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Henry Adoniram Swift

Gov. Henry Adoniram Swift

  • July 10, 1863 - January 11, 1864
  • Republican
  • March 23, 1823
  • February 25, 1869
  • Ohio
  • Western Reserve College
  • Married Ruth Livingston; five children
  • Succeeded


HENRY A. SWIFT, the third governor of Minnesota, was born in Ravenna, Ohio on March 23, 1823. His education was attained at Western Reserve College, where he graduated in 1842 with high honors. He then studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1845. Swift entered a career in public service in 1846, serving as the assistant clerk of the Ohio House of Representatives, a position he held until 1847. He also served as chief clerk of the Ohio House of Representatives in 1848. After moving to Minnesota in 1853, Swift established a career in the real estate and insurance business. He returned to politics in 1861, winning election to the Minnesota State Senate, a position in which he also served as senate president. As senate president, Swift assumed the office of lieutenant governor in 1863. On July 10, 1863, Governor Alexander Ramsey resigned from office, and Swift, who was the lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. During his tenure, the state’s population increased and a treaty with the Chippewa Indians was negotiated that resulted in the acquisition of substantial land. After declining to run for a term of his own, Swift left office on January 11, 1864. He later secured an appointment as registrar of the St. Peter Land Office, a position he held from 1865 to 1869. Governor Henry A. Swift passed away on February 25, 1869 and was buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Ravenna, Ohio.


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.

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