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Governor Alexander Ramsey

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Office Dates:  Jan 02, 1860 - Jul 10, 1863


Born:  Dec 08, 1815

Passed:  Apr 22, 1903

Birth State:  Pennsylvania

Party:  Republican

Family:  Married Anna Earl Jenks; three children

School(s):  Lafayette College

National Office(s) Served:  Representative, Senator, Cabinet secretary

ALEXANDER RAMSEY, the second governor of Minnesota, was born near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on September 8, 1815. His early education was attained in the common schools of his native state, and later at Lafayette College in Easton. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1839, and then established his legal career in Harrisburg. Ramsey entered politics in 1840, serving as the secretary to the electoral college of Pennsylvania. He was the clerk of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1841, and served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1843 to 1847. He also served as the territorial governor of Minnesota from 1849 to 1853, and was the mayor of St. Paul in 1855. Ramsey next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on November 8, 1859. He was elected to a second term in 1861. During his tenure, tax reduction was promoted; and fiscal economy was endorsed. Also, the Civil War had started and troops were raised for the war effort. Ramsey resigned from office on July 10, 1863, upon his election to the U.S. Senate, a position he held until 1875. From 1879 to 1881 he served in President Hayes' cabinet as secretary of state. He also chaired the Edmunds Commission that dealt with the question of Mormonism in Utah. Governor Alexander Ramsey passed away on April 22, 1903, and was buried in the Oakland Cemetery in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Minnesota Historical Society