Beriah Magoffin
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1815
Date of Death: 1885
Occupation: Lawyer, Judge, politician
Parents: Beriah Magoffin Sr., Jane McAfee
Spouse: Anna Nelson Shelby
Children: Ten
Political Party: Democratic Party
Political Office(s): Governor of Kentucky
Fictional Appearances:
The Guns of the South
POD: January 17, 1864
Type of Appearance: Direct
Nationality: Confederate States (from 1865)
Political Office(s): Confederate States Senator from Kentucky

Beriah Magoffin (April 18, 1815 – February 28, 1885) was the 21st Governor of Kentucky, serving during the early part of the American Civil War. Personally, Magoffin adhered to a states' rights position, including the right of a state to secede from the Union, and he sympathized with the Confederate cause. Nevertheless, when the Kentucky General Assembly adopted a position of neutrality in the war, Magoffin ardently held to it, refusing calls for aid from both the Union and Confederate governments.

In special elections held in June 1861, Unionists captured nine of Kentucky's ten congressional seats and obtained two-thirds majorities in both houses of the state legislature. Despite Magoffin's strict adherence to the policy of neutrality, the Unionist legislature did not trust him and routinely overrode his vetoes. Unable to provide effective leadership due to a hostile legislature, Magoffin agreed to resign as governor in 1862, provided he could choose his successor. Lieutenant governor Linn Boyd had died in office, and Magoffin refused to allow Speaker of the Senate John F. Fisk to succeed him as governor. Accordingly, Fisk resigned and the Kentucky Senate elected Magoffin's choice, James F. Robinson, as speaker. Magoffin then resigned, Robinson ascended to the governorship, and Fisk was re-elected as Speaker of the Senate.

After the war, he encouraged acceptance of the Union victory and passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. Magoffin County, Kentucky was named in his honor.

Beriah Magoffin in The Guns of the South[]

Beriah Magoffin of Kentucky was a Confederate States Senator. In June 1868, he paid a visit to the Presidential mansion at one of President Lee's fortnightly levees.[1]

Literary comment[]

While neither Senator Magoffin's first name nor his home state are specified, the preponderance of historical figures in this CS government makes it likely that he is Beriah Magoffin.


Political offices
Preceded by
Charles S. Morehead
Governor of Kentucky
Succeeded by
James Fisher Robinson