May 15, 1853 to April 27, 1857
“Willis Arnold Gorman takes office as the territory’s 2nd governor. As a U.S. Representative from Indiana, he supported Franklin Pierce in his successful bid for the presidency and was rewarded with the governorship of the Minnesota Territory.” *
“Democrat Franklin Pierce took office in March 1853 and replaced Ramsey with Willis as Minnesota territorial governor.” **
Today I told the Lord that this is a portion of our history that I don’t know much about. I don’t know about Gorman or why he was replaced. Some days I watch and pray and things flow easily. Others days it is difficult to see the significance of the event I’m meditating on.
After some research I found one plausible answer why the Governor Ramsey was replaced by Governor Gorman. The facts seem to indicate that he wrestled with balancing his interactions with the Ojibwe and with the powerful lumbering interests. Looks like he was caught in the middle; which master to serve? His waffling is documented below:
“This quagmire of incompetence and callousness went on for three years, while several hundred Indians died of starvation and disease.” ***
As to Governor Gorman’s temperament, he was a lifelong lawyer, and his character of self-restraint seemed better suited to the times. His legalistic disposition must have helped to find nuanced solutions for a government between a First Nation, and a booming timber industry. He was so dedicated to law that he returned to it after serving in the Civil War! There he remained, serving as St. Paul City attorney, for the rest of his life.
Thanks for Governor Gorman! In him, You brought a man who was even-keeled and suited to the issues of his days! Bless him and all leaders who calmly and deliberately serve their constituents!
As for Governor Ramsey, will You forgive his double-mindedness? We are humans just like him, and sometimes fail to be strong in our decisions. Irregardless of Your mercy, will You bring justice to all human suffering caused by his hesitancy? Will You bring restoration to the Ojibwe, both then, now, and into our future?
** Redix, Eric M., “The Murder of Joe White: Ojibwe Leadership and Colonialism in Wisconsin”.
*** Risjord, Norman K. “A Popular History of Minnesota”