19th Century, Civics, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Politics, State Government

Swift Becomes Governor


Jul 10, 1863 to Jan 11, 1864
Henry A. Swift takes office as the state’s third governor. Described by peers as gentle, self-effacing, and ambivalent toward politics, Henry Swift was Minnesota’s third governor for less than a year, completing the second term of Alexander Ramsey, who had been elected United States Senator. With little time or apparent inclination to effect major change, this un-elected governor concentrated on assuring the welfare of Civil War veterans.*

It’s difficult to ascertain which information is critical to convey about any historical event, let alone a single human life. On this day, I chose to scan the data I could easily find about Governor Swift, but remain listening to what the Holy Spirit prompted me to underscore.

This is what I’ve learned about him so far: he was very capable, he did his duty, and then he moved on. Below is an example, not unusual in party politics, where there is a hesitancy to take leadership.

“Republican party leaders nominated Swift for Sibley County’s state Senate seat, after another candidate refused the offer.” (Session Weekly, St. Paul: Minnesota House of Representatives Information Office, April 2, 1993, p. 16)

G-d Almighty, thank for those, like Swift, who do their part and then get out of the way. Thank you for leaders uncorrupted by power and authority. Thank you for his example of humble governing. May his successes be amplified, his failures forgiven, and his generations be blessed by Jesus’ authority. Amen!

“HENRY A. SWIFT, the third governor of Minnesota, was born in Ravenna, Ohio on March 23, 1823. His education was attained at Western Reserve College, where he graduated in 1842 with high honors. He then studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1845. Swift entered a career in public service in 1846, serving as the assistant clerk of the Ohio House of Representatives, a position he held until 1847. He also served as chief clerk of the Ohio House of Representatives in 1848. After moving to Minnesota in 1853, Swift established a career in the real estate and insurance business. He returned to politics in 1862, winning election to the Minnesota State Senate, a position in which he also served as senate president. As senate president, Swift assumed the office of lieutenant governor in 1863. On July 10, 1863, Governor Alexander Ramsey resigned from office, and Swift, who was the lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. During his tenure, the state’s population increased; and a treaty with the Chippewa Indians was negotiated that resulted in the acquisition of substantial land. After declining to run for a term of his own, Swift left office on January 11, 1864. He later secured an appointment as registrar of the St. Peter Land Office, a position he held from 1865 to 1869. Governor Henry A. Swift passed away on February 25, 1869, and was buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Ravenna, Ohio.”

For more specific information regarding Governor Swift, see the link below:

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!


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