MICHIGAN TRAILS -
GENEALOGY and HISTORY

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Kingsley Scott Bingham
Michigan Governor 1855 - 1859

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Hon. Kinsley Scott Bingham late Governor of Michigan, and United States Senator, was born in Camillus, Onandaga County, New York, December 16, 1808. His father was a farmer, and his own early life was consequently devoted to agricultural pursuits; but, notwithstanding the disadvantages relative to the acquisition of knowledge in the life of a farmer, he managed to secure a good academic education in his native State, and studied law in the office of General James R. Lawrence, now of Syracuse, New York. In the spring of 1833, he married an estimable lady, who had recently arrived from Scotland; and, obeying the impulse of a naturally energetic and enterprising disposition, he immediately emigrated to Michigan, and purchased a new farm, in company with his brother-in-law, Mr. Robert Worden, in Green Oak, Livingston County. Here, on the border of civilization, buried in the primeval forest, our late law student commenced the arduous task of preparing a future home, clearing and fencing, putting up buildings, etc., at such a rate that the land chosen was soon reduced to a high state of cultivation. Becoming deservedly prominent, he was elected to the office of Justice of the Peace, and Postmaster, under the Territorial Government, and was the first Judge of Probate in the county. In the year 1836, when Michigan became a State, he was elected to the first Legislature. He was four times re-elected, and was Speaker of the House of Representatives three years. In 1846 he was elected, on the Democratic ticket, Representative in Congress, and was the only practical farmer in that body. He was never forgetful of the interests of agriculture, and was, in particular, opposed to the introduction of "Wood's patent cast-iron plow," which he completely prevented. He was re-elected to Congress in 1848, during which time he strongly opposed the extension of slavery in the Territories of the United States, and was committed to, and voted for, the Wilmot Proviso.

In 1854, at the first organization of the Republican party, in consequence of his record in Congress as a Free-soil Democrat, he was nominated and elected Governor of the State, and re-elected in 1856. Still faithful to the memory of his own former occupation, he did not forget the farmers during his administration; and, among other proofs of his zeal in their behalf, he became mainly instrumental in the establishment of the Agricultural College, at Lansing. In 1859 he was elected Senator in Congress, and took an active part in the stormy campaign in the election of Abraham Lincoln. He witnessed the commencement of the civil war, while a member of the United States Senate. After a comparatively short life of remarkable promise and public activity, he was attacked with apoplexy, and died suddenly, at his residence in Green Oak, October 5, 1861.

American Biographical History of Eminent and Self-Made Men with Portrait Illustrations on Steel, Vol. I-II 1878

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