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Russell Alexander Alger

Gov. Russell Alexander Alger

  • January 1, 1885 - January 1, 1887
  • Republican
  • February 27, 1836
  • January 24, 1907
  • Ohio
  • Married Annette Henry; nine children
  • Senator, Cabinet secretary
  • Army


RUSSELL A. ALGER, the twentieth governor of Michigan, was born in Lafayette, Ohio on February 27, 1836. His education was limited and attained at the Richfield Academy. After being orphaned at the age of eleven, Alger worked on a farm and attended school in the winter months. He later studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1859. During the Civil War, Alger enlisted as a private in the Union Army, and rose to the rank of major general by the time of his discharge in 1865. Alger first entered politics in 1884, winning his election to the Michigan governorship. During his tenure, a state board of pardons was created; a soldier’s home in Grand Rapids was founded; two new counties were formed; and the Michigan College of Mines was established.  After completing his term, Alger left office on January 1, 1887. He continued to stay politically active, serving as a presidential elector on the 1888 Republican ticket. He also served as the U.S. Secretary of War from 1897 to 1899, and served as a member of the U.S. Senate from 1902 to 1907. Governor Russell A. Alger passed away on January 24, 1907, 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.

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