sidebar menu icon


WICKLIFFE, CHARLES ANDERSON (1788–1869). Charles Anderson Wickliffe, who served as President James K. Polk's special envoy to Texas in 1845, was born near Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky, on June 8, 1788. After attending Wilson's Academy, Bardstown, Kentucky, he served in the War of 1812 and became politically prominent as a member of the Kentucky Legislature, congressman, lieutenant-governor, and governor of Kentucky. From 1841 to 1845 he was postmaster general under President John Tyler. In 1845 Wickliffe was appointed by President Polk confidential agent to Texas. The joint resolution offering Texas statehood in the Union had been passed, and the president had received information that led him to believe that the ministers of Great Britain and France in Texas were exerting themselves to defeat annexation. Wickliffe was instructed to hasten to Texas in order to counteract the contemplated interference and to urge upon the Texan authorities the desirability of accepting speedily the offer of annexation. Reaching Texas early in May 1845, he set to work with energy to effect the purpose of his mission. He traveled much and promised many things, but he associated himself with the anti-Jones faction, which assumed that the Texas President was trying to defeat annexation. This did not please Andrew Jackson Donelson, the American chargé, and it aroused the resentment of Anson Jones. No real harm was done however because public sentiment was overwhelmingly in favor of annexation, and Wickliffe witnessed the approval of it by the Convention of 1845. His later political career included election to Congress as a Union Whig, candidacy for governor of Kentucky on the ticket of the Peace Democrats, and membership in the Democratic National Convention of 1864. He died near Ilchester, Hartford County, Maryland, on October 31, 1869, and was buried at Bardstown, Kentucky.

Dictionary of American Biography. Justin Harvey Smith, The Annexation of Texas (New York: Baker and Taylor, 1911; 2d ed., New York: Macmillan, 1919; 3d ed., New York: Barnes and Noble, 1941; 4th ed., New York: AMS Press, 1971).
C. T. Neu

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, C. T. Neu, "Wickliffe, Charles Anderson," accessed January 20, 2018,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.