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Benjamin Franklin Flanders (January 26, 1816 – March 13, 1896) was an appointed Governor of Louisiana during Reconstruction and was Mayor of New Orleansmarker.

Early life

Flanders was born in Bristol, New Hampshiremarker, on January 26, 1816. At the age of 26 he graduated from Dartmouth Collegemarker in New Hampshire.

In January 1843 he moved to New Orleans and read law under Charles M. Emerson. The following year he left his study of the law to become a school teacher and principal. In 1845, Flanders became editor of New Orleans Tropic, a local newspaper, and in 1847 he married Susan H. Sawyer in Bristol, New Hampshiremarker. They went on to have six children.

Political career

Flanders was elected an Alderman representing 3rd Municipal District of New Orleans from 1847 - 1852. In 1852, he was selected as the Secretary and Treasurer of the New Orleans, Opelousas and Great Western Railroad, a position he held until 1862. In 1861, he fled New Orleans, leaving his family behind, for opposing secession. He made his way to Cairo, Illinoismarker, Columbus, Ohiomarker and eventually, to New York Citymarker. He did not return until April, 1862, when New Orleans was captured by Union troops. On July 20, he was appointed New Orleans City Treasurer, serving until his election to Congress on December 12, 1862. He was elected along with Michael Hahn as at-large Representatives of Louisiana, defeating independent incumbent J.E. Bouligny. Flanders and Hahn were not seated in Congress.

On July 13, 1863, Flanders was made the Captain of Company C, 5th Regiment Louisiana Volunteers, a Union Army unit. He was honorably discharged in August, 1863, when he was appointed a Special Agent of the Treasury Departmentmarker of the Southern Region by Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase. He held this position until 1866. While in office he makes commissions while selling confiscated cotton.

In 1864, Flanders campaigned for Governor, running a weak third place behind Michael Hahn and Fellows. He became the first Supervising Special Agent of the Freedmen’s Bureau, Department of the Gulf. At the same time, he led the movement to create a local Republican Party in Louisiana. He formed the Friends of Universal Suffrage with other scalawags to promote black suffrage and to repeal the Louisiana black codes. The tension over the rights of freed slaves would esclate into riots in 1866.

In 1867, General Phillip Sheridan, Commander of the 5th Military District, which included Louisiana and Texas, removed elected Governor James Madison Wells for not responding to the riots appropriately and for not advancing the rights of freed slaves. Sheridan appointed Flanders as Governor of Louisiana. About six months later, on January 1, 1868Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, as the new military commander of Louisiana removes all radicals from state offices and Governor Flanders resigned on January 8 and was replaced by Joshua Baker who was appointed by General Hancock.

In 1870, Governor Henry C. Warmoth appointed Flanders the Mayor of New Orleans. He was later elected to a full two-year term as Mayor, serving until 1873. President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Flanders Assistant Treasurer of the United States in 1873. He ran unsuccessfully as a Republican candidate for Louisiana State Treasurer in 1888. Governor Flanders died at Ben Alva plantation in Lafayette Parish in 1896. He was interred at Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.


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