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March of the Governors #5: William Rainey Marshall

Ramsey County History podcast

Release Date: 07/01/2021

March of the Governors #10: John Pillsbury show art March of the Governors #10: John Pillsbury

Ramsey County History podcast

John Pillsbury, a Republican, served three terms as governor of Minnesota, from January 1876 to January 1882. An immigrant from New Hampshire, Pillsbury made a fortune in the grain milling business, in the company that still carries his name. He also had a strong commitment to  public life. Serving in the state senate from St. Anthony, Pillsbury was a major force in the establishment of the University of Minnesota. As governor he championed accountable and efficient government and struggled to find a humane response to the grasshopper plague that...

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The March of Governors #9: Lucius F. Hubbard show art The March of Governors #9: Lucius F. Hubbard

Ramsey County History podcast

Possessing little more than a drive to be a success, 21-year-old Lucius F. Hubbard reached Red Wing in spring 1857. Unimposing in size and stature, the clean-shaven, boyish New York-born newcomer appeared a long shot to make it on the rugged Minnesota frontier. But by age 30, Hubbard was a celebrated American Civil War hero, rising from the rank of private in the Fifth Minnesota infantry to brevet Brigadier General, a thrice-wounded combat leader, and recognized hero in battles at Corinth and Nashville. Lucius Hubbard returned to Minnesota as the King Wheat Era blossomed, becoming a grain...

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The March of Governors #8: Cushman Davis show art The March of Governors #8: Cushman Davis

Ramsey County History podcast

Minnesota’s seventh governor, Cushman Davis, served only one term from 1874 to 1876 during which most of the state recovered from the Panic of 1873. Highlights of his time in office include amending the state’s constitution to allow women to vote in school board elections and serve on the boards; establishing (and a year later abolishing) a railroad regulatory commission; and providing limited state assistance to farmers affected by the grasshopper plague. A prominent St. Paul attorney, Davis is most remembered today as a US Senator representing the state in Washington, DC, from 1887 until...

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March of the Governors #7: The U.S. Dakota War of 1862  show art March of the Governors #7: The U.S. Dakota War of 1862

Ramsey County History podcast

The US Dakota War of 1862 was a unique event in Minnesota history. In his recent book, Massacre in Minnesota, the eminent historian Gary Clayton Anderson calls it “the most violent ethnic conflict in American history.” It was a calamity that we Minnesotans are still trying to deal with today. One of the remarkable things about it is that all six of Minnesota’s first governors participated in it: Alexander Ramsey as sitting governor and the five others as army officers or emergency volunteers. To discuss the actions of these governors, we assembled a panel: Sydney Beane, a...

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The March of Governors #6: Horace Austin show art The March of Governors #6: Horace Austin

Ramsey County History podcast

The second of four Minnesota governors from St. Peter, Horace Austin was the state’s first governor to directly confront the increased power of railroads, the state’s most powerful business force. Noted for being honest and straight forward, Austin succeeded in regulating their rates after being reelected in 1871 to a second term by promising to “Shake the railroads over hell”. Minnesota’s growth and prosperity during his administration was marred only near its’ end by the western Minnesota grasshopper plague and the Panic of 1873. A lawyer, Austin’s political career began as a...

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March of the Governors #5: William Rainey Marshall show art March of the Governors #5: William Rainey Marshall

Ramsey County History podcast

William Rainey Marshall could be said to occupy a prominent place in Minnesota’s list of founding fathers. He played a leading role in many of the seminal events that shaped the state's early history. A strong opponent of slavery, he chaired the founding meeting of Minnesota’s Republican Party. He was an officer in the military expedition against the Dakota. He served with valor as commanding officer of the Minnesota’s 7th Regiment during the Civil War and was elected governor in November 1865 and reelected in 1867.  According to contemporaries, he served with integrity and...

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March of the Governors #4: Stephen Miller show art March of the Governors #4: Stephen Miller

Ramsey County History podcast

Stephen Miller moved to Minnesota in middle age from Pennsylvania, several years after his friend Alexander Ramsey had moved to the state. He immediately involved himself in politics in St. Cloud. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he was named lieutenant colonel of the First Minnesota Regiment. He distinguished himself in battle and upon returning to Minnesota, supervised the imprisonment of 303 Dakota men and the execution of thirty-eight who were condemned for their part in the US-Dakota War of 1862. With Ramsey’s support, he was elected governor in 1864. To learn more about the US...

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March of the Governors #3 - Henry Swift show art March of the Governors #3 - Henry Swift

Ramsey County History podcast

May 2021: March of the Governors #3 - Henry Swift Henry Swift came to Minnesota from Ohio as a young man, eventually settling in St. Peter. He was elected to the state senate and saw combat in the US-Dakota War of 1862 at the Battles of New Ulm. The next year, because of Lieutenant Governor Ignatius Donnelly’s election to the US House of Representatives and Governor Alexander Ramsey’s election to the US Senate, Swift was quickly elevated to the governorship from his position as president pro tempore of the Minnesota Senate. He served the remainder of Ramsey’s original term but declined...

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March of the Governors Podcast #2: Alexander Ramsey show art March of the Governors Podcast #2: Alexander Ramsey

Ramsey County History podcast

Alexander Ramsey did not have it easy. He was orphaned at age 10 and worked as a store clerk and a carpenter before finding his vocation in politics. He served two terms in Congress from Pennsylvania and for his service to the Whig Party was rewarded, if you call it that, with being sent to a cold place with hardly any people -- Minnesota. But he took to it, first as territorial governor (1849), then succeeding his rival Henry Sibley to become our second state governor. But his three years in office were nothing but crisis -- Depression, war, and war. The defining event of his administration...

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March of the Governors show art March of the Governors

Ramsey County History podcast

Minnesota's first state governor, Henry Sibley

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William Rainey Marshall could be said to occupy a prominent place in Minnesota’s list of founding fathers. He played a leading role in many of the seminal events that shaped the state's early history. A strong opponent of slavery, he chaired the founding meeting of Minnesota’s Republican Party. He was an officer in the military expedition against the Dakota. He served with valor as commanding officer of the Minnesota’s 7th Regiment during the Civil War and was elected governor in November 1865 and reelected in 1867.  According to contemporaries, he served with integrity and effectiveness and waged a contentious, but ultimately successful campaign for passage of a Black Suffrage amendment to Minnesota's state constitution.

To learn more about the US Dakota War and Marshall’s involvement in it, Ramsey County Historical Society encourages our listeners to further research the circumstances and events leading up to and following this war to better understand the context and the outcomes.