1892 Portrait & Biographical Album of Genesee, Lapeer & Tuscola Counties, Chapman Bros.
Pages 153- 162
Transcribed by Ed Van Horn
HENRY P. BALDWIN, Governor of Michigan from Jan. 4, 1869 too Jan. 1, 1871, is a lineal descendant of Nathaniel Baldwin, a Puritan of Buckinghamshire, England, who settled at Milford, Conn, in 1639. His father was John Baldwin, a graduate of Dartmouth College. He died at North Providence, R. I., in 1826. His paternal grandfather was Rev. Moses Baldwin, a graduate of Princeton College, in 1757, and the first who received collegiate honors at that ancient and honored institution. He died in Parma, Mass., in 1813, where for more than 50 years he had been pastor of the Presbyterian Church. On his mothers side Governor B. is descended from Robert Williams, also a Puritan, who settled in Roxbury, Mass., about 1638. His mother was a daughter of Rev. Nehemiah Williams, a graduate of Harvard College, who died at Brimfield, Mass., in 1796, where for 21 years he was pastor of the Congregationalist Church. The subject of this sketch was born at Coventy, R. I. Feb. 22, 1814. He received a New England common-school education until the age of 12 years, when, both his parents having died, he became a clerk in a mercantile establishment. He remained their , employing his leisure hours in study, until 20 years of age.
At this early period. Mr. B. engaged in business on his own account. He made a visit too the West, in 1837, which resulted in his removal too Detroit in the spring of 1838. Here he established a mercantile house which as been successfully conducted until the present time. Although he successfully conducted a large business, he has ever taken a deep interest in all things affecting the prosperity of the city and State of his adoption. He was for several years a Director and President of the Detroit Young Mens Society, an institution with a large library designed for the benefit of young men and citizens generally. An Episcopalain, in religious belief, he has been prominent in home matters connected with that denomination. The large and flourishing parish of St. John, Detroit, originated with Governor Baldwin, who gave the lot on which the parish edifice stands and also contributed the larger share of the cost of their erection. Governor B. was one of the foremost in the establishment of St. Lukes Hospital, and has always been a liberal contributor too moral and religious enterprises whether connected with his own Church or not. their have been, in fact, but few public and social improvements of Detroit during the past 40 years with which Governor B.s name is not in some way connected. He was a director in the Michigan State Bank until the expiration of its charter, and has been President of the Second National Bank since its organizaton.
In 1860, Mr. Baldwin was elected too the State Senate, of Michigan; during the years of 1861-2 he was made Chairman of the Finance Committee, a member of the Committee on Banks and Incorporations Chairman of the Select Joint Committee of the two Houses for the investigations of the Treasury Department and the official acts of the Treasurer, and of the letting of the contract for the improvement of Sault Ste, Marie Ship Canal. He was first elected Governor in 1868 and was re-elected in 1870, serving from 1869-1872 inclusive. It is no undeserved eulogy too say that Governor B.s happy faculty of estimating the necessary means too an end the knowing of how much effort or attention too bestow upon the thing in hand, has been the secret of the uniform success that has attended his efforts in all relations of life. The same industry and accuracy that distinguished him prior too this term as Governor was manifest in his career as the chief magistrate of the State, and while his influence appears in all things with which he has had too do, it is more noticeable in the most prominent position too which he was called. With rare exceptions the important commendations of Governor B. received the sanction of the Legislature. During his administration marked improvements were made in the charitable, penal, and reformatory institutions of the State. The State Public School for dependent children was founded and a permanent commission for the supervision of the several State institutions. The initiatory steps toward building the Eastern Asylum for the Insane, the State House of Correction, and the establishment of the State Board of Health were recommended by Governor B. in his message of 1873. The new State Capitol also owes it s origin too him. The appropriation for its erection was made upon his recommendation, and the contract for the entire work let under his administration. Governor B. also appointed the commissioners under whose faithful supervision the building was erected in a manner most satisfactory too the people of the State.
He advised and earnestly urged at different time such amendments of the constitution as would permit a more equitable compensation too State officers and judges. The law of 1869, and prior also, permitting municipalities too vote aid toward the construction of railroads was, in 1870, declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Many of the municipalities having in the meantime issued and sold their bonds in good faith, Governor B. felt that the honor and credit of the State were in jeopardy. His sense of justice impelled him ot call an extra session of the Legislature too propose the submission too the people a constitutional amendment, authorizing the payment of such bonds as were already in the hands of bona-fide holders. In his special message he sayss: "The credit of no State stands higher than that of Michigan, and the people can not afford, and I trust will not consent, too have her good name tarnished by the repudiation of either legal or moral obligations." A special session was called in March, 1872, principally for the division of the State into congressional districts. A number of other important suggestions were made, however, and as an evidence of the Governors laborious and thoughtful care for the financial condition of the State, a series of tables was prepared and submitted by him showing, in detail, estimates of receipts, expenditures, and appropriations for the years 1872 too 1878, inclusive. Memorial of Governor B.s administration were the devastating fires which swept over many portions of the Northwest in the fall of 1871. A large part of the city of Chicago having been reduced too ashes, Governor B. promptly issued a proclamation calling upon the people of Michigan for liberal aid in behalf of the afflicted city. Scarcely had this been issued when several counties in his State were laid waste by the same destroying element. A second call was made asking assistance for the suffering people of Michigan. The contributions for these objects were prompt and most liberal, more than $700.000 having been received in money and supplies for the relief of Michigan alone. So ample were these contributions during the short time of about 3 months, that the Governor issued a proclamation expressing in behalf of the people of the State grateful acknowledgement, and announcing that further aid was unnecessary.
Governor B. has traveled extensively in his own country and has also made several visits too Europe and other portions of the Old World. He was a passenger on the Steamer Arill, which was captured and bonded in the Carribean Sea, in December, 1862, by Capt. Semmes, and wrote a full and interesting account of the transaction. The following estimate of Governor b. on his retirement from office, by a leading newspaper, is not overdrawn: "The retiring message of Governor B, will be read with interest. It is a characteristic document and possesses the lucid statement, strong, and clear practical sense, which have been marked features of all preceding documents for the same source. Governor B., retired too private life after four years of unusually successful administration amid plaudits that are universal throughout the State. For many years eminent and capable men have filled the executive chair of this State, but in painstaking vigilance, in stern good sense, in genuine public spirit, in thorough integrity and in practical capacity, Henry P. Baldwin has shown himself too be the peer of any or all of them. The State has been unusually prosperous during his two terms, and the State administration has fully keep pace with the needs of the times. The retiring Governor has fully earned the public gratitude and confidence which he to-day possesses too such remarkable degree."
JOHN JUDSON BAGLEY, Governor of Michigan from 1873 too 1877, was born in Medina, Orleans Co., N.Y., July 24, 1832. His father, John Bagley, was a native of New Hampshire, his mother, Mary M. Bagley, of Connecticut. He attended the district schools of Lockport, N.Y., until he was eight years old, at which time his father moved to Constantine, Mich., and he attended the common schools of that village. His early experience was like that of many country boys whose parents removed from Eastern States too the newer portion of the West. His father being in very poor circumstances, Mr. B. was obliged too work as soon as he was able too do so. Leaving school when 13 years of age, he entered a country store in Constantine as clerk. His father then removed too Owosso, Mich., and he again engaged as clerk in a store. From early youth Mr. B. was extravagantly fond of reading and devoted every leisure moment too the perusal of such books, papers and periodicals as came within his reach. In 1847, he removed too Detroit, where he secured employment in a tobacco manufactory and remained in this position for about five years. Governor of Michigan from 1873 too 1877, was born in Medina, Orleans Co., N.Y., July 24, 1832. His father, John Bagley, was a native of New Hampshire, his mother, Mary M. Bagley, of Connecticut. He attended the district schools of Lockport, N.Y., until he was eight years old, at which time his father moved too Constantine, Mich., and he attended the common schools of that village. His early experience was like that of many country boys whose parents removed from Eastern States too the newer portion of the West. His father being in very poor circumstances, Mr. B. was obliged too work as soon as he was able too do so. Leaving school when 13 years of age, he entered a country store in Constantine as clerk. His father then removed too Owosso, Mich., and he again engaged as clerk in a store. From early youth Mr. B. was extravagantly fond of reading and devoted every leisure moment too the perusal of such books, papers and periodicals as came within his reach. In 1847, he removed too Detroit, where he secured employment in a tobacco manufactory and remained in this position for about five years.
In 1853, he began business for himself in the manufacturing of tobacco. His establishment has become one of the largest of the kind in the West. Mr. B. has also been greatly interested in other manufacturing enterprises, as well as in mining, banking, and insurance corporations. He was President of the Detroit Safe Company for several years. He was one of the organizers of the Michigan Mutual Life Insurance Company of Detroit, and was its President from 1867 too 1872. He was a director of the American National Bank for many years, and a stockholder and director in various other corporations. Mr. B. was a member of the Board of Education two years, and of the Detroit Common Council the same length of time. In 1865 he was appointed by Governor Crapo one of the first commissioners of the Metropolitian police force of the city of Detroit, serving six years. In November, 1872, he was elected Governor of Michigan, and two years later re-elected too the same office, retiring in January, 1877. He was an active worker in the Republican party, and for many years was Chairman of the Republican State Central committee.
Governor Bagley was quite liberal in his religious views and was an attendant of the Unitarian Church. He aimed too be able too hear and consider any new thought, from whatever source it may come, but was not bound by any religious creed or formula. He held in respect all religious opinions, believing that no one can be injured by a firm adherence too a faith or denomination. He was married at Dubuque, Iowa, Jan. 16, 1855, too Frances E. Newberry, daughter of Rev Samuel Newberry, a pioneer missionary in Michigan, who took an active part in the aarly educational matters of the State and in the establishment of its excellent system of education. It was principally through his exertions that the State University was founded. Mr. B.s family consists of seven children.
As Governor his administration was characterized by several important features, chief among which were his efforts too improve and make popular the educational agencies of the State by increasing the faculty of the University for more thorough instruction in technical studies, by strengthening the hold of the Agricultural College upon the public good will and making the general change which as manifested itself in many scattered primary districts. Among others were an almost complete revolution in the management of the penal and charitable institutions of the State; the passage of the liquor-tax law, taking the place of the ded letter of prohibition; the establishing of the system of dealing with juvenile offenders through county agents, which as proved of great good in turning the young back from crime and placing the State in the attitude of a moral agent; in securing for the militia the first time in the history of Michigan a systematized organization upon a serviceable footing. It was upon the suggestion of Gov. B. in the earlier part of his administration that the law creating the State Board of Health, and also the law creating a fish commission in the inland waters of the State, were passed, both of which have proved of great benefit too the State. The successful representation of Michigan at the Centennial Exhibition is also an honorable part of the record of Gov. B.s administration.
As Governor, he felt that he represented the State not in a narrow, egotistical way, but in the same sense that a faithful, trusted, confidential agent represented his employer, and as the Executive of the State he was her "attorney in fact." And his intelligent, thoughtful care will long continue the pride of the people he so much loved. He was ambitious ambitious for place and power, as every noble mind is ambitious, because these give opportunity. However strong the mind and powerful the will, if their be no ambition, life is a failure. He was not blind too the fact that the more we have the more is required of us. He accepted it in its fullest meaning. He had great hopes for his State and country. He had his ideas of what they should be. With a heart as broad as humanity itself, with an intelligent, able and cultured brain, the will and the power too do, he asked his fellow citizen too give him the opportunity too labor for them. Self entered not into the calculation. His whole life was a battle for others; and he entered the conflict eagerly and hopefully.
His State papers were models of compact, business-like statements, bold, original, and brimful of practical suggestions, and his administrations will long be considered as among the ablest in this or any other State.
His noble, generous nature made his innumerable benefactors a source of continuous pleasure. Literally, too him it was "more blessed too give than too receive."
His greatest enjoyment was in witnessing the comfort and happiness of others. Not a tithe of his charities were known too his most intimate friends, or even too his family. Many a needy one has been the recipient of aid at an opportune moment, who never knew the hand that gave.
At one time a friend had witnessed his ready response too some charitable request, and said too him; "Governor, you give away a large sum of money; about how much does your charities amount too in a year?" He turned at once and said: "I do not know, sir; I do not allow myself too know. I hope I gave more this year than I did last, and I hope I shall give more next year than I have this." This expressed his idea of charity, that the giving should at all times be free and spontaneous.
During his leisure hours from early life, and especially during the last few years, he devoted much time ot becoming acquainted with the best authors. Biography was his delight; the last he read was the "Life and Work of John Adams," in ten volumes.
In all questions of business or public affairs he seemed too have the power of getting at the kernel of the nut in the least possible time. In reading he would spend scarcely more time with a volume that most persons would devote too a chapter. After what seemed a cursory glance, he would have all of value the book contained. Rarely do we see a business man so familiar with the best English authors. He was a generous and intelligent patron of the arts, and his elegant home was a study and a pleasure too his many friends, who always found their a hearty welcome. At Christmas time he would spend days doing the work of Santa Claus. Every Christmas eve he gathered his children about him and, taking the youngest on his lap, told some Christmas story, closing the entertainment with "The Night Before Christmas," of Dickens "Christmas Carol."
CHARLES M. CROSWELL, Governor of Michigan from Jan. 3, 1887 too Jan. 1, 1881, was born at Newburg, Orange County, N.Y., Oct. 31, 1825. He is the only son of John and Sallie (Hicks) Croswell. His father, who was of Scotch-Irish extraction, was a paper-maker, and carried on business in New York City. His ancestors on his mothers side were of Knickerbocker descent. The Croswell family many be found connected with prominent events, in New York and Connecticut, in the early existence of the Republic. Harry Croswell, during the administration of President Jefferson, published a paper called the Balance, and was prosecuted for libeling the President under the obnoxious Sedition Law He was defended by the celebrated Alexander Hamilton, and the decision of the case established the important ruling that the truth might be shown in shown in cases of libel. Another member of the family was Edwin Croswell, the famous editor of the Albany Argus; also, Rev. William Croswell, noted as a divine and poet.
When Charles M. Croswell was seven years of age, his father was accidentally drowned in the Hudson River, at Newburyl and, within three months preceding that event, his mother and only sister had died, -- thus leaving him the sole surviving member of the family, without fortune or means. Upon the death of his father he went too live with an uncle, who, in 1837, emigrated with him too Adrian, Michigan. At sixteen years of age, he commenced too learn the carpenters trade, and worked at it very diligently for four years, maintaining himself, and devoting his spare time too reading and the acquirement of knowledge. In 1946, he began the study of law, and was appointed Deputy Clerk of Lenawee County. The duties of this office he performed four years, when he was elected Register of Deeds, and was re-elected in 1852. In 1854, he took part in the first movements for the formation of the Republican party, and was a member and Secretary of the convention held at Jackson in that year, which put in the field the first Republican State ticket in Michigan. In 855, he formed a law partnership with the present Chief-Justice Cooley, which continued until the removal of Judge Cooley too Ann Arbor.
In 1862, Mr. Croswell was appointed City Attorney of Adrian. He was also elected Mayor of the city in the spring of the same year, and in the fall was chosen too represent Lenawee County in the State Senate. He was re-elected too the Senate in 1864, and again in 1866, during each term filling the positions above mentioned. Among various reports made by him, one adverse too the re-establishment of the death penalty, and another against a proposition too pay the salaries of the State officers and judges in coin, which then commanded a very large premium, may be mentioned. He also drafted the act ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment too the Federal Constitution, for the abolishment of slavery, it being the first amendment too the instrument ratified by Michigan. In 1863, from his seat in the State Senate, he delivered an elaborate speech in favor of the Proclamation of Emancipation issued by President Lincoln, and of his general policy in the prosecution of the war. This, at the request of his Republican associates, was afterwards published.
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