CHARLES M. CROSWELL, the seventeenth governor of Michigan, was born in Newbury, New York on October 31, 1825. His early education was limited and attained in the common schools of his native state. After becoming an orphan at the age of seven, Croswell went to live his uncle in Adrian, Michigan, where he was a carpenter’s apprentice and studied law in his free time. Croswell entered public service in 1846, serving as the deputy clerk of Lenawee County. He served as the register of deeds from 1850 to 1854, and became actively involved in the formation of the Republican party in 1854. He also served as a member of the Michigan State Senate from 1862 to 1867, was the mayor of Adrian in 1862, served as chairman of the 1867 Michigan Constitutional Convention, and was a member and speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives from 1873 to 1874. Croswell next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and went on to win election to the governorship in 1876. He was reelected to a second term in 1878. During his tenure, election laws were improved; and the Eastern Asylum for the Insane was established, as well as the State House of Correction at Ionia. Also, a railroad strike and riot was successfully dealt with; the public debt was reduced; and construction on the state capitol building in Lansing was finished. After completing his term, Croswell left office on January 1, 1881, and retired from political life. Governor Charles M. Croswell passed away on December 13, 1886, and was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Adrian, Michigan.
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.