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Prominent Minnesotans

Follow the links below to the Minnesota Historical Society's online catalog and finding aids for full descriptions.

Alexander Ramsey

Alexander Ramsey was appointed Minnesota's first territorial governor (1849-1853) and then elected as second governor of the state (1860-1863). He was in Washington, D.C., in 1861 at the time the Civil War began, and as governor offered the first volunteer regiment for the Union Army. In 1863 Ramsey was elected by the state legislature to the U.S. Senate and resigned the governorship.

Alexander Ramsey and Family Personal Papers and Governor's Records, 1829-1965

Ramsey Family Papers, 1814-1939

See also Ramsey's Gubernatorial records in the State Archives Governor's Records collection.


Ignatius Donnelly

Ignatius Donnelly was a townsite speculator at Nininger (Dakota County, Minnesota), politician, author, editor and publisher of three newspapers, lieutenant governor of Minnesota (1860-1863), member of Congress (1863-1869), member of the Minnesota Senate (1874-1878, 1891-1893) and House (1887, 1897), and a national leader in third-party movements.

Ignatius Donnelly and Family Papers, 1812-1973 (bulk 1855-1901)


 

William Watts Folwell

William Watts Folwell was a philologist who served as lieutenant colonel in the Fiftieth New York Volunteer Engineers during the Civil War.  He later became the president emeritus (1907-1929) of the University of Minnesota and authored two histories of Minnesota, among other positions and achievements.

William Watts Folwell and Family Papers, 1769-1933 (bulk 1855-1901)


 

William G. LeDuc

William Gates LeDuc was a lawyer who served as Quartermaster during the Civil War and was instrumental in opening the Union “cracker line” in late 1863. He would later be appointed U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture during the Hayes administration (1877-1881).

William Gates LeDuc and Family Papers, 1760-1967 (bulk 1858-1976)

 


 

General John B. Sanborn

John B. Sanborn was a lawyer and politician who served as state representative (1859-1860, 1872) and state senator (1861, 1891-1893) before being appointed State Adjutant General in 1861. He then served as colonel of the Fourth Minnesota Regiment (December 1861), and was promoted through the ranks to brevet major general by 1865.

John B. Sanborn Papers, 1854-1898


 

Henry H. Sibley

Henry H. Sibley was a fur trader, entrepreneur, and Minnesota governor.  In 1862 he was appointed colonel in command of the expedition against the Dakota after the onset of the U.S.-Dakota War, and in 1863 he commanded an expedition against the Dakota in Dakota Territory.

Henry H. Sibley Papers, 1815-1932



 

Horatio P. Van Cleve

Horatio P. Van Cleve served with the United States Fifth Infantry Regiment in the 1830s and was appointed colonel of the Second Minnesota Regiment in 1861.  Van Cleve was in charge of Union forces at Murfreesboro, Tennessee from 1863 to 1865. After his muster out in 1865, he returned to Minnesota and served as the state's Adjutant General.

Horatio P. Van Cleve and Family Papers, 1827-1970


 

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