parents came from prominent families, and among his private tutors was the future U.S. Attorney General William Wirt.
President James Madison appointed him the governor of the newly formed territory.