New Orleans Public Library
|Administrations of the Mayors of New Orleans|
George F. Shepley (1819-1878)
George Foster Shepley was born in Saco, Maine, January 1, 1819, the son of Ether Shepley L.L.D. Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine, and Anne (Foster) Shepley.|
He studied law at Harvard and also in Portland, and began to practice law at Bangor in 1840. He was appointed United States District Attorney under President Polk, a post he held until 1861. When the war between the States broke out, he acted as Commander of a brigade in General Butler’s expedition.
He was appointed acting Mayor of New Orleans in May 1862. His administration as Mayor lasted only one month and a few days and was characterized by mildness and dignity. He subsequently was appointed Military Governor of Louisiana.
The question of currency during Shepley’s short term was a very serious one. The large amount of paper money in circulation was beginning to occasion quite a bit of embarrassment. Notes and checks of all kinds were being destroyed by the chairman of the Finance Committee. The City Attorney, under direction of the City Council, took steps to prosecute those who thereafter issued notes or checks of any kid. Steps were also being taken by the Council to authorize the city to issue city notes signed by the Treasurer equal in amount and of denominations similar to those issued by individuals. With these the individual issues were to be gradually taken up. By October 28, 1862, $1,435,104 in such city notes had been issued, but the benefit seems not to have been very great. A new order, which had been anticipated, prohibiting Confederate notes, was issued and this added new difficulties to an already complex condition of affairs.
During the War, Shelley had become Colonel of the Twelfth Maine Volunteers and commanded one of the first brigades that entered New Orleans.
On the inauguration of Governor Hahn, Shepley was transferred to eastern Virginia and subsequently he was appointed military governor of Richmond which post he served from April l3, 1865 until the end of June, when he resigned. Resuming his law practice at Portland, he declined a seat on the bench of the United States Court.
He figured conspicuously in Maine as a member of National Democracy and was a warm personal friend of President Jefferson Davis whom he had entertained while visiting New England some years before.
Governor Shepley was married at Bangor, Maine, July 24, 1844 to Lucy Ann Hayes. He died in Portland, Maine, July 20, 1878.
|Members of the Shepley Administration|
May 20-July 11, 1862
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