MICHIGAN TRAILS -
GENEALOGY and HISTORY

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John Judson Bagley
Michigan Governor 1873 - 1877

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John Judson Bagley, Governor of Michigan from 1873 to 1877 was born in Medina, Orleans Co. NY, July 24, 1832. His father, John Bagley, was a native of New Hampshire, his mother, Mary M.(Smith) Bagley, of Connecticut. He attented the district school of Lockport NY until he was 8 years old, at which time his father moved to Constantine MI 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 to the newer portion of the West. His father being in very poor circumstances, Mr. B. was obliged to wrok as soon as he was able to do so. Leaving school when 13 years of age he entered a country store in Constantine as clerk. His father then removed to Owosso MI and he again engaged as clerk in a store. From early youth Mr. B. was extravagantly fond of reading and devoted every leisure moment to the perusal of such books,papers and periodicals as came within his reach. In 1847 he removed to 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 larget 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 wsa one of the organizers of hte Michigan Mutual Life Insurance Company of Detroit and was its President from 1867 to 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 apointed by Governor Crapo one of the first comissioners 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 was re-elected to 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 to be able to 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 to a faith or denomination. He was married at Dubuque Iowa, Jan. 16, 1855 to Frances E. Newberry, daughter of Re.v Samuel Newberry, a pioneer missionary of Michigan, who took an active part in the early 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, he felt that he represented the State - not in a noarrow, egotistical way, but in the same sense that a faithful trusted, confidental agent represents his employer. His noble, generous nature made his innumerable benefactors a sources of continuous pleasure. Literally, to him it was "more blessed to give than to receive."
Portraits & Biographical Northern Michigan

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Another short bio from "Biographies of Notable Americans 1904"

John Judson Bagley, governor of Michigan, was born at Medina, N.Y., July 24, 1832. He removed to Constantine, Mich., in 1840; attended the public schools; established a tobacco factory in Detroit in 1854, and held various public offices, in that city and positions of trust in many large corporations and banks. From 1868 to 1870 he acted as chairman of the Republican state committee, and in 1872 was elected governor of Michigan. He was re-elected in 1874 and served, 1873-77. As governor he established a fish commission, a board of health, placed the boys in the reform schools on their honor, and introduced other reforms. He was married in 1855 to Frances E., daughter of the Rev. Samuel Newberry of Vermont. She was a member of the English society for the promotion of Hellenic study, of the Arch├Žological institute of America and the Anthropological society of Washington, and of the Egyptian exploration society. She died in 1898. He died in San Francisco, Cal., July 27, 1881.

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