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Robert McClelland

Gov. Robert McClelland

  • January 5, 1852 - March 7, 1853
  • Democratic
  • August 1, 1807
  • August 30, 1880
  • Pennsylvania
  • Dickinson College
  • Married Sarah E. Sabine; six children
  • Resigned
  • Representative, Cabinet secretary


ROBERT  McCLLELLAND, the ninth governor of Michigan, was born in Greencastle, Pennsylvania on August 1, 1807. His education was attained at Dickinson College, where he graduated in 1829. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1831, and then established his legal career in Pittsburgh. After moving to the Michigan Territory in 1833, McClelland entered into politics. He served in a prominent role at the 1835 Michigan Constitutional Convention, and was a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan in 1837 and 1850. He also served as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 1839 to 1840 and 1843, was speaker of the house in 1839 and 1843, and served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1843 to 1849. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1848 and 1852, as well as serving as a delegate to the 1850 Michigan Constitutional Convention. McClelland next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and went on to win election to the governorship on November 11, 1851. During his tenure, the state’s internal improvements continued to flourish. After securing an appointment as Secretary of the Interior, McClelland resigned from the governorship on March 7, 1853. He served in his cabinet position until March 3, 1857. In 1867 he served as a member of the Michigan Constitutional Convention. Governor Robert McClelland passed away on August 30, 1880, and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit, 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.

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

MARDOS Memorial Library

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