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John J. Bagley

Gov. John J. Bagley

  • January 1, 1873 - January 3, 1877
  • Republican
  • July 24, 1832
  • July 27, 1881
  • New York
  • Married Francis E. Bagley; seven children


JOHN JUDSON BAGLEY was born July 24, 1832 in Medina, New York to a pioneering family. During his young life he spent his years in Lockport, NY, then Constantine, MI, and Owosso, MI before arriving in Detroit in 1847 at age 14. Before the automobile came to Detroit, the city attracted a number of industries; principally among them were cartmaking, shipping, stovemaking, lumbering, and tobacco production. It was with the lattermost industry that John J. Bagley established himself, first as an apprentice, then a salesman, then an agent, and finally a manufacturer with his own tobacco house of John J. Bagley & Co. Having amassed a small fortune in tobacco, Bagley turned his interests to politics. In 1855 he was elected to the Detroit Board of Education and there he was among the founding members of what would become the Republican Party of the United States, where he would later serve as chairman for 4 years. His other work included positions as Detroit alderman and a member of the Detroit Common Council and the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners, and organizer and president of Michigan Mutual Life Insurance Company. Bagley served as Governor of Michigan between 1873 and 1877. He encouraged the establishment of a state commission to regulate railroads, dealt with the matter of juvenile delinquency, and led the effort to establish the state Board of Health and the state Fish Commission. Bagley died in San Francisco three days after his 49th birthday.

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