ASA S. BUSHNELL, the fortieth governor of Ohio, was born in Rome, New York on September 16, 1834. His education was limited and attained in the commons schools of his native state. As a teenager, he moved to Springfield, Ohio, where he worked in a dry goods store. He eventually became a successful businessman, with holdings in the banking, railroad, and manufacturing industries. During the Civil War, he enlisted as a private in the Union Army, and later achieved the rank of captain. Bushnell first entered politics as a member and president of the Springfield city council, a position he held in 1882. He also was the campaign manager for Joseph Foraker’s successful gubernatorial bid in 1885. Bushnell next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor in the 1895 general election. He went on to win reelection to a second term in 1897. During his tenure, the civil service merit system was initiated; the Valentine Act was sanctioned; labor laws were improved; and a board of medical registration and qualification was formed. After declining to run for a third term, Bushnell retired from political life. He continued to stay active in his various business interests. Governor Asa S. Bushnell passed away on January 15, 1904, and was buried in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Springfield, Ohio.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The Ohio Historical Center