Hennepin County, Minnesota

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Biographies "W-X"


Charles E. Wales
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal (1897) submitted by Diana Heser Morse

Mr. Wales is president of the Pioneer Fuel Company, of Minnesota. He is the son of William W. and Katherine (Bundy) Wales. The father is a native of North Carolina, and was born in Iredell County, March 4, 1818. He removed to Greensboro, Indiana, in 1845, where he engaged in the drug business. It was at this place, three years later, he married the mother of the subject of this sketch. In 1851 he migrated to the North Star state, locating at St. Anthony, and engaged in the book and stationery business. This business he conducted successfully until 1884, since which time he has been engaged in missionary work, much of his time being devoted to missionary labors among the mountaineers in his native state, this work being in accordance with a cherished plan of his early life. While a resident of St. Anthony Mr. Wales was a member of the Minnesota Territorial Council; was city clerk for several years, and also served as a member of the school board for a long time. He was postmaster at St. Anthony, now East Minneapolis, under President Lincoln's administration, and was twice mayor of the city. He was active in religious work, and was a member of the Society of Friends. His son Charles is a Minnesotian by birth. His primary education was received in the public schools of East Minneapolis. The first dollar he ever earned was by selling newspapers, in this capacity developing early the habits of economy and the sagacity which he later exhibited in business life. His first regular employment was in connection with the first coal business established in Minneapolis, and ever since that time Mr. Wales has been actively engaged in the business then established. Being a believer in specialties in business as well as in the professions, and also believing that the field in the coal trade was sufficiently broad, he concentrated his entire energy to that line of business, and with such satisfactory results that the company which he represents stands at the front, not only with the people throughout the Northwest, but also with the financial institutions, producers and carriers in the East. The company is successor to the first coal business established in Minneapolis, and is very appropriately named the Pioneer Fuel Company. Ever since its incorporation Mr. Wales has been its president. From a local business of a few hundred tons annually the company's business has been extended until now it amounts to many hundred thousands of tons, representing millions of dollars. The company has large shipping wharfs at Duluth, Minnesota, and Gladstone, Michigan, on which the coal is stocked during the season of lake navigation for distribution throughout the Northwest. In connection with these wharves the company also has large storage yards in the principal Northwestern cities. The large business of this company has demanded the outlay of a very large capital, and a complete organization in the details. Mr. Wales has devoted his time so closely to the coal trade, and has been so fully occupied in this way that he has avoided responsibilities in other directions. He has been a long-life Republican, and is a member of the principal clubs, business organizations and Masonic bodies. By birth Mr. Wales is a member of the Society of Friends, but he is also a contributor to and a frequent attendant at other churches. Mr. Wales is a widower and has one child, Charles Raymond Wales.


Thomas Barlow Walker
Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal, 1897 - transcribed by AJ

Thomas Barlow Walker is one of the most honored names in the city of Minneapolis, where he is known not so much for his large fortune as for his numerous philanthropies, public and private. Mr. Walker was born February 1, 1840, at Xenia, Ohio, the second son of Platt Bayless and Anstis K. Barlow (Walker). His maternal grandfather was Hon. Thomas Barlow, of New York. When the subject of this sketch was a child his father fitted out a train for the newly discovered gold fields in California, investing all his means in that enterprise. While on his way to California he fell a victim to the cholera scourge. This threw the lad upon his own resources and the remainder of his boyhood was a hard struggle with poverty. He had a natural aptitude for study, however, and notwithstanding the adversity which he suffered managed to acquire an excellent education. From his ninth to his sixteenth year he attended only short terms in the public schools. At that time his family removed to Berea, Ohio, for the better educational advantages to be attained at Baldwin University. Here he was obliged to devote most of his time to a clerkship in a country store in order to support himself, so that he was able to attend the university only term of each year. His industry and capacity were such, however, that he soon outstripped many of the regular students. At nineteen he was employed as traveling salesman by Fletcher Hulet, manufacturer of the Berea grindstones. His travels brought young Walker to Paris, Illinois, where he became engaged in the purchase of timber land and in cutting cross ties for the Terre Haute & St. Louis Railroad. Unfortunately, after eighteen months of successful work, he was robbed of nearly all his earnings through the failure of the railroad company. He then returned to Ohio and during the next winter taught a district school with much success ad was subsequently elected to the assistant professorship of mathematics in the Wisconsin State University. This position he was obliged to decline, however, because of arrangements already made to enter the service of the government survey. While at McGregor, Iowa, Mr. Walker chanced to meet J. M. Robinson, a citizen of the then young but thriving town of Minneapolis. Mr. Robinson presented the attractions and prospects of the young city with such persuasive eloquence that Mr. Walker determined at once to settle there, taking passage on the first steamboat for St. Paul and bringing with him a consignment of grindstones. There he met an unusually intelligent and energetic young man employed by the transportation company as clerk and workman on the wharf, of whom he has bee a firm and trusted friend ever since. That young man was James J. Hill. From St. Paul Mr. Walker came over the only railroad in the state, to Minneapolis, and within an hour after his arrival entered the service of George B. Wright, who had a contract to survey government lands. The surveying expedition was soon abandoned owing to an Indian outbreak, and returning to Minneapolis Mr. Walker devoted the winter to his books having desk room in the office of L. M. Stewart, an attorney. The following summer was occupied in examining the lands for the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. In the fall he returned to his Ohio home at Berea, where he was married December 1, 1863, to Harriet G., the youngest daughter of Hon. Fletcher Hulet, a lady whose name is a synonym in Minneapolis for good works. Returning to Minneapolis, Mr. Walker entered upon an active career which made him not only a participant in but the chief promoter of many good works and enterprises in this city. In the summer of 1864 he ran the first trial line of the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad, after which he gave attention for years to the government survey. In 1868 he began to invest in pine lands and thus laid the foundation for the large fortune which he subsequently acquired. His first partners in the business were L. Butler and Howard W. Mills under the firm name of Butler, Mills & Walker, the first two furnishing the capital while Mr. Walker supplied the labor and experience. This led also to the extensive manufacture of lumber by the old firm of Butler, Mills & Walker, afterwards L. Butler & Co., and later Butler & Walker. Of later years his most important operations in this regard have been his large lumber mills ar Crookston and Grand Forks, both of which have been leading factors in the development of the Northwest. Mr. Walker's business career has been characterized by strict integrity and honorable dealing, but he has not been content to acquire money simply. At the time of the grasshopper visitation he not only labored for the immediate relief of the starving but organized a plan for the raising of late crops which were of inestimable value. One of the most creditable examples of his public spirit and munificent influence was his organization of the public library. It was due to his effort that this institution became a public instead of a private collection and was made available to the public without even so much as a deposit for the privilege of using the books. To him also the city owes more than to any one else the possession of the magnificent library building which it now owns. As would seem right and proper under the circumstances, Mr. Walker has been continuously president of the library board since its organization in 1885, to the present time. To him also is due the credit for the inception and principal support of the School of Fine Arts, of which society he is president. Mr. Walker's love for art is fully exemplified in the splendid collection of pictures in his own private gallery, a collection which has few if any equals in this country, among private individuals. His home library is also an evidence of the scholarly taste and studious habits of its owner. The Minnesota Academy of Natural Sciences is another institution much indebted to him for its part support and present fortunate situation. Not the least important of the services rendered by him to Minneapolis is his devotion to the building up of the material interest of the city in the line of manufactures, jobbing, etc. It was through his instrumentality that there was organized the Business Men's Union, which has accomplished a great deal for the material interests of the city. The Minneapolis Land and Investment Company is another institution at the head of which Mr. Walker stands and upon which he has expended much time and money. This enterprise is located a short distance West of the city, where a company organized by Mr. Walker purchased a large tract of land and established a number of important industries. This manufacturing center is directly tributary to Minneapolis and will no doubt in the course of a few years become a part of the city. The Flour City National Bank was organized in 1887, and a year later Mr. Walker was elected, without his knowledge or consent, to the office of president. He accepted the duties and responsibilities of his position, against his protest, and discharged them until January 1, 1894, when he peremptorily resigned. Three years ago Mr. Walker also organized a company of which he is president for the construction of the Central City Market, probably one of the finest market buildings in the United States. This necessarily brief sketch but imperfectly outlines the numerous activities and beneficent public services of a man who has been identified very largely with nearly every good work and public enterprise in the city of Minneapolis. No man was ever more favored in the marriage relation. Mrs. Walker has been the inspiration and participant of her husband's useful and successful life, and as a leader in every philanthropic effort had brought honor to his name.


Johan Axel Wallin
[Source: A History of The Swedish-Americans of Minnesota, A. E. Strand, Vol. 3, page 789-799 submitted by Robin Line]
Johan Axel Wallin, an organist and music teacher of Minneapolis, was born August 10, 1874, at Lennas parish, Nerike, Sweden. His father, Johan Fredrik Wallin, was born June 13, 1842, in Oja parish, Sodermanland; he served as a parish teacher and organist thirty-one and a half years, and twenty-three years as postmaster at Lennas, and then resigned, with a pension. In 1885 he took a position as book-keeper in Lennas Savings Bank, which he still holds. He was married, in 1868, to Anna Gustafva Engelina Rosenquist, and their children are: Anna, born in 1869, a music teacher in Philadelphia; Carl, born in 1870, living in Sweden; Elin, born in 1872, is a teacher in Gothenberg, Sweden; Johan Axel; Richard, born in 1876, succeeded his father as teacher and organist in Lennas; Fred, born in 1878, is manager of the Koberg Estate, in Smaland; Astrid, born in 1880, a teacher in Sweden; Hjalmer, born in 1882, at home with his parents; and Signe, born in 1891, also living at home.

Johan Axel Wallin attended the public schools and studied music with his father until 1891, when he emigrated to the United States. He remained three years in Rockford, Illinois, earning a livelihood at different kinds of employment and studying music. In 1894 he went to Knox College, at Galesburg, where for two and one-half years he took an academic and musical course.

In 1896 Mr. Wallin came to Minneapolis, where he has since been successfully employed in teaching music and as church organist. The first year he served as organist in the Swedish Mission church in Northeast Minneapolis, and a year later was appointed organist in the large Swedish Lutheran Emanuel church, which post he still fills. He has earned an enviable reputation as organist, and has a fine patronage besides, having some sixty pupils in music. He is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and of the Swedish Lutheran Emanuel church. He resides with his family at 1318 Madison street, Northeast, where he has purchased a comfortable home.

Mr. Wallin was married, in 1899, to Charlotta Wahlquist, born in 1879 in Sweden, and daughter of Claes Wahlquist, now a farmer in Nickerson, Minnesota. To this union five children have been born, namely: George, born April 26, 1900; Genevieve, born July 8, 1902; Margaritte, November 1, 1904; Stanley, October 27, 1906; and Quentin, July 2, 1908. Mr. Wallin is well known outside of his professional duties, and has a large circle of friends. He is considered a public spirited, representative citizen of Minneapolis.


Edmund Rowe Ward
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal (1897) submitted by Diana Heser Morse

Mr. Ward has been a resident of Minneapolis only since January 9, 1895, but he has found it a profitable field for his business, and has been highly successful in his capacity as manager of the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company of Hartford, in Minnesota. Mr. Ward is a native of Ontario, Canada, and was born in Oxford county, April 10, 1853, the son of Benjamin and Sarah Hill Ward. The father was a farmer, and Edmund grew up on the farm, attending the county schools. He left the farm at the age of twenty-six, and first learned the carpenter and joiner's trade, which occupation he followed in Saginaw, Michigan, until 1889. Part of his time his business was that of builder and contractor, under the firm name of Denny & Ward, and part of the time as president of the Co-operative Building Association in Saginaw. It was not until 1889 he took up the business of life insurance as a solicitor. Since that time his advancement has been rapid, as follows: Six months after beginning the business he was appointed state special agent for the Union Central Life Insurance Company. Six months later he was advanced to the position of district general agent for the same company, under which contract he handled a large part of the company's assets in the way of loans, and made a success of it. On June 1, 1891, he resigned his position with the Union Central to accept an offer from the Phoenix Mutual Life of Hartford, as special traveling agent. The first of the following January, 1892, he was appointed assistant manager for the same company in Michigan. In June of the same year he was appointed executive special agent for the same company for Michigan and Ohio. In January, 1895, he was offered his present position as manager for Minnesota for the Phoenix Mutual Life and accepted it. His success for 1895, as shown by the insurance commissioner's report, was very encouraging, having written three times as much business as the company had received in any preceding year, while his business for 1896 exceeds that of 1895 by more than an hundred per cent. Mr. Ward is president of the Minneapolis Association of Life Underwriters and vice-president of the National Association of Life Underwriters. He is a member of Minneapolis Lodge, No. 19, A. F. & A. M.; also a member of the Minneapolis Commercial Club. He was married in 1872 to Elizabeth A. Dell, of St. Mary's, Ontario. They have two children, Robert E. and Maud H. P.


Nathaniel Freeman Warner
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. (Shutter, Marion Daniel, 1853-ed.) Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Journal (1897) Submitted by Diana Heser Morse

The name which stands at the head of this sketch is well known in Minneapolis. Major Warner, as he is generally known, was born April 18, 1848, in New York city. His father was George Freeman Warner, and his mother, Julia Frances Wilgus (Warner). On the paternal side he is a descendant of German stock, and on the maternal side from a Holland family. Both his grandfathers were officers in the American Revolutionary war. Nathaniel came with his father to Minneapolis in 1856. He was then only eight years old. He attended the public schools, and afterwards Carleton college. On leaving school he worked with his father in the furniture and undertaking business until 1869, when he crossed the plains with a party exploring a route for the Northern Pacific railroad. On his return home he joined a surveying and exploring party which went to the Upper Mississippi, where he spent considerable time prospecting and exploring. At this time he brought home with him some fine specimens of iron ore from what is now the Mesaba iron range. He also pre-empted a claim in the same district, which was the first claim taken up within probably forty miles of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and he became well acquainted with the language of the Indians. After returning home he engaged in the undertaking business, and has been in the same occupation ever since, and located in the same place for over twenty years. Major Warner possesses an active mind and contributes liberally to the papers published in the interest of the funeral directors. He is the president of the Funeral Directors' Association of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and has been for the past six years. Mt. Warner is also a member of the board of managers in the Sons of the American Revolution. He is a member of the Minneapolis Board of Trade, past chancellor of the Knights of Pythias, past noble arch of Druids, past arch of the Druidic Circle, past commander of the Legion of Honor, also of the Select Knights A. O. U. W.; also past president of the Veterans' Association. He is also a member of the National Guard of the state and a charter member of Minneapolis Lodge, No. 44, Brotherhood of Elks. Mr. Warner organized the first company of National Guards in the state. This was the Minneapolis Light Infantry, now Company A, National Guard. This company was formed June 16, 1878. Mr. Warner has since organized two cavalry companies. The first was Warner's Light Dragoons, the second was Troop A, Minnesota Light Cavalry. He was captain of each, and was afterwards elected major in command. Major Warner is also an honorary member of the First Minnesota Volunteer Association, having been presented by them with a fine gold corps badge of the second corps. His ancestors settled in Schoharie County, New York, in the early days, coming there from Hamburg, Germany. The place where they settled was given the family name, and is still known as Warnersville. The father of the subject of this sketch is a retired merchant, a man of considerable wealth, and is the president of the Diamond Iron Mine Company, which owns thousands of acres of the most valuable properties on the Mesaba iron range. His wife, mother of the subject of this sketch, was the daughter of Nathaniel Wilgus, of Buffalo, New York. The Wilgus family came from Holland. Major Warner is an honorary member of several military organizations. He is a man of cultivated literary and artistic tastes, is a collector of curios, and possesses a very attractive library. It is rich in rare works, particularly art publications. He has also a fine collection of war relics and natural history specimens, stuffed animals, heads and other curios. In 1878 Major Warner was married to Miss Elizabeth Sullivan, of Minneapolis. She died in 1883, leaving a daughter, Mary Ellen. In 1887 Mr. Warner was married again to Miss Anna P. Haskins, of Minneapolis. They have two daughters, Callie Pearl and Frances Wilgus.


Cadwallader C. Washburn
[Source: Encyclopedia of Biography of Minnesota, History of Minnesota by Judge Charles E. Flandreau, 1900, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]

No State of equal age and population has made a larger contribution to the glory and opulence of the Nation than the far-off State of Maine. Her gift is in stalwart men of superior intellectual endowments, praise worthy ambition, moral and physical courage. And in the clear light of impartial history the family name of Washburn is easily the most eminent, in the beneficence and duration of public service, and the progressive development and judicious conservation of material resources. Cadwallader Colden Washburn was the fourth in a family of seven brothers, born at Livermore, Maine, and the aggregate official public service of five of these brothers covers a period of eighty-five years. One became a major general in the Union army, two foreign ministers, two Governors, and four members of Congress. The eldest, Israel, represented his district in the State of Maine for ten years in Congress, served his State as Governor one term, and filled the office of collector of the port at Portland for twelve years; the fourth, Charles A., served for seven years as minister to Paraguay under an appointment by President Lincoln; the third, Elihu B., represented an Illinois district in Congress for twenty years, was the first Secretary of State in Grant's cabinet, and served by appointment of Grant eight years as minister to France; the youngest brother and the only one living, represented the Minneapolis district in Congress several times, and served one term in the United States Senate. Both of the grandfathers, Israel Washburn and Samuel Benjamin, were soldiers of the Revolution. C. C. Washburn, with whose deeds this sketch is concerned, was born April 22, 1818. His boyhood was passed at work on his father's farm, helping in his father's general store and attending the district school, in which he qualified himself for teaching by the time he had reached the age of seventeen. From that time until his majority was attained, he was employed as teacher at Wicasset, not far from his home. The habit of industry was supported by the habit of frugality, so that he was able to save a part of the small salary earned by a common school teacher sixty years ago; and this little accumulation comprised his entire financial capital when he started west to make his fortune, on arriving at the age of twenty-one. He first located at Davenport, Iowa, where he taught a private school for three months, and then for a year was employed by the commission in making a geological survey of the State. Having formed the resolution to study law, he entered the law office of Joseph R. Wells, in Rock Island, Illinois, under whose instruction the text books were studied. Incidentally he accepted the office of surveyor of Rock Island county, the income of which assisted in paying his expenses while prosecuting his studies. When qualified for practice he was admitted to the bar and located at Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Soon afterwards he formed a partnership with Cyrus Woodman, representing the New England Land Company, with abundant capital, and the firm of Washburn & Woodman opened up and conducted a lucrative business, which combined dealing in real estate, entering government lands, examining and perfecting titles, and locating Mexican war land warrants. The law and real estate business were very profitable, and Mr. Washburn invested his accumulations of capital wisely in timber lands, which became the foundation of a colossal fortune. In 1871 he erected at La Crosse mammoth saw-mills, with superb modern equipment, and engaged in the manufacture of lumber on a scale theretofore unequalled even in Wisconsin. Mr. Washburn's capacity and fitness for political affairs were recognized early, and in 1854 he was elected to represent his district in Congress, and discharged the duty with such acceptability as to be re-elected in 1856, and again in 1858, serving in the 34th, 35th and 36th Congresses. After dropping out during the war for service in the Union army, he was elected to the 40th and 41st Congresses. It is a singular coincidence that among the colleagues of C. C. Washburn in Congress before the war were two of his elder brothers - Israel, who represented the Penobscot District of Maine, and Elihu, who represented the Galena District of Illinois. In October, 1861, he raised the Second Regiment of Wisconsin Cavalry, with which he went to the front as the colonel commanding. Within a year his distinguished military service was rewarded with a major general's commission. He continued in the field until the surrender of the principal Confederate armies signalized the early termination of the war, and resigned to devote his undivided energies to his vast commercial interests, soon to be augmented by large industrial and manufacturing enterprises in lumbering camps, in rafts and in saw-mills. His fellow-citizens manifested their partiality by keeping him in the public service with comparatively short intermissions. Re-elected to Congress in 1866, and again in 1868, he was advanced to the Governorship of Wisconsin at the close of his fifth Congressional term by an election in 1871. His executive ability qualified him in an eminent degree for the administrative and executive duties of Governor, while his substantial integrity and conscientious regard for the obligations of a public trust assured the purity of his administration. Governor Washburn had the breadth of grasp, the clearness of perception, the calm foresight and the strenuous application which crowned his large undertakings with abundant success. He was a leader in establishing and developing the flour milling industry at Minneapolis, and among the first to introduce the Hungarian system known as the roller process of manufacturing flour, since adopted by all the best mills throughout the country. The Washburn Mills, destroyed by fire in 1878, were rebuilt with a capacity and completeness unknown before in the history of the world. Mr. Washburn's name is inseparably associated with the fame of Minneapolis, because largely through his instrumentality it enjoys distinction as the greatest flour-producing center of the world. He was a good man, eminently practical and useful; hospitable to fresh thoughts and new ideas. He was generous, tolerant, charitable, public-spirited. He gave the Washburn observatory to the University at Madison, and the Free Public Library to La Crosse. As a memorial to his mother, he left in his will $375,000 for the erection and endowment of the Washburn Orphan's Home in Minneapolis. In recognition of modesty and virtue he donated to the Catholic Sisters, for educational uses, his beautiful home at Edgewood, near Madison. His beneficence was conceived in a catholicity of spirit, and directed by intelligent sympathy and wise foresight, so as to conserve and distribute its blessings in the years and centuries to follow.


William D. Washburn
[Source: Encyclopedia of Biography of Minnesota, History of Minnesota by Judge Charles E. Flandreau, 1900, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]

It is the privilege of few citizens of any commonwealth to exercise as wide an influence upon its affairs, and to touch its life at so many points, as has William Drew Washburn in his more than forty years' residence in Minnesota. Coming here as a pioneer, before Statehood had been attained, he has been a part of the wonderful development of four decades - has seen the State change from a mere scattered group of frontier settlements to a well peopled community holding a leading position in agriculture, manufactures and commerce, and the village in which he made his home, in 1857, become the chief city of the State. Through this period of evolution Mr. Washburn has been a forceful influence in most of those lines of endeavor which have made the State and city so conspicuously successful. He was early identified with the improvement of the water power which became the nucleus of the manufacturing greatness of Minneapolis, and no one was more influential in fostering and promoting the manufactures of the new State both by wise encouragement and by example. Later he became interested, also, in other lines of business, and took a most prominent part, through railroad construction, in opening the lines of commerce. During his long business career he has had a part in the financial and investment interests of the city and State, and in the later manufacturing enterprises. Organized public work has found in him a leader and supporter at all times. Mr. Washburn's activity in the promotion of public interests had much to do with his political successes, and in political life he has been peculiarly fortunate in supplementing his other labors by giving In the Northwest some of its most important public works. In the course of his public career Mr. Washburn has been a factor in local, State and National politics, affecting Minnesota life from every possible political standpoint. And while the State has felt his influence in all these diverse directions, his own city has been aware of his presence as a constant force in more social questions; in such matters as public and private charities, education, the church, the improvement of the city, the maintenance of lofty standards in those things which make for the higher life of the community. In democratic America, where ancestry counts for but little as a factor in success, there is still a just cause for worthy pride in descent from those who made American conditions possible, or in family relation with men who have been conspicuous in the service of the Nation. As a descendant of old Pilgrim stock, and as one of a group of brothers who constituted perhaps the most distinguished family contemporaneously in public life in the United States. Mr. Washburn might be pardoned for a large degree of family pride. The first Washburns in America were John Washburn, secretary of the council of Plymouth, and his son John, who came to this country with him. The latter married Elizabeth Mitchell, the daughter of Experience Mitchell and Jane Cook, and granddaughter of Francis Cook, who came over in the Mayflower in 1620. The family had originally lived, probably for many generations, in the village of Evesham, not far from Stratford on Avon, in one of the most beautiful parts of England. Israel Washburn, born in 1784, was directly descended from these Puritan ancestors. His father served in the Revolution, as did the father of his wife, Martha Benjamin, whom he married in 1812. Mrs. Washburn's father was Lieut. Samuel Benjamin, a patriot of whose valor and persistence in his country's cause it need only lie said that he participated in the Battle of Lexington and fought through the whole war to Yorktown, where he was present at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. Few of the soldiers who fought for American independence saw, as did Lieutenant Benjamin, the first and last battles of the great struggle. Israel and Martha Washburn made their home on a farm in Livermore, Maine, and it was here that their large family was reared. To the parents' influence, to the stern training of farm life in the Maine "back woods," to the inheritance of patriotism and love of achievement, and to their own steadfast endeavor, is due in very large measure the wonderful success of the group of boys born in this Maine farm home. There was little of material advantage to be found surrounding these boys during their early life. The father was no more successful than the average New England farmer, but he was an alert, intelligent man, a reader, a man of hard common sense and with the largest ambitions to give to his sons every opportunity for success. Of the mother it is said that she "was a practical housekeeper, industrious, frugal, sagacious, stimulating to the children's consciences, sincerely religious withal, and hence gave those under her precious charge an unalterable bent towards pure and lofty ends." It was in such a home that eleven children were born, of whom the seven sons have achieved worthy prominence in public life. In his "Triumphant Democracy" Andrew Carnegie says of this group of men:

"Their career is typically American. The Washburns are a family indeed, seven sons, and all of them men of mark. Several of them have distinguished themselves so greatly as to become a part of their country's history. The family record includes a Secretary of State, two Governors, four Members of Congress, a major general in the army and another second in command in the navy. Two served as Foreign Ministers, two as State Legislators, and one as Surveyor General. As all these services were performed during the Civil War, there were Washburns in nearly every department of State, laboring camp and council for the Republic, at the sacrifice of great personal interests."

As the youngest child in the family, William D. Washburn had, in addition to the influence of his parents, the stimulation of the example of his brothers who were already entering public life while he was a school boy. Israel Washburn, Jr., was elected to Congress in 1850, when William, who was born in 1831, was but nineteen years of age. The young men had already become prominent in Maine State politics, and Israel, after serving four terms in Congress, was elected War Governor of his native State. Elihu B. Washburn served as Congressman from Illinois from 1853 to 1869, when he was appointed Secretary of State by President Grant. During the Franco-Prussian war he was Minister Plenipotentiary to France. Cadwallader C. Washburn was in Congress both before and after the war, was a general in the Union army, and in 1871 was elected Governor of Wisconsin. Charles A. Washburn was minister to Paraguay; Samuel R. Washburn was a distinguished officer in the navy. Beyond what has been said of his early influences there was little that was distinctive about the boyhood of Mr. Washburn. It was the common experience of the son of a New-England farmer, the district school in the winter and farm work in the summer. As he grew old enough to take a heavier part in the farming, the school months of the year became fewer. Short terms at a village "high school" and neighboring academies supplemented the district school experiences, and finally at Farmington Academy he was able to prepare for college. In the year 1850, when he was nineteen, he entered Bowdoin College, that honored alma mater of such men as Hawthorne, Longfellow, William P. Fessemlen, President Franklin Pierce, Chief Justice Fuller, Senator John P. Hale, General O. O. Howard and Thomas B. Reed - and graduated four years later with the bachelor's degree, after completing a full classical course. The succeeding three years were devoted to the study of law in the office of his brother, Israel Washburn, Jr., and with Judge John A. Peters, now and for many years past Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Maine. During this period he spent part of his time in Washington performing the duties of a clerk in the House of Representatives, where he obtained his first acquaintance with the affairs of Congress and with the public men of that time. Two of Mr. Washburn's brothers had already made their home in the West, and upon completing his law studies he determined to follow their example. It was not difficult to decide upon a location. Liverinore had already sent men to the Falls of St. Anthony, and his brothers, Elihu and Cadwallader, had acquired interests there and elsewhere in Minnesota. It seemed a place with a greater future than any other western settlement. The young man believed that he saw in it a held worthy of his energies; but it is hardly probable that his highest flights of fancy pictured the Minneapolis of today as a possibility during his own lifetime. On May 1, 1857, Mr. Washburn reached Minneapolis and shortly after opened a law office. The contrast between the town in which he settled and the city of today is striking. The population was then perhaps 12,000 as compared with over 200,000 in 1899; there were about two hundred buildings of all kinds in the village, and few of them were worth more than $1,000. There were no railroads, and the great manufacturing industries of the present time were represented by one or two small mills. Into this scattered collection of frame buildings there was pouring, however, a stream of immigrants, and speculation and building were keeping the people busy. There seemed every prospect of coming prosperity. But that stability necessary for security during financial difficulties had not been attained, and the same summer saw such reverses as to make the outlook very dismal. Mr. Washburn arrived just in time to experience, with the town of his choice, all the troubles of the panic of 1857. There was little law business to be hail, and soon after his arrival he became the secretary and agent of the Minneapolis Mill Company, the corporation controlling the west side power at the Falls of St. Anthony. This was a most fortunate appointment for Minneapolis as well as Mr. Washburn. It brought into immediate exercise in behalf of the village those extraordinary executive faculties which have ever since been so continuously devoted to the interests of the city. To Mr. Washburn it gave the opportunity for familiarizing himself with the possibilities of manufacturing at the falls, which was the basis of his future success. Later generations in Minneapolis are entirely unfamiliar with the extent of the debt of the city to Mr. Washburn, incurred during these early days. With that characteristic energy and determination which has since become so well known to the people of the city, he commenced the improvement of the power controlled by his company. During 1857 the original dam on the west side was built, this in the midst of great financial embarrassments. It was a tremendous struggle, a great load to be laid on the shoulders of a man then but twenty-six years of age. But dam and raceway were finally completed. The young agent shrewdly guessed, however, that his battle was only half won. On the east side of the river there was a better power with more eligible mill sites; but the policy of its managers discouraged new enterprises. Mr. Washburn decided that the west side works must have mills, and he at once adopted a liberal policy and leased mill powers, now commanding a yearly rental of $1,500, as low as $133 per annum, to persons who would establish mills. The plan worked admirably. Everyone knows now how the flour mills gathered about the west side raceway until there was built up the greatest group in the whole world. Until the industries at the falls were put upon a firm foundation, Mr. Washburn remained the agent of the company, and he has always maintained a large interest in it. He has never been out of touch with the manufacturing interests of the State since that first summer's work at the Falls of St. Anthony. Receiving, in 1861, the appointment of Surveyor General at the hands of President Lincoln, it became necessary for Mr. Washburn to remove to St. Paul for a time. It was while in this office that his friends acquired the habit of prefixing the title "General" to his name; a custom so well established that it has continued through all the various offices which he has held. While Surveyor General, Mr. Washburn became familiar with the timber resources of the State, and, purchasing considerable tracts, afterwards engaged extensively in the lumber business. He formed the firm of W. D. Washburn & Co., built a saw mill at the falls, and later one at Anoka, and until 1889 carried on a very large lumber business. In 1873 he entered flour milling, and speedily became an important factor in the production of that Minneapolis staple. His interests in flour manufacturing were through the original firm of W. D. Washburn & Co. and Washburn, Crosby & Co. The firm of W. D. Washburn & Co. subsequently, in 1884, was merged in the Washburn Mill Company, and in 1889 the flour milling division of this business was consolidated with the Pillsbury interests in the Pillsbury- Washburn Flour Mills Company, forming the largest flour milling corporation in the world. At this time there were large accessions of English capital, but Mr. Washburn retained, as he does at this time, a large interest, and has been continuously one of the board of American directors of the properties. The Minneapolis Mill Company was also consolidated with the new corporation which afterwards completed the work of harnessing the power of St. Anthony Falls by the construction of a new dam and power house a short distance below the main falls. This rapid sketching of what would seem a life work for any man, gives, however, but one side of the business activities of Mr. Washburn, his interest in developing the two leading industries of Minnesota. It has been said of one of the greatest of Englishmen that while many men "think in parishes" and a few "think in nations," he "thinks in continents." Applying this thought to business it might be said that while many men think in single lines of trade, a few think in the broad lines of general manufacturing or jobbing, while only a very limited number think through the whole question of producing, distributing, financing and transporting. To the latter class Mr. Washburn belongs, he has, from time to time, and very much of the time, had considerable interest in the financial institutions of Minneapolis, in wholesale trade, in real-estate. But aside from his influence in the development of manufacturing his most conspicuous undertakings, and those in which the public has been most interested, have been the great railroad projects which he has successfully consummated. The early railroad system of the State had developed along such lines that Mr. Washburn, with other Minneapolis business men, felt the need of a railroad running towards the south, which would afford transportation direct to Minneapolis, and which should be controlled in the interests of Minneapolis. The result was the Minneapolis & St. Louis railroad carried through, during the seventies, very largely by the efforts of Mr. Washburn, who was its president for some time. The end desired having been accomplished, he retired from the management, and early in the eighties commenced to agitate the subject of a line direct to tidewater and completely independent of the domination of Chicago interests. The project as a startling one, fascinating by its very audacity; to build five hundred miles through an unsettled wilderness to a connection with a foreign railroad, to do this to free the city from the detrimental effects of combinations in the interests of competitors! To be financially successful the projected railroad must depend largely upon its through business, and that class of business must be mostly export flour and wheat, and Minneapolis flour exporting had then but partially developed. But there was a Washburn behind the plan, and it went through. The road was built in five years, the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie. And, since, it has been extended westward through Minnesota and North Dakota to another connection with the Canadian Pacific, thus giving Minneapolis another transcontinental line. Mr. Washburn was president of the "Soo" line during its construction and until his election to the Senate, he still retains large interests and has been continuously a director. In fact, the Soo line without Mr. Washburn would be, to use the familiar simile, like the play of Hamlet with Hamlet left out. After a dozen years of the enjoyment of the benefits derived from the Soo-Canadian connection with the East, the people of Minnesota have come, perhaps, to accept it unthinkingly and without remembering the tremendous difficulties which its construction involved, or the splendid energy and ability with which its chief promoter carried out the project. General Washburn's commercial activities continue, his penchant for pioneering finding abundant scope just now in the development of a tract of some 115,000 acres of land in North Dakota through which he is building a railroad. Those qualities in Mr. Washburn which have made him a successful railroad builder, a great manufacturer and a shrewd developer of new country have contributed in large measure to his success in political life. The ability to "think in continents" marks the successful man in public life as certainly as it does the winner in business. A broad conception of the commercial needs of the Northwest and a well developed creative faculty, together with those qualities of mind and manner which aid in controlling and winning men, made Mr. Washburn unusually successful in his public service to the State and Nation. He was first called to hold office in 1858, when he was elected to the Minnesota Legislature, then a newcomer in the State and but twenty-seven years of age. Three years later he received from President Lincoln the appointment of Surveyor General of Minnesota. In 1866 he was chosen to the school board of Minneapolis, and assisted in the early development of the school system so prized by the people of the city. The year 1871 found him again in the State Legislature, using his rapidly growing influence in the support of legislation looking to State supervision and control of railroads. By this time it was conceded that he was to take a foremost position in Minnesota politics, and in 1873 his friends nearly secured his nomination for Governor of the State. After the decisive vote in the convention it was claimed by Mr. Washburn's friends that two ballots had not been counted. These would have changed the result, but Mr. Washburn refused to contest the nomination. In 1878 he commenced six years of continuous service in Congress, terminating only when he declined re-nomination for the fourth term on account of his intention to concentrate his attention upon the Soo railroad project, which he had just then commenced. The completion of the Soo line in 1888 made it possible for him to withdraw from executive management of the enterprise and become a candidate for the United States Senate, to which office he was chosen in the following year. Again, in 1895, he was a candidate, but was not elected. Trusting in the very positive assurances of even those who afterwards opposed him, that there would be no opposition to his candidacy, he had confidently expected re-election, and frankly admitted his great disappointment. He would, under no circumstances, have reappeared as a candidate had he known of the opposition which was to develop. In this as in all cases where he has not been "on top" in a political struggle, Mr. Washburn quietly accepted the situation; he has never been a "sore head" or posed as a disgruntled politician. When Mr. Washburn went into Congress in 1878 he was equipped for service as no other Northwestern representative had ever been. To a wide acquaintance with public men and a familiarity with methods and usages at Washington, he added a thorough knowledge of the country which he was to represent, not only a political knowledge, but also a comprehensive view of its commercial needs. As has been said, he had been largely instrumental in developing the two great manufacturing industries of the State, and, with twenty years of study, was familiar, in the minutest details, with their requirements in the way of transportation, development of power and supply of raw materials. It had been his pleasure as well as a necessity of his business to study agricultural conditions. He saw the interdependence of all the interests of the Northwest, and grasped the great principles which have since been generally recognized as underlying the permanent prosperity of Minnesota and the neighboring States. In Congress he set about working out the fulfillment of ideas which had been gradually taking form, and the accomplishments of the twenty years since he entered that body have been prolific in the fruit of the score of years of earlier experience and study. As far back as 1869 Mr. Washburn had conceived the plan of impounding the flood waters of the upper Mississippi river in great reservoirs near the headwaters. It was an adaptation of the plan in use on the Merrimac river in New England. But it was far more comprehensive in form and had four purposes in view, where the New England scheme had but one. Mr. Washburn had observed the destructive work of the floods in the Mississippi and the contrast afforded by the periods of extreme low water, when navigation was seriously impeded. To mitigate the floods and at the same time save the surplus of water for use in seasons of drouth was the central thought. But all the results were not for the benefit of navigation and the protection of farmers along the river banks. There was a large traffic in logs on the river. The navigation of the Mississippi by the common saw-log was quite as important as that of the steamer. To save the logs from being swept away by floods or "hung up" on sand bars in low water was an important part of the impounding scheme. Again, the water of the Mississippi was used for power at Minneapolis and other points. In flood times vast quantities of water went to waste; in low water seasons the volume was not sufficient for the needs of the mills. An equalization of the flow was thus of the greatest importance to navigation, the farmers, the loggers, and the manufacturers. Having the project in mind as one sure to be realized some day, Mr. Washburn, in 1869, purchased of the Government the forty acres at Pokegama Falls, on the upper Mississippi river, which his judgment told him would be required for the key of the system. When the project was finally approved and entered upon, Mr. Washburn conveyed this land to the Government without charge. It was ten years after his conception of the plan that Mr. Washburn commenced his campaign in Congress. Like all projects calling for large appropriations, it required persistent endeavor; but finally he had the satisfaction of seeing the system of dams and reservoirs completed, a system which has been of untold benefit to the interests above mentioned. Early in his Congressional career he also commenced to give careful attention to the needs of navigation upon the Mississippi from the standpoint of direct improvements of the channel, and secured many appropriations for the work on the upper river. He laid the foundations for the appropriations for the locks and dams immediately below Minneapolis, which, when completed, will give Minneapolis direct navigation to the gulf and all the great tributaries of the Mississippi. But there were still broader questions under consideration. Mr. Washburn had a keen appreciation of the relations of the Great Lakes to the commercial development of the Northwest. He saw distinctly that this great water route to and from the seaboard was the key to the commercial problem of his State. Cheap transportation would make possible such a development of farming and manufacturing as had never been conceived of. To secure the cheapest transportation, however, there must be free and unobstructed channels through the lake system of such depth that vessels of modern build might pass without detention. And so, as a member of the committee of commerce, Mr. Washburn secured the first appropriation for the improvement of the Hay Lake channel in the Sault Ste. Marie river, the beginning of the great "twenty-foot" project which has since made possible the navigation of the lakes by a fleet of vessels carrying a commerce unequaled on any waterway in the world. While these great projects received much of Mr. Washburn's thought while in the House, he was by no means unmindful of the special needs of his district; his success in looking after its interests being amply testified to by the frequent renominations which came to him. Among the most important items of his special work for Minneapolis was the bill for a public building, which he successfully promoted early in the eighties. These material matters, important and engrossing as they were, did not interfere with Mr. Washburn's participation in all national questions which came before Congress during his terms of office. He had always been a student of public affairs. Though a life-long and consistent Republican, he has a vein of independence in his make-up which has been perhaps developed through a settled habit of looking at things in their broader aspects rather than from the point of view of the politician who sees only the immediate political effects. This habit of thought has brought him from time to time into apparent variance with his party; but it has usually been acknowledged, afterwards, that he was right. Perhaps the best example of this political characteristic of Mr. Washburn was his opposition to the so-called "force bill" while in the Senate. It will be remembered that the Lodge bill received the support of the Republican Senators, excepting about half a dozen "Silver Republicans," who had formed a combination with the Democrats, and that Mr. Washburn was the only Senator on that side of the house who opposed the measure. Believing that it was wrong in principle, and that it would not accomplish what it aimed to do, he voted against it, and received unstinted criticism from the party press for his independence of thought and action. The years which have passed since this episode have served to show that Mr. Washburn was right. There are probably few men in the Republican party to-day who would favor such a measure as that proposed by Senator Lodge. Mr. Washburn does not pretend to flowery oratorical powers; he relies upon plain and earnest statements and sound logic and reasoning. And in presenting a question in this way he is very successful. And so, while not among the Congressmen whose voices are heard on every topic, he has been heard with the greatest respect when he has spoken on the floor of the House or Senate Chamber. During his Senatorial term he made two very elaborate speeches, which would have given him a very wide reputation had he never taken any other part in Congressional debates. One of these efforts was in support of the anti-option bill, the championship of which measure made Senator Washburn for a time the most conspicuous figure in the Senate. Believing profoundly in the principle that the buying and selling of that which did not exist was contrary to the laws of economics, and in practice injurious to business and morals, while it worked enormous detriment to the agricultural interests of the country, Mr. Washburn threw himself into the fight for the measure with a whole-souled energy which could have but one result. For four months the bill was the unfinished business in the Senate. It was a battle royal with enormous monied interests to contend with; but the victory was finally won. Senator Washburn's principal speech in support of this bill attracted wide attention in this country and abroad. The bill was throttled in the House and Mr. Washburn believes there has been a loss of hundreds of millions to the country, for which the leaders of the House, who prevented the votes, are responsible. By far the most elaborate and carefully prepared speech which Mr. Washburn delivered while in the Senate was that upon the revenue bill of 1894, when he argued against the repeal of the reciprocity provisions secured by Mr. Blaine in 1890. This speech on "reciprocity and new markets" was one of the most comprehensive discussions of the reciprocity principle, the development of the commerce of the United States during its two years of trial, and the future possibilities of the system, which was ever made in Congress. While bringing statistics to show the trade relations with all American nations, Mr. Washburn gave special attention to Cuba, showing the wonderful increase in trade with that island under the reciprocal treaty with Spain. It was, of course, a foregone conclusion that the Democratic Congress would repeal the reciprocity agreements, but Mr. Washburn's speech revealed in all its baldness the certain result of such action, results which followed speedily and surely. Prolonged absence at times, from his home city have not prevented Mr. Washburn and his family from filling a large place in the social life of Minneapolis. As soon as he had established himself in his new home Mr. Washburn returned to Maine, where, April 19, 1859, he was married to Miss Lizzie Muzzy, daughter of the Hon. Franklin Muzzy, a Bangor manufacturer and a man prominent in the political life of the State. A modest home was established in Minneapolis, and here their children, four sons and two daughters, passed their early childhood. Realizing that increasing fortune brought with it increased obligation, Mr. Washburn some years ago purchased a beautiful tract of land and erected a mansion surrounded by most attractive grounds. This home, which was named "Fair Oaks," has become not only a center of social attraction, but an object of pride in a city where beauty of surroundings and the refinements of life are most highly appreciated. October 24, 1859, a meeting was held in the village of Minneapolis for the purpose of organizing a Universalist Church. On this occasion Mr. Washburn occupied the chair, and his connection with the Church of the Redeemer dates from that meeting. It was at first a struggling society; it is now one of the leading churches of the denomination in the country. In its early vicissitudes and its later prosperity it has continually had reason to remember Mr. Washburn's constant generosity, for in his church connection, as in all other matters, he has been liberal in his contributions where there has been evidence of need and worthy object to be accomplished. Of Mr. Washburn's religious beliefs there could be no better testimony than this, from one in a position to know whereof he speaks:

"Mr. Washburn is modest and sparing in his religious professions, but deep-rooted in his religious convictions. His father and mother were earnest Universalists, and he inherited their faith. To this he has been as loyal as to the other parental examples. His creed is pretty well summed up in the words. "Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man." The broad spirit he shows elsewhere blossoms in his thoughts on spiritual matters. His daily prayer must be, in substance that all men may one day be good, pure republicans of this world and saints in the next. Freedom for all and Heaven for all are his mottoes."

The same excellent authority describes his friend in these words:

"In personal appearance Mr. Washburn may be considered a very elegant gentleman. Neat and fashionable in his attire, symmetrical in form, inclining to slimness, erect, of more than medium height, clear-cut features, and bright, earnest eyes, graceful in movement, correct in speech, he impresses one even at first as a person who has had always the best surroundings. He is dignified in manner, and is not indifferent to style in whatever pertains to him. If on any occasion he shows abruptness of language and is slightly overbearing, difficult to be approached, by strangers especially, it is owing generally and chiefly to the thorns of business he feels at the moment pricking him or to want of time to be himself. Hurry sometimes trips politeness."

The latter part of this estimate seems at present inaccurate, however true it may have been when written, at a time when Mr. Washburn was carrying vast loads of care both commercial and political. It may be that the progress of years has softened a manner which still retains, however, all its characteristic dignity. Mr. Washburn has traveled much. It is almost a necessity to a man of his temperament to see what is going on in the world outside the limits of his home city or State. He has from time to time visited every part of the United States, Mexico, Cuba and Canada. Six times he has visited Europe, on one of these pilgrimages extending his journeyings to Egypt and the Nile, and on another seeing Norway and Sweden, the "Land of the Midnight Sun," and Russia. Three years ago he spent six months in China, Japan and other oriental countries, and would have completed the "round the world" tour had it not been for the prevalence of the plague in India. In travel Mr. Washburn finds that continued education and those broadening influences which every intelligent man welcomes throughout his life. He has also found such rest from the cares of a life of much more than ordinary activity and responsibility that he is, at the age of sixty-eight, still in his prime, and bears himself with the air of a man much his junior. He is to-day, as he has always been, a growing man. His interest in public affairs is unabated, and the attention which is paid to his views was very recently evidenced, when an interview, in which he denounced the trust evil, was quoted and commented upon from one end of the English speaking world to the other.

William Drew Washburn
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. (Shutter, Marion Daniel, 1853-ed.) Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Journal (1897) transcribed by Vicki Bryan

William Drew Washburn is a member of the celebrated Washburn family of Maine, a family whose members have included a secretary of state, two governors, four members of congress, a member of the United States senate, a major-general in the army, two foreign ministers, two state legislators, one surveyor general and one second in command in the United States navy - a family of which three members, from three different states, were in congress at the same time. But William Drew does not owe his claim to distinction to the attainments of his brothers. He has made his own record. His birthplace
was Livermore, Androscoggin County, Maine, where he was born January 14, 1831. His early advantages, though limited compared with those enjoyed by the sons of parents in ordinary circumstances in these days, were after all favorable to his development along the line which he afterward followed. He attended the district school and had for his teachers Timothy O. Howe, afterwards United States senator from Wisconsin, and Leonard Swett, afterward a prominent lawyer in Chicago, and the man who nominated Lincoln for president in the convention of 1860. He also attended the high school in the village and finally prepared for college at Farmington, Maine. He entered Bowdoin College in the fall of 1850. Upon the completion of his college course he began the study of law in the office of his brother Israel, and from there he went into the office of Honorable John A. Peters, in Bangor, present chief justice of the supreme court of Maine. It was in the winter of 1856 and 1857 that Mr. Washburn determined to go West. He selected as his location St. Anthony Falls, and reached that village May 1, 1857. He opened a law office, but pursued his profession only about two years. In the meantime he had perceived that there were better opportunities in other lines of effort, and in the fall of 1857 he was elected agent of the Minneapolis Mill Company and began improving the Falls of St. Anthony on the west side of the river. He served in that capacity for ten years. About this time he engaged in the lumbering business and built the Lincoln saw mill on the falls, and also an extensive mill at Anoka. He also became interested extensively in the manufacture of flour, and was the principal owner of flouring mills which were afterwards incorporated with the Pillsbury properties and consolidated under the name of the Pillsbury-Washburn Milling Company. Mr. Washburn has always been active in the promotion of important public enterprises, and it was due to his energy and enterprise that the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad was built, commencing in 1869. Mr. Washburn was made president of the road, and retained that position for a number of years. But, perhaps, the most conspicuous example of his services to the public in that direction was projecting and constructing the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railroad, built originally from Minneapolis to Sault Ste. Marie, where it connected with the Canadian Pacific, forming an independent competitive line to New York and New England, and rendering a service of incalculable benefit to the whole Northwest by the great reduction in rates which it secured on all traffic between Minneapolis and the Atlantic Coast. This road was completed on the 1st of January, 1888. It has since been extended westward to a connection with the Canadian Pacific, near Regina, and constitutes an important link in the transcontinental Canadian Pacific system. Mr. Washburn has always been an active and consistent Republican, and has served his city and state in various important positions. He was elected to the Minnesota state legislature in 1858 and again in 1871. President Lincoln selected him for surveyor general of the district of Minnesota in 1861. In 1878 he was elected to Congress, and again in 1880 and in 1882, serving six consecutive years. He took high rank in that body, and was regarded as one of its most influential and successful members. After his retirement from Congress he devoted his time for a number of years to the diligent prosecution of his extensive private business, and it was during this time that the road to the "Soo" was built, with Mr. Washburn serving as president of the company, and managing the finances of that important enterprise. In 1888 he was elected to the United States senate, and served six years in that capacity. His previous experience in national legislation, his wide acquaintance and his grasp of affairs soon secured for him recognition as one of the half dozen leading members of that body. He was made chairman of the committee on the improvement of the Mississippi river, and was thus enabled to exercise an important influence in the protection and completion of an important work undertaken by him when a member of the lower house. It was while he was a member of the house that he secured appropriations for the construction of reservoirs at the head of the Mississippi river, a piece of public work which has contributed enormously to the improvement of navigation and the prevention of the disastrous floods which, for many years, wrought such havoc along the line of that great river. Probably no man has served his state in a public capacity who has more to show for his efforts in the public behalf than has W. D. Washburn. Always among the foremost in the promotion of every kind of enterprise tending to benefit his city and state, the three most conspicuous monuments to his sagacity and public spirit are the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad, the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railroad and the reservoirs at the head waters of the Mississippi. Another enterprise which promises to be of equal importance with any of these, if not greater, is the construction of government dams and locks at Meeker Island, between Minneapolis and St. Paul, by which the river is to he made navigable for the largest river boats to the Falls of St. Anthony, and by which an enormous water power will be developed. The inauguration of this enterprise is due to .Senator Washburn, the appropriations for the initial work having been obtained by him during his term in the senate. This important public work is now in progress of construction. Although well advanced in years, Mr. Washburn is a well preserved man, and is still in possession of all his faculties, and in the enjoyment of the most perfect physical health, with the prospect of many years of usefulness yet to come. Mr. Washburn was married April 19, 1859, to Miss Lizzie Muzzy, daughter of Hon. Franklin Muzzy, a prominent citizen of Maine. He has provided for his family of sons and daughters an elegant home in the city of Minneapolis. The house is one of the most stately and imposing in the country, and occupies a commanding site near the center of the city, where it is the pleasure and privilege of his hospitable wife to entertain, liberally and gracefully, their many friends. Mr. and Mrs. Washburn are members of the Church of the Redeemer, Universalist, and are liberal in their public and private charities.

- - [Source: Encyclopedia of Biography of Minnesota, History of Minnesota by Judge Charles E. Flandreau, 1900, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]
It is the privilege of few citizens of any commonwealth to exercise as wide an influence upon its affairs, and to touch its life at so many points, as has William Drew Washburn in his more than forty years' residence in Minnesota. Coming here as a pioneer, before Statehood had been attained, he has been a part of the wonderful development of four decades - has seen the State change from a mere scattered group of frontier settlements to a well peopled community holding a leading position in agriculture, manufactures and commerce, and the village in which he made his home, in 1857, become the chief city of the State. Through this period of evolution Mr. Washburn has been a forceful influence in most of those lines of endeavor which have made the State and city so conspicuously successful. He was early identified with the improvement of the water power which became the nucleus of the manufacturing greatness of Minneapolis, and no one was more influential in fostering and promoting the manufactures of the new State both by wise encouragement and by example. Later he became interested, also, in other lines of business, and took a most prominent part, through railroad construction, in opening the lines of commerce. During his long business career he has had a part in the financial and investment interests of the city and State, and in the later manufacturing enterprises. Organized public work has found in him a leader and supporter at all times. Mr. Washburn's activity in the promotion of public interests had much to do with his political successes, and in political life he has been peculiarly fortunate in supplementing his other labors by giving In the Northwest some of its most important public works. In the course of his public career Mr. Washburn has been a factor in local, State and National politics, affecting Minnesota life from every possible political standpoint. And while the State has felt his influence in all these diverse directions, his own city has been aware of his presence as a constant force in more social questions; in such matters as public and private charities, education, the church, the improvement of the city, the maintenance of lofty standards in those things which make for the higher life of the community. In democratic America, where ancestry counts for but little as a factor in success, there is still a just cause for worthy pride in descent from those who made American conditions possible, or in family relation with men who have been conspicuous in the service of the Nation. As a descendant of old Pilgrim stock, and as one of a group of brothers who constituted perhaps the most distinguished family contemporaneously in public life in the United States. Mr. Washburn might be pardoned for a large degree of family pride. The first Washburns in America were John Washburn, secretary of the council of Plymouth, and his son John, who came to this country with him. The latter married Elizabeth Mitchell, the daughter of Experience Mitchell and Jane Cook, and granddaughter of Francis Cook, who came over in the Mayflower in 1620. The family had originally lived, probably for many generations, in the village of Evesham, not far from Stratford on Avon, in one of the most beautiful parts of England. Israel Washburn, born in 1784, was directly descended from these Puritan ancestors. His father served in the Revolution, as did the father of his wife. Martha Benjamin, whom he married in 1812. Mrs. Washburn's father was Lieut. Samuel Benjamin, a patriot of whose valor and persistence in his country's cause it need only he said that he participated in the Battle of Lexington and fought through the whole war to Yorktown, where he was present at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. Few of the soldiers who fought for American independence saw, as did Lieutenant Benjamin, the first and last battles of the great struggle. Israel and Martha Washburn made their home on a farm in Livermore, Maine, and it was here that their large family was reared. To the parents' influence, to the stern training of farm life in the Maine "back woods," to the inheritance of patriotism and love of achievement, and to their own steadfast endeavor, is due in very large measure the wonderful success of the group of boys born in this Maine farm home. There was little of material advantage to be found surrounding these boys during their early life. The father was no more successful than the average New England farmer, but he was an alert, intelligent man, a reader, a man of hard common sense and with the largest ambitions to give to his sons every opportunity for success. Of the mother it is said that she "was a practical housekeeper, industrious, frugal, sagacious, stimulating to the children's consciences, sincerely religious withal, and hence gave those under her precious charge an unalterable bent towards pure and lofty ends." It was in such a home that eleven children were born, of whom the seven sons have achieved worthy prominence in public life. In his "Triumphant Democracy" Andrew Carnegie says of this group of men:

"Their career is typically American. The Washburns are a family indeed, seven sons, and all of them men of mark. Several of them have distinguished themselves so greatly as to become a part of their country's history. The family record includes a Secretary of State, two Governors, four Members of Congress, a major general in the army and another second in command in the navy. Two served as Foreign Ministers, two as State Legislators, and one as Surveyor General. As all these services were performed during the Civil War, there were Washburns in nearly every department of State, laboring camp and council for the Republic, at the sacrifice of great personal interests."

As the youngest child in the family. William D. Washburn had, in addition to the influence of his parents, the stimulation of the example of his brothers who were already entering public life while he was a school boy. Israel Washburn, Jr., was elected to Congress in 1850, when William, who was born in 1831, was but nineteen years of age. The young men had already become prominent in Maine State politics, and Israel, after serving four terms in Congress, was elected War Governor of his native State. Elihu B. Washburn served as Congressman from Illinois from 1853 to 1869, when he was appointed Secretary of State by President Grant. During the Franco-Prussian war he was Minister Plenipotentiary to France. Cadwallader C. Washburn was in Congress both before and after the war, was a general in the Union army, and in 1871 was elected Governor of Wisconsin. Charles A. Washburn was minister to Paraguay; Samuel B. Washburn was a distinguished officer in the navy. Beyond what has been said of his early influences there was little that was distinctive about the boyhood of Mr. Washburn. It was the common experience of the son of a New England farmer - the district school in the winter and farm work in the summer. As he grew old enough to take a heavier part in the farming, the school months of the year became fewer. Short terms at a village "high school" and neighboring academies supplemented the district school experiences, and finally at Farmington Academy he was able to prepare for college. In the year 1850, when he was nineteen, he entered Bowdoin College - that honored alma mater of such men as Hawthorne, Longfellow, William P. Fessenden, President Franklin Pierce, Chief Justice Fuller, Senator John P. Hale, General O. O. Howard and Thomas B. Reed - and graduated four years later with the bachelor's degree, after completing a full classical course. The succeeding three years were devoted to the study of law in the office of his brother, Israel Washburn, Jr., and with Judge John A. Peters, now and for many years past Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Maine. During this period he spent part of his time in Washington performing the duties of a clerk in the House of Representatives, where he obtained his first acquaintance with the affairs of Congress and with the public men of that time. Two of Mr. Washburn's brothers had already made their home in the West, and upon completing his law studies he determined to follow their example. It was not difficult to decide upon a location. Livermore had already sent men to the Falls of St. Anthony, and his brothers, Elihu and Cadwallader, had acquired interests there and elsewhere in Minnesota. It seemed a place with a greater future than any other western settlement. The young man believed that he saw in it a field worthy of his energies; but it is hardly probable that his highest flights of fancy pictured the Minneapolis of today as a possibility during his own lifetime. On May 1, 1857, Mr. Washburn reached Minneapolis and shortly after opened a law office. The contrast between the town in which he settled and the city of today is striking. The population was then perhaps 12,000 as compared with over 200,000 in 1899; there were about two hundred buildings of all kinds in the village, and few of them were worth more than $1,000. There were no railroads, and the great manufacturing industries of the present time were represented by one or two small mills. Into this scattered collection of frame buildings there was pouring, however, a stream of immigrants, and speculation and building were keeping the people busy. There seemed every prospect of coming prosperity. But that stability necessary for security during financial difficulties had not been attained, and the same summer saw such reverses as to make the outlook very dismal. Mr. Washburn arrived just in time to experience, with the town of his choice, all the troubles of the panic of 1857. There was little law business to be had, and soon after his arrival he became the secretary and agent of the Minneapolis Mill Company - the corporation controlling the west side power at the Falls of St. Anthony. This was a most fortunate appointment for Minneapolis as well as Mr. Washburn. It brought into immediate exercise in behalf of the village those extraordinary executive faculties which have ever since been so continuously devoted to the interests of the city. To Mr. Washburn it gave the opportunity for familiarizing himself with the possibilities of manufacturing at the falls, which was the basis of his future success. Later generations in Minneapolis are entirely unfamiliar with the extent of the debt of the city to Mr. Washburn, incurred during these early days. With that characteristic energy and determination which has since become so well known to the people of the city, he commenced the improvement of the power controlled by his company. During 1857 the original dam on the west side was built - this in the midst of great financial embarrassments. It was a tremendous struggle, a great load to be laid on the shoulders of a man then but twenty-six years of age. But dam and raceway were finally completed. The young agent shrewdly guessed, however, that his battle was only half won. On the east side of the river there was a better power with more eligible mill sites; but the policy of its managers discouraged new enterprises. Mr. Washburn decided that the west side works must have mills, and he at once adopted a liberal policy and leased mill powers, now commanding a yearly rental of $1,500, as low as $133 per annum, to persons who would establish mills. The plan worked admirably. Everyone knows now how the flour mills gathered about the west side raceway until there was built up the greatest group in the whole world. Until the industries at the falls were put upon a firm foundation, Mr. Washburn remained the agent of the company, and he has always maintained a large interest in it. He has never been out of touch with the manufacturing interests of the State since that first summer's work at the Falls of St. Anthony. Receiving, in 1861, the appointment of Surveyor General at the hands of President Lincoln, it became necessary for Mr. Washburn to remove to St. Paul for a time. It was while in this office that his friends acquired the habit of prefixing the title "General" to his name; a custom so well established that it has continued through all the various offices which he has held. While Surveyor General, Mr. Washburn became familiar with the timber resources of the State, and, purchasing considerable tracts, afterwards engaged extensively in the lumber business. He formed the firm of W. D. Washburn & Co., built a saw mill at the falls, and later one at Anoka, and until 1889 carried on a very large lumber business. In 1873 he entered flour milling, and speedily became an important factor in the production of that Minneapolis staple. His interests in flour manufacturing were through the original firm of W. D. Washburn & Co. and Washburn, Crosby & Co. The firm of W. D. Washburn & Co. subsequently, in 1884, was merged in the Washburn Mill Company, and in 1889 the flour milling division of this business was consolidated with the Pillsbury interests in the Pillsbury- Washburn Flour Mills Company, forming the largest flour milling corporation in the world. At this time there were large accessions of English capital, but Mr. Washburn retained - as he does at this time - a large interest, and has been continuously one of the board of American directors of the properties. The Minneapolis Mill Company was also consolidated with the new corporation which afterwards completed the work of harnessing the power of St. Anthony Falls by the construction of a new dam and power house a short distance below the main falls. This rapid sketching of what would seem a life work for any man, gives, however, but one side of the business activities of Mr. Washburn - his interest in developing the two leading industries of Minnesota. It has been said of one of the greatest of Englishmen that while many men "think in parishes" and a few "think in nations," he "thinks in continents." Applying this thought to business it might be said that while many men think in single lines of trade, a few think in the broad lines of general manufacturing or jobbing, while only a very limited number think through the whole question of producing, distributing, financing and transporting. To the latter class Mr. Washburn belongs, he has, from time to time, and very much of the time, had considerable interest in the financial institutions of Minneapolis, in wholesale trade, in real-estate. But aside from his influence in the development of manufacturing his most conspicuous undertakings, and those in which the public has been most interested, have been the great railroad projects which he has successfully consummated. The early railroad system of the State had developed along such lines that Mr. Washburn, with other Minneapolis business men, felt the need of a railroad running towards the south, which would afford transportation direct to Minneapolis, and which should be controlled in the interests of Minneapolis. The result was the Minneapolis & St. Louis railroad carried through, during the seventies, very largely by the efforts of Mr. Washburn, who was its president for some time. The end desired having been accomplished, he retired from the management, and early in the eighties commenced to agitate the subject of a line direct to tidewater and completely independent of the domination of Chicago interests. The project was a startling one - fascinating by its very audacity; to build five hundred miles through an unsettled wilderness to a connection with a foreign railroad - to do this to free the city from the detrimental effects of combinations in the interests of competitors! To be financially successful the projected railroad must depend largely upon its through business, and that class of business must be mostly export flour and wheat - and Minneapolis flour exporting had then but partially developed. But there was a Washburn behind the plan - and it went through. The road was built in five years - the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie. And, since, it has been extended westward through Minnesota and North Dakota to another connection with the Canadian Pacific, thus giving Minneapolis another transcontinental line. Mr. Washburn was president of the "Soo" line during its construction and until his election to the Senate, he still retains large interests and has been continuously a director. In fact, the Soo line without Mr. Washburn would be, to use the familiar simile, like the play of Hamlet with Hamlet left out. After a dozen years of the enjoyment of the benefits derived from the Soo-Canadian connection with the East, the people of Minnesota have come, perhaps, to accept it unthinkingly and without remembering the tremendous difficulties which its construction involved, or the splendid energy and ability with which its chief promoter carried out the project. General Washburn's commercial activities continue, his penchant for pioneering, finding abundant scope just now in the development of a tract of some 115,000 acres of land in North Dakota through which he is building a railroad. Those qualities in Mr. Washburn which have made him a successful railroad builder, a great manufacturer and a shrewd developer of new country have contributed in large measure to his success in political life. The ability to "think in continents" marks the successful man in public life as certainly as it does the winner in business. A broad conception of the commercial needs of the Northwest and a well developed creative faculty, together with those qualities of mind and manner which aid in controlling and winning men, made Mr. Washburn unusually successful in his public service to the State and Nation. He was first called to hold office in 1858, when he was elected to the Minnesota Legislature, then a newcomer in the State and but twenty-seven years of age. Three years later he received from President Lincoln the appointment of Surveyor General of Minnesota. In 1866 he was chosen to the school board of Minneapolis, and assisted in the early development of the school system so prized by the people of the city. The year 1871 found him again in the State Legislature, using his rapidly growing influence in the support of legislation looking to State supervision and control of railroads. By this time it was conceded that he was to take a foremost position in Minnesota politics, and in 1873 his friends nearly secured his nomination for Governor of the State. After the decisive vote in the convention it was claimed by Mr. Washburn's friends that two ballots had not been counted. These would have changed the result, but Mr. Washburn refused to contest the nomination. In 1878 he commenced six years of continuous service in Congress, terminating only when he declined re-nomination for the fourth term on account of his intention to concentrate his attention upon the Soo railroad project, which he had just then commenced. The completion of the Soo line in 1888 made it possible for him to withdraw from executive management of the enterprise and become a candidate for the United States Senate, to which office he was chosen in the following year. Again, in 1895, he was a candidate, but was not elected. Trusting in the very positive assurances of even those who afterwards opposed him, that there would be no opposition to his candidacy, he had confidently expected re-election, and frankly admitted his great disappointment. He would, under no circumstances, have reappeared as a candidate had he known of the opposition which was to develop. In this as in all cases where he has not been "on top" in a political struggle, Mr. Washburn quietly accepted the situation; he has never been a "sore head" or posed as a disgruntled politician. When Mr. Washburn went into Congress in 1878 he was equipped for service as no other Northwestern representative had ever been. To a wide acquaintance with public men and a familiarity with methods and usages at Washington, he added a thorough knowledge of the country which he was to represent - not only a political knowledge, but also a comprehensive view of its commercial needs. As has been said, he had been largely instrumental in developing the two great manufacturing industries of the State, and, with twenty years of study, was familiar, in the minutest details, with their requirements in the way of transportation, development of power and supply of raw materials. It had been his pleasure as well as a necessity of his business to study agricultural conditions. He saw the interdependence of all the interests of the Northwest, and grasped the great principles which have since been generally recognized as underlying the permanent prosperity of Minnesota and the neighboring States. In Congress he set about working out the fulfillment of ideas which had been gradually taking form, and the accomplishments of the twenty years since he entered that body have been prolific in the fruit of the score of years of earlier experience and study. As far back as 1869 Mr. Washburn had conceived the plan of impounding the flood waters of the upper Mississippi river in great reservoirs near the headwaters. It was an adaptation of the plan in use on the Merrimac river in New England. But it was far more comprehensive in form and had four purposes in view, where the New England scheme had but one. Mr. Washburn had observed the destructive work of the floods in the Mississippi and the contrast afforded by the periods of extreme low water, when navigation was seriously impeded. To mitigate the floods and at the same time save the surplus of water for use in seasons of drouth was the central thought. But all the results were not for the benefit of navigation and the protection of farmers along the river banks. There was a large traffic in logs on the river. The navigation of the Mississippi by the common saw-log was quite as important as that of the steamer. To save the logs from being swept away by floods or "hung up" on sand bars in low water was an important part of the impounding scheme. Again, the water of the Mississippi was used for power at Minneapolis and other points. In flood times vast quantities of water went to waste; in low water seasons the volume was not sufficient for the needs of the mills. An equalization of the flow was thus of the greatest importance to navigation, the farmers, the loggers, and the manufacturers. Having the project in mind as one sure to be realized some day, Mr. Washburn, in 1869, purchased of the Government the forty acres at Pokegama Falls, on the upper Mississippi river, which his judgment told him would be required for the key of the system. When the project was finally approved and entered upon, Mr. Washburn conveyed this land to the Government without charge. It was ten years after his conception of the plan that Mr. Washburn commenced his campaign in Congress. Like all projects calling for large appropriations, it required persistent endeavor; but finally he had the satisfaction of seeing the system of dams and reservoirs completed - a system which has been of untold benefit to the interests above mentioned. Early in his Congressional career he also commenced to give careful attention to the needs of navigation upon the Mississippi from the standpoint of direct improvements of the channel, and secured many appropriations for the work on the upper river. He laid the foundations for the appropriations for the locks and dams immediately below Minneapolis, which, when completed, will give Minneapolis direct navigation to the gulf and all the great tributaries of the Mississippi. But there were still broader questions under consideration. Mr. Washburn had a keen appreciation of the relations of the Great Lakes to the commercial development of the Northwest. He saw distinctly that this great water route to and from the seaboard was the key to the commercial problem of his State. Cheap transportation would make possible such a development of farming and manufacturing as had never been conceived of. To secure the cheapest transportation, however, there must be free and unobstructed channels through the lake system of such depth that vessels of modern build might pass without detention. And so, as a member of the committee of commerce, Mr. Washburn secured the first appropriation for the improvement of the Hay Lake channel in the Sault Ste. Marie river - the beginning of the great "twenty-foot" project which has since made possible the navigation of the lakes by a fleet of vessels carrying a commerce unequaled on any waterway in the world. While these great projects received much of Mr. Washburn's thought while in the House, he was by no means unmindful of the special needs of his district; his success in looking after its interests being amply testified to by the frequent re-nominations which came to him. Among the most important items of his special work for Minneapolis was the bill for a public building, which he successfully promoted early in the eighties. These material matters, important and engrossing as they were, did not interfere with Mr. Washburn's participation in all national questions which came before Congress during his terms of office. He had always been a student of public affairs. Though a life-long and consistent Republican, he has a vein of independence in his make-up which has been perhaps developed through a settled habit of looking at things in their broader aspects rather than from the point of view of the politician who sees only the immediate political effects. This habit of thought has brought him from time to time into apparent variance with his party; but it has usually been acknowledged, afterwards, that he was right. Perhaps the best example of this political characteristic of Mr. Washburn was his opposition to the so-called "force bill" while in the Senate. It will be remembered that the Lodge bill received the support of the Republican Senators - excepting about half a dozen "Silver Republicans," who had formed a combination with the Democrats - and that Mr. Washburn was the only Senator on that side of the house who opposed the measure. Believing that it was wrong in principle, and that it would not accomplish what it aimed to do, he voted against it - and received unstinted criticism from the party press for his independence of thought and action. The years which have passed since this episode have served to show that Mr. Washburn was right. There are probably few men in the Republican party to-day who would favor such a measure as that proposed by Senator Lodge. Mr. Washburn does not pretend to flowery oratorical powers; he relies upon plain and earnest statements and sound logic and reasoning. And in presenting a question in this way he is very successful. And so, while not among the Congressmen whose voices are heard on every topic, he has been heard with the greatest respect when he has spoken on the floor of the House or Senate Chamber. During his Senatorial term he made two very elaborate speeches, which would have given him a very wide reputation had he never taken any other part in Congressional debates. One of these efforts was in support of the anti-option bill, the championship of which measure made Senator Washburn for a time the most conspicuous figure in the Senate. Believing profoundly in the principle that the buying and selling of that which did not exist was contrary to the laws of economics, and in practice injurious to business and morals, while it worked enormous detriment to the agricultural interests of the country, Mr. Washburn threw himself into the fight for the measure with a whole-souled energy which could have but one result. For four months the bill was the unfinished business in the Senate. It was a battle royal with enormous monied interests to contend with; but the victory was finally won. Senator Washburn's principal speech in support of this bill attracted wide attention in this country and abroad. The bill was throttled in the House and Mr. Washburn believes there has been a loss of hundreds of millions to the country, for which the leaders of the House, who prevented the votes, are responsible. By far the most elaborate and carefully prepared speech which Mr. Washburn delivered while in the Senate was that upon the revenue bill of 1894, when he argued against the repeal of the reciprocity provisions secured by Mr. Blaine in 1890. This speech - on "reciprocity and new markets" - was one of the most comprehensive discussions of the reciprocity principle, the development of the commerce of the United States during its two years of trial, and the future possibilities of the system, which was ever made in Congress. While bringing statistics to show the trade relations with all American nations, Mr. Washburn gave special attention to Cuba, showing the wonderful increase in trade with that island under the reciprocal treaty with Spain. It was, of course, a foregone conclusion that the Democratic Congress would repeal the reciprocity agreements, but Mr. Washburn's speech revealed in all its baldness the certain result of such action - results which followed speedily and surely. Prolonged absence at times from his home city have not prevented Mr. Washburn and his family from filling a large place in the social life of Minneapolis. As soon as he had established himself in his new home Mr. Washburn returned to Maine, where, April 19, 1859, he was married to Miss Lizzie Muzzy, daughter of the Hon. Franklin Muzzy, a Bangor manufacturer and a man prominent in the political life of the State. A modest home was established in Minneapolis, and here their children, four sons and two daughters, passed their early childhood. Realizing that increasing fortune brought with it increased obligation, Mr. Washburn some years ago purchased a beautiful tract of land and erected a mansion surrounded by most attractive grounds. This home, which was named "Fair Oaks," has become not only a center of social attraction, but an object of pride in a city where beauty of surroundings and the refinements of life are most highly appreciated. October 24, 1859, a meeting was held in the village of Minneapolis for the purpose of organizing a Universalist Church. On this occasion Mr. Washburn occupied the chair, and his connection with the Church of the Redeemer dates from that meeting. It was at first a struggling society; it is now one of the leading churches of the denomination in the country. In its early vicissitudes and its later prosperity it has continually had reason to remember Mr. Washburn's constant generosity, for in his church connection, as in all other matters, he has been liberal in his contributions where there has been evidence of need and worthy object to be accomplished. Of Mr. Washburn's religious beliefs there could be no better testimony than this, from one in a position to know whereof he speaks:

"Mr. Washburn is modest and sparing in his religious professions, but deep-rooted in his religious convictions. His father and mother were earnest Universalists, and he inherited their faith. To this he has been as loyal as to the other parental examples. His creed is pretty well summed up in the words. 'Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man.' The broad spirit he shows elsewhere blossoms in his thoughts on spiritual matters. His daily prayer must be, in substance, that all men may one day be good, pure republicans of this world and saints in the next. Freedom for all and Heaven for all are his mottoes."

The same excellent authority describes his friend in these words:

"In personal appearance Mr. Washburn may be considered a very elegant gentleman. Neat and fashionable in his attire, symmetrical in form, inclining to slimness, erect, of more than medium height, clear-cut features, and bright, earnest eyes, graceful in movement, correct in speech, he impresses one even at first as a person who has had always the best surroundings. He is dignified in manner, and is not indifferent to style in whatever pertains to him. If on any occasion he shows abruptness of language and is slightly overbearing, difficult to be approached, by strangers especially, it is owing generally and chiefly to the thorns of business he feels at the moment pricking him or to want of time to be himself. Hurry sometimes trips politeness."

The latter part of this estimate seems at present inaccurate, however true it may have been when written - at a time when Mr. Washburn was carrying vast loads of care both commercial and political. It may be that the progress of years has softened a manner which still retains, however, all its characteristic dignity. Mr. Washburn has traveled much. It is almost a necessity to a man of his temperament to see what is going on in the world outside the limits of his home city or State. He has from time to time visited every part of the United States, Mexico, Cuba and Canada. Six times he has visited Europe, on one of these pilgrimages extending his journeyings to Egypt and the Nile, and on another seeing Norway and Sweden - the "Land of the Midnight Sun" - and Russia. Three years ago he spent six months in China, Japan and other oriental countries, and would have completed the "round the world" tour had it not been for the prevalence of the plague in India. In travel Mr. Washburn finds that continued education and those broadening influences which every intelligent man welcomes throughout his life. He has also found such rest from the cares of a life of much more than ordinary activity and responsibility that he is, at the age of sixty-eight, still in his prime, and bears himself with the air of a man much his junior. He is to-day, as he has always been, a growing man. His interest in public affairs is unabated, and the attention which is paid to his views was very recently evidenced, when an interview, in which he denounced the trust evil, was quoted and commented upon from one end of the English speaking world to the other.


Charles C. Webber
[Source: Encyclopedia of Biography of Minnesota, History of Minnesota by Judge Charles E. Flandreau, 1900, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]

Charles C. Webber, of the agricultural implement firm of Deere & Webber Company, Minneapolis, was born at Rock Island, Illinois, January 25, 1859. His father, Christopher C. Webber, was a native of New York. His education was obtained primarily in the Rock Island public schools, supplemented by a three years' course in Lake Forest Academy. Mr. Webber has been connected with the agricultural implement trade since early manhood. At the age of eighteen he engaged in the service of Deere & Company, the well known and long-established manufacturers of agricultural implements at Moline, Illinois, adjoining his native town. He was in the employ of the company, in their general office and as traveling salesman, for about three years. In the winter of 1881, as the representative of Deere & Company, he located in Minneapolis, and represented the firm on the road for two years. When Deere & Company built their large office and warehouse at 312-316 North First street, Minneapolis, Mr. Webber was admitted to a partnership. Later, in 1893, the company was incorporated under the firm name of Deere & Webber Company, and Mr. Webber retained, and still holds his interest in the corporation, which is admittedly the largest of the kind in the Northwest. In politics he is a gold standard Democrat. He is a member of the Minneapolis and Commercial Clubs. Mr. Webber was married, September 18, 1895, to Miss Mary M. Harris, a daughter of Joseph Harris of Monroe county, New York, and has one child.


Hendrick Gordon Webster
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal (1897) submitted by Diana Heser Morse

Hendrick Gordon Webster traces his ancestry back to Colonel David Webster one of the early settlers of Plymouth, New Hampshire. Mr. Webster was born in Plymouth, New Hampshire, in 1847. He is the son of David C. Webster and Nancy Gordon (Webster). He is a grandson of Colonel William Webster of the New Hampshire militia, and a great-grandson of Colonel David Webster, who commanded a regiment of New Hampshire troops in the Continental Army. The document formally discharging Colonel Webster and his regiment from the Continental Army at Saratoga, signed by Brigader General Bailey, chief of staff for General Gates, is still in the possession of the family. Colonel David Webster was one of the earlier settlers of New Hampshire about 1765, and the family resided there for three generations. He was a farmer and kept a raven on the site now occupied by the famous Pemmigewasset House, at Plymouth. The subject of this sketch obtained his early education in the Nashua, New Hampshire, high school and in Plymouth Academy. He then began the study of pharmacy and went into business as a druggist in Boston. He was engaged in that business also in Newton and in Fall River, Massachusetts. As a citizen of Fall River he took an active interest in local affairs and was made a member of the Fall River city council. He has always been Republican and active in that party. He came to Minnesota in 1880 and embarked in the drug business in this city. In 1883 a number of the progressive pharmacists of the state united in the organization of the Minnesota State Pharmaceutical Association its object being to promote the advancement of pharmacy in this state. Mr. Webster was one of the charter members and was active with others in securing the passage by the legislature of 1885 of a law regulating the practice of pharmacy. This law provided for a broad of pharmacy to be appointed by the governor, to enforce its provisions. All persons who were engaged in the drug business at this time were registered either as pharmacists or assistants, and were permitted to continue as such, but the board was required to examine as to the qualifications of all who thereafter wished to engage in the business, and to cause the prosecution of violators of the law. The board hold quarterly examinations of candidates for registration. These examinations are both practical and theoretical and very thorough. Candidates in order to pass these examinations find it necessary to pursue some regular course of instruction in pharmacy, in addition to the practical experience of the drug store, and so, as the result, a flourishing department of pharmacy has been added to our State University, besides two private school which have been established since the enactment of the law, and which are well patronized by students of pharmacy. Thus it will be seen that good progress has already been made toward securing for the people of our state the services of more intelligent and skilled pharmacists. Mr. Webster is a member of the Plymouth Congregational Church. He was married in 1870 to Abbie Richardson Stevens, in Newton, Massachusetts. He has one son, George Gordon.


Henry Webster
Source: History of the upper Mississippi Valley, 1881. Transcribed by the Albertiís.
Henry Webster, is a native of Orono, Penobscot county, Maine, born on the 4th of April, 1852. He was engaged in the lumber business in his native State till coming to Minnesota, in May, 1874. Then was employed by W. D. Washburn to take charge of the lumber yard in Minneapolis, for two years; thence, in the same employ, to Anoka, till October, 1879. Came to this place on the latter date, and purchased the American House, of which he is now proprietor. The house is a two story frame building, containing twenty-six rooms.

Joel S. Weiser
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Publ. 1900. Transcribed by Renae Capitanio

JOEL S. WEISER. One of the busiest, most energetic and most enterprising citizens of Valley City, North Dakota, is Joel S. Weiser, a prominent merchant and business man of that place. He bears in his veins some of the best blood of our early colonists, being a descendant of Conrad Weiser, of colonial fame, who played an important part in dealing with the British and the Indians in the days when our forefathers were striving to free themselves from the English yoke of oppression, and a man whose deeds were cherished by Washington and those high in authority.

Our subject was born in Berks county, Pennsylvania, August 31, 1834, and during early life attended school and assisted his father on the home farm until eighteen years of age, when he came west. After stopping for about thirty days at Danby Station, Du Page county, Illinois, he proceeded to St. Paul, Minnesota, and shortly afterward located in Shakopee, that state, where he made his home for fifteen years, following the trade of a mason.

On the 31st of September, 1864, Mr. Weiser enlisted in Company I, Ninth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, and was at once ordered to Memphis, Tennessee, where the regiment was on camp duty until the middle of November, when they moved to Nashville, going through Kentucky on the way. After taking part in the two-days' engagement at Nashville, they followed Hood to Pulaski, Tennessee, and then turned to the right, passing through Clifton, on the Cumberland river, on their way to Mississippi. During the march they were engaged in fighting bushwhackers. On the morning of January 17, 1865, they arrived in Eastport, Mississippi, where they went into camp and remained three weeks, during which time they were constantly annoyed by bushwhackers. They next pushed forward to Vicksburg, where they camped five days and then proceeded to New Orleans, where they embarked on a steamer for Dauphin island. After remaining there for about four weeks they went up the Perdido river and on through the pines to Spanish Fort, to which they laid siege and captured April 9. On the 11th they marched towards Montgomery and Selma to destroy the rebel works, but on their arrival found they had been taken by Wilson's cavalry regiment. After camping at Selma three days they went to Marion, where the regiment remined until the close of the war. Returning home they were mustered out August 24, 1865.

Mr. Weiser continued his residence in Shakopee, Minnesota, until 1870, when he removed to St. Paul, and was there engaged in contracting for a period of four years. Later he lived on a farm in Washington county, Minnesota, twelve miles east of St. Paul, for three and a half years, during which time he followed farming, and in the fall of 1877 came to Valley City, where he has since made his home. He erected the second house in the village, known as the Northern Pacific House, which was burned to the ground April 25, 1898. In the spring of 1878 he embarked in general merchandising at this place, and is now the oldest merchant in years of continuous business in the city.

On the 10th of May, 1854, Mr. Weiser was united in marriage with Miss Louisa Clever, of Berks county, Pennsylvania, by whom he has had eleven children, six still living, one son and five daughters, three sons and two daughters being now deceased. The youngest daughter, Lillian, was the second white child born in Barnes county, and is now teaching in the public schools of Valley City. The son, John, is in the store with his father.

Mr. Weiser has been prominently identified with public affairs during his residence in this state. He was a member of the territorial council under Governor Church, also of the second assembly of the state legislature under Governor John Burke, now of Minnesota. During his career in Bismarck he was appointed watchman of the constitutional convention. He was the first treasurer of Barnes County, being first appointed by Governor Howard and later elected to that position for two terms, serving in all five years, and alderman and member of the school board for years. He was given the honor of christening the city in which he now lives, and has borne a very active and prominent part in her upbuilding and prosperity. He attends the Methodist Episcopal church and is an honored member of the Grand Army Post. In business affairs he has met with a well deserved success during his residence here, and he has also won the confidence and respect of his fellow citizens and of all with whom he has come in contact, either in public or private life.


Victor John Welch
Source: Progressive Men of Minnesota, (Shutter, Marion Daniel, 1853-ed.) Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Journal (1897) transcribed by Vicki Bryan

Victor John Welch is an attorney-at-law, practicing- his profession at Minneapolis. He was born at Madison, Wisconsin, October 8, 1860, the son of William Welch and Jane Petherick (Welch). William Welch was a native of New York, but emigrated to Madison, Wisconsin, in 1850, where he practiced law for thirty years. His wife was a native of London, her father being an English barrister of high standing in his profession in that country. Both William Welch and his wife are now living in Minneapolis. William Welch became a Republican when that party was organized, but prior to that had been a Whig leader, having been chairman of the first Whig state central committee for Wisconsin. Victor Welch attended the public schools at Madison and graduated from the high schools in that city. He then took the law course in the law department of the University of Wisconsin and was graduated in 1880 and was admitted to the bar the same year. Two years later he came to Minneapolis and has been engaged here continuously since that time in the practice of his profession. At first he was the junior member of the firm of Welch, Botkin & Welch, consisting of his father, S. W. Botkin and himself. In 1892 the firm was dissolved and the new firm of Welch & Welch, father and son, succeeded it. In April 1894, this firm was dissolved by the retirement of William Welch from active practice at the age of seventy-three years. A new firm was then organized, consisting of R. L. Penney, V. J. Welch and M. P. Hayne. Mr. Penney subsequently withdrew and the firm continued as Welch & Hayne. Recently Henry Conlin has been admitted to the firm, which is now known as Welch, Hayne & Conlin, and enjoys a very lucrative practice. Mr. Welch is esteemed as one of the most successful among the comparatively young members of his profession in Minneapolis. In 1879, while a resident of Madison, Mr. Welch joined Company C, Fourth Battalion, National Guard of Wisconsin, and was sergeant of the company during the lumbermen's riot, near Eau Claire, where his company was assigned to service. On coming to Minneapolis he resigned from the Wisconsin militia, and in July 1882, became a member of Company B, First Regiment, Minnesota National Guard. He was elected first sergeant and then captain, and held the captaincy until the summer of 1887, when he resigned to become judge advocate general of the state under Gov. McGill. He was in command of Company B during the time of the Stillwater fire when the company was called into active service. His identification with the militia of both Wisconsin and Minnesota argues, of course, especial interest in the National Guard, and he has been prominently identified with the movement resulting in legislative action providing armories for the National Guard at the state expense. Mr. Welch is a member of the Commercial Club, takes an active interest in all public enterprises, and is also an attendant of the Episcopal Church. He was married November 10, 1887, at Detroit, Michigan, to Miss Elizabeth H. Jones. They have one child, Jeannette, aged four years. Mr. Welch makes a specialty of court practice, and has been particularly successful in his appearances before juries. The first dollar he ever earned was while engaged in the rather monotonous duty of hauling gravel with his father's team for highway repairs.


Henry T. Welles
[Source: Encyclopedia of Biography of Minnesota, History of Minnesota by Judge Charles E. Flandreau, 1900, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]

Among those who were the real founders of the city of Minneapolis, and who helped to lay the foundations of the present greatness of the Commonwealth of Minnesota, a well-known pioneer, business man and philanthropist of the city and State, was Henry Titus Welles. This distinguished citizen came to Minnesota in 1853, and after a career of usefulness and prominence extending over a period of forty-five years, died in the city which he had done so much to create, March 4, 1898. Henry T. Welles was born at Glastonbury, Connecticut, April 3, 1821. His father was Jonathan Welles and the maiden name of his mother was Jerusha Welles, his parents being cousins in the second degree. He came of a very old New England family. He was a direct descendant of Thomas Welles, the founder of the family in America, who came from England in 1636, and was subsequently Governor of the Colony of Connecticut. Gideon Welles, President Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy, was also a descendant of Thomas Welles. The English branch of the family was established when some of its members came in from France with William the Conqueror, the name at first being written De Welles. The paternal grandfather of Henry T. Welles married Catherine, a granddaughter of Gurdon Saltonstall, who was Governor of Connecticut from 1707 to 1724, dying in office. Jonathan Welles was an industrious and thrifty Connecticut farmer, and his son Henry T. was reared to young manhood on his father's farm, which had been in the possession of the family for four generations. He was brought up to hard work, economy, and to deal uprightly and honorably with all men. As a boy he was unusually bright and apt, fond of study and reading, and quick to learn. He soon passed the course of the common country school, and when but twelve years old entered an academy, and began preparatory studies in algebra, natural philosophy and Latin. One of his preceptors was Elihu Burritt, the celebrated astronomer and linguist, known to fame as "the learned blacksmith." His education was completed at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, from which institution, then called Washington College, he was graduated in 1843. Among his classmates were Thomas S. Preston, subsequently Vicar General of the Catholic Arch-Diocese of New York; William B. Curtis, who became Chief Justice of the New York Superior Court, and Henry A. Sanford, at one time United States Minister to Belgium. His scholastic attainments were very superior. He was especially proficient in the classics, and read Latin and Greek almost as fluently as his mother language, and he had a profound knowledge of mathematics and the other sciences. For a time after his graduation he taught the higher branches of learning in a select school. He read law and was enrolled among the attorneys of Hartford county. In 1850 he was elected to the Legislature. Soon after his Legislative experience his health became impaired and he was advised to seek a change of climate. He decided on a trip to the Northwest, and after a long journey, arrived at St. Paul, June 12, 1853. The next day he went up to St. Anthony Falls. He at once decided upon a permanent location at "the Falls" in the then young Territory, with its clear skies, beautiful scenes and magnificent possibilities. In his reminiscences of the incident, he subsequently wrote:

"I had reached my destination. I was more than satisfied. When I looked down from Meeker Hill on the various landscape of river, cataract, prairie and grove, and the mills, stores, and dwellings now embraced in the city of Minneapolis, I felt a homelike pleasure that has continued unabated to this day. The loss of my native home was compensated. I became a fixture in another. It was the fittest place in all the earth for me, as if I had been miraculously taken up into the clouds and borne westward, and by the guiding hand of Providence dropped down upon it."

It is rare that a man of scholastic tastes and accomplishments decides upon an active business career, involving hard and persistent labor and endeavor, and the many exactions incident to such a life. Most men of the kind choose a career of more refinement, and enter one of the so-called professions, becoming college professors, lawyers, doctors or the like. But Henry T. Welles was active and enterprising by nature, and inured to practical work from boyhood. He was a man of versatile abilities, could adapt himself to surroundings, and could do almost anything. Within a few days after his arrival at St. Anthony he had formed a partnership with Franklin Steele, who then lived at Fort Snelling, in the conduct of his saw-mills at the Falls and in the lumber business generally, and was hard at work. Franklin Steele and Henry T. Welles were both good judges of men. They "took to" each other on sight. Their estimates were correct, and their partnership was profitable and successful from the start. Within the present limits the career of Henry T. Welles in Minnesota can only be imperfectly sketched. At once upon his arrival here, he became a leader among his fellow citizens. In 1855 he was elected mayor of St. Anthony. In 1856 he crossed the river and located in what was then called Minneapolis, and in 1858, as president of the town council, was the first head of the municipal government. The same year he was president of the school board. He and Mr. Steele, as proprietors of the Minneapolis Bridge Company, in 1855, built the first bridge that spanned the Mississippi river. The bridges lower down the river, between Iowa and Illinois, were built afterwards. He was naturally an engineer, and superintended in fact nearly all of the many works of construction in which he was interested. Soon after he entered into partnership with Mr. Steele in the saw-milling business, the water in the channel of the river became so low that the mill-power wheels would not turn. Everybody was in despair, for the prosperity of the place depended upon the continuous operation of the saw mills. Mr. Welles, with his Yankee tact, readily conceived a remedy for the bad state of things. Constructing some frames called "horses," he set them in the channel, floated and fastened slabs against them, and thus made a "horse and slab" dam, which narrowed the channel, increased the volume of water, and the wheels went merrily around. He always had an expedient for every emergency. His investments in Minneapolis lots and blocks, and other real estate in Minneapolis, were always judiciously made and proved highly profitable. He early became interested in railroad building in Minnesota, and he was present at the session of Congress in 1856-7 for some weeks, earnestly urging government aid for projected roads in the Territory. At one time he owned a great part of the town of Breckenridge, but he gave nearly all of his interests away, one hundred acres to the town for a park and fair grounds, one hundred and sixty acres to the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota, lots to the Catholic and Protestant churches, a block for the court house, etc. In 1855 he became one of the proprietors of St. Cloud, and did his share in founding that city. His acquirements of material interests were large, but his benefactions in aid of churches, schools, municipalities and his fellow men generally, amounted to a large fortune. His gifts to the Faribault institutions alone amounted to $70,000. In Minneapolis he and Mr. Steele gave to St. Mark's church the site of the present Kasota building; to the First Baptist church, virtually the site of the Lumber Exchange; to the Second Baptist a large lot on Hennepin avenue, etc. To the Episcopal and Catholic churches Mr. Welles alone gave $20,000 in cash, besides making liberal donations at different times to other churches, hospitals, educational institutions and worthy charities. If he received fully, he gave freely. He never neglected his full duty as a citizen and a man. In all public enterprises for the good of his city, his county and his State, he was among the foremost. It was his efforts which induced the people of Minneapolis to vote aid to prevent the falls from falling to ruin, and mainly through his individual efforts the large "apron," which protects them, was constructed. It is said that he always voted at elections, and voted as he pleased. He was not a politician as the term is commonly construed, but he always had his opinions on matters of public policy, and did not hesitate to express them. In 1863 he was the Democratic candidate for Governor of Minnesota, but was defeated by Gen. Stephen Miller. This was during the War of the Rebellion, when, whether justly so or not, the Democratic party was in public disfavor, and he knew there was no possible chance of his election when he accepted the nomination. He was, however, a War Democrat, earnestly in favor of subduing the Rebellion at all hazards, and no impeachment was ever made of his loyalty and patriotism. He only doubted, at the time, the wisdom of certain policies of the Republican party. He was a friend, but not a foolish friend, of the colored people, and in Connecticut he had taught a school where negro children were admitted to full privileges with the whites. He was wholly unbiased and unprejudiced in all his views, so that in politics he was practically independent; in religion tolerant and liberal; in all things charitable. Until the very last months of his life he was a very busy man. He assisted in organizing the Northwestern National Bank and was for many years its president. He was one of the organizers of the Farmers & Mechanics Savings Bank, and was for a long time prominent in its affairs. His other interests were large and important, and while he gave them his individual attention and managed them well, he became, in the public estimation, most prominently identified with the financial interests of the Northwest, and more widely known as a financier. This ripe scholar, this public citizen, this man of affairs, was a sincere and humble Christian and a devout religionist, believing and trusting in Almighty God and serving Him. He had given the subject of religion much study and thought from early life, and his convictions were as deep as his investigations had been thorough. He was a communicant of the Episcopal Church, but tolerant and well disposed towards all other Christian denominations. A few days before he left Connecticut for the Northwest, on May 3rd, 1853, Mr. Welles married Jerusha Lord, a daughter of Joseph Lord, of Glastonbury. To their union were born six children. Mr. Welles died at Minneapolis, March 4, 1898, at the ripe age of nearly seventy seven years. It was almost in the nature of a divine dispensation that he was permitted to die in the splendid city, where he had been so long and so actively employed, which he had done so much to create and build up, so that the city itself is practically his best monument, and where there were so many of his fellow men who knew him best and loved him most. And though he had more than reached the allotted span of life to the good man, it was felt that his death was untimely and amounted to a public misfortune. "So should a man end his days."


Nils O. Werner
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal (1897) submitted by Diana Heser Morse

Nils O. Werner is president of the Swedish American National Bank at Minneapolis and one of the substantial and successful business men of that city. He is the son of Ole Y. Werner a Swedish farmer in moderate circumstances and of Kjerstin Swenson (Werner). His ancestors were farmers in Sweden for several hundred years. They belonged to that independent yeomanry who have to a large degree, since the time of Charles XII., controlled the political destiny of that country and wield the balance of power there today. Mr. Werner was born in Kristianstad, on the nineteenth day of January, 1848. He was educated at the common schools until he reached the age of thirteen, when he entered college at Kristianstad, and graduated at the age of twenty, in 1868. He was ambitious to avail himself of the superior advantages for business success offered in the United States, and in 1868 he emigrated to America, where his parents had already preceded him. He located at Princeton, Illinois, in October, 1868, and began the study of law with James S. Eckles, father of the present comptroller of currency, and remained with him until September, 1870, when he came to Minnesota and located in Red Wing. He continued his legal studies there with Hon. W. W. Phelps until 1871, when he was admitted to the bar. Some idea of his courageous self-reliance may be inferred from the fact that when he landed in Red Wing he had but seventy-five cents and did not know a person in that part of the world. As soon as he was admitted to the bar he opened an office by himself and had a good business from the start. Three years later, in 1874, he was elected judge of probate of Goodhue County, and held that position for ten years without opposition from either party. During this time he was a partner with Hon. O. M. Hall, and continued the practice of his profession. Mr. Werner was for nine years a member of the board of education of Red Wing and chairman of the high school committee. He was also for a number of years a member of the city council of Red Wing. In 1888 he assisted in the organization of the Swedish-American Bank at Minneapolis, becoming its cashier and manager. This brought him to Minneapolis to live. In 1894 this institution was made a national bank and Mr. Werner was selected its president, which office he now holds. His political affiliations have always been with the Republican party. He never held any political office except that of a local character already described, but was generally a delegate to state and congressional conventions. He was a member of the state central committee from 1886 to 1888. His church connection is with the Lutheran denomination. He was married August 17, 1872, to Eva Charlotte Anderson. They have three children, Carl Gustaf, Anna Olivia and Nils Olaf, aged respectively, twenty-two, twenty and twelve years. Mr. Werner has established a reputation as a careful and conservative business man, and enjoys the confidence of his business associates and of the business community in a high degree.


John Francis Wheaton
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. (Shutter, Marion Daniel, 1853-ed.) Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Journal (1897) Submitted by Diana Heser Morse

The story of the life of the subject of this sketch is an interesting one. Born, with the dark blood of the negro race flowing in his veins, and confronted with all the obstacles of race prejudice, John Francis Wheaton has climbed a rugged path such as few men have successfully surmounted, and won for himself a record and a name that would be envied by any man. He was born at Hagerstown, Washington County, Maryland, May 8, 1866, the son of Jacob F. and Emily B. Wheaton. He is able to trace back his ancestry, as far, on the paternal side, to his two great-grandfathers, and his great-grandfather on the maternal side. The father of his paternal grandmother was an Englishman who settled in Virginia as a planter. His name was Thomas Buckingham. The father of his paternal grandfather was also a Virginia planter whose Afro-American son was his slave. Upon the death of this planter, he liberated his dark-hued son at the age of twenty-four years. It was from this planter that Wheaton's family took its name. His maternal great-grandparents were both slaves of the Wingert family in Maryland. He attended the public schools of his native town until his thirteenth year, and then for two years a school in Ohio. Later he took a course of study in Storer College, at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, graduating from the State Normal Department in 1882, as valedictorian of his class. The funds which enabled him to receive an education were earned by him shining shoes, milking cows, etc. The laws forbidding any one to teach school under nineteen years of age were finally set aside by young Wheaton being able to pass a rigid test examination. He taught school for a few terms, but entered into politics before he was nineteen years of age, exhibiting considerable ability as a stump speaker. When but twenty-one years of age his name was presented to the Republican county convention of Washington county, Maryland, for nomination as candidate for the state legislature, but he withdrew his name after receiving a flattering complimentary vote of one hundred and twenty out of a necessary one hundred and fifty votes. In 1887, 1889 and 1891 he served as a delegate to the state convention, and in 1888 attended the Republican national convention at Chicago as an alternate delegate. During a large share of this time he was teaching school at Williamsport and studying law in the office of Hon. Albert A. Small, a prominent lawyer of Maryland. In 1888 he took a course in the Dixon Business College, at Dixon, Illinois, and during the campaign of that year was engaged as a stump speaker by the Republican national committee to stump Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. In February, 1889, he was elected temporary chairman of the state Republican convention at Baltimore, and successfully quieted the warring factions. He was a candidate for the superintendency of the house document room in Washington, but was turned down after the place had been promised him. He was, however, given a clerkship in the same department, which he held during the Fifty-first congress. While in Washington he attended the law department of Howard University, graduating in May, 1892. On his return home he made a bitter fight for admission to the bar, and was finally allowed to take an examination, which he passed successfully. It was only after ten months of persistent effort, however, that Judge R. H. Alvey, now chief justice of the supreme court of the District of Columbia, and a member of the Venezuelan commission admitted him to practice. He was the first colored man admitted to practice outside the city of Baltimore, and the fourth in the state. In 1892 the colored Republicans of his state elected him as a delegate-at-large to represent them in the Republican national convention in Minneapolis, but his credentials were not accepted. Tiring of his continual struggle against the disadvantages imposed upon men of his color, Mr. Wheaton moved to Minneapolis, May 1, 1893. That he might be admitted to practice before the Minnesota courts he took a two years' law course at the Minnesota State University in one year, and was elected orator of his class. He took an active part in the campaign of 1894 and entered the lists as a candidate for the office of reading clerk in the lower house of the legislature. After a hard contest he was beaten by one ballot, but subsequently was elected as assistant file and reading clerk. In 1895 he was appointed deputy clerk in the municipal court of Minneapolis, which position he now holds. He was elected by acclamation as alternate delegate from the Fifth Minnesota congressional district to the Republican national convention at St. Louis in 1896, having the distinction of being the first colored man to represent Minnesota in a national convention. Mr. Wheaton is a member of the Masonic fraternity. He was married June 6, 1889, to Miss Ella Chambers, a graduate of Wilberforce University, Ohio. They have two children, Layton J. and Frank P.


Joseph P. Wilson
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal (1897) submitted by Diana Heser Morse

It is given to comparatively few men to see great cities grow to metropolitan proportions on the site of their frontier homes. One of the men who pioneered in Minnesota, who settled at the site of Minneapolis when there were more Indians in the vicinity than white men, and who has lived to see the city and state develop to magnificent commercial and social proportions, is Joseph P. Wilson. Like so many of Minnesota's pioneers, Mr. Wilson is a native of Maine. He was born at Columbia Falls, March 16, 1823. In 1833 the family moved to New York City, where he spent his youth. At one time he was in the employ of Horace Greeley, and later, for two years, was in the law office of Silas M. Stillwell. When twenty-two years of age, in 1845, Mr. Wilson came West, settling first in Illinois, where he was for a time in the law office of B. F. Fridley of Geneva. The next year he was admitted to the bar, but he has never practiced his profession. In 1847 Mr. Wilson was engaged in the purchase of government land, in Northern Illinois, for Eastern capitalists. It was during his service in the army in Mexico that he first met Colonel John H. Stevens, the Minneapolis pioneer. After the war with Mexico Mr. Wilson took a trip up the Mississippi River, visiting the towns of Galena, Prairie du Chien and Stillwater, but he returned to Oswego, Illinois, where he engaged in business in 1849. But he had his eye on Minnesota, and made his way to the territory and settled at St. Anthony Falls on April 19, 1850. Inhabitants were then very few, and the Indians of the Sioux Nation occupied the land west of the river. St. Anthony was the last settlement between the East and the Pacific Ocean. The place was entirely without means of communication with the world except by means of steamers on the Mississippi, and all groceries and other supplies had to be shipped from Galena or St. Louis. Mr. Wilson remembers well sending four hundred miles to Galena for a cooking stove and a barrel of flour. A Minneapolis man sending to Galena for flour! And this was only forty-six years ago. Upon coming to Minneapolis Mr. Wilson engaged in a mercantile business and continued in that line for some years. Later on he engaged in the real estate business, which he has followed ever since. In 1851 he purchased from the government a tract of land in what is now Northeast Minneapolis, and also a tract at St. Anthony Park, paying one dollar and a quarter per acre. He was one of the original proprietors of the town site of St. Cloud, in 1855, and in 1882 he laid out Eat St. Cloud, improving the place and making it what it is. He still has large interests there. From 1863 to 1871 he was a government contractor for transportation of army stores and for the furnishing of grain and other army supplies to the military posts on the frontier. Ever since his arrival in Minnesota Mr. Wilson has been identified with the public affairs of the state and his own locality. He was a county commissioner of Ramsey County from 1852 to 1855, a member of the constitutional convention in 1858, and a member of the state senate in 1864 and 1865. Since that time he has been a delegate to most of the Democratic state and congressional conventions. It is almost unnecessary to say after this review of Mr. Wilson's life that he is a self-made man--reliant, energetic, and having the confidence and respect of all who know him.


Philip Bickerton Winston
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. (Shutter, Marion Daniel, 1853-ed.) Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Journal (1897) transcribed by Vicki Bryan

Philip Bickerton Winston is the eldest son of William Overton Winston and Sarah Anne Gregory (Winston), both of whom were natives of Virginia and descendants of the early colonists who came over from England in the Seventeenth century. His great-grandfather was a patriot in the War of the Revolution, while his grandfather was a soldier in the War of 1812. William O. Winston held the office of County Clerk of Hanover County, Virginia, which his father had also held before him, for many years. The Gregory family were also prominent in the history of the state of Virginia. Philip B. was born at the
family home, known as Courtland (which he now owns), near Hanover Court House, Hanover County, Virginia, August 12, 1845. His early education he received at home under private tutelage, up to his sixteenth year. He then attended an academy in Caroline County for one year. The death of his father occurred at this time, and Philip returned home and assisted on the farm until the fall of 1862, when he enlisted as a private in the Confederate army, in Company E, Fifth Virginia Cavalry, though at this time only a lad of seventeen. After about a year of hard service he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant and assigned to the staff of General Thomas L. Rosser, who commanded a division under General Lee, as an aide-de-camp. He served in this post until the last sun was fired at Appomattox, having experienced a hard service and participated in a great many battles. The list of engagements in which he fought is as follows: Kelley's Ford, Grand Station, Aldee, Middlesborough, Hagerstown, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Gettysburg, cavalry engagement near Menassas, Mine Run, Sanxter's Station, Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House, Tryvillian's Station, Haw's Shop, Hanover Court House, Ream's Station, Mt. Jackson, Back Road, Tom's Brook, Winchester (the latter four in the valley of Virginia); Amelia Springs, Bossoux Cross Roads, Five Forks, High Ridge, Appomattox. After the close of the war Mr. Winston returned to his old homestead and engaged in farming. He remained here until May 1872, when he started West, arriving in Minneapolis with but little money in his possession. He secured a position in the engineering department of the Northern Pacific Railroad, in whose employment he remained for a little over a year. During the winters of 1873, 1874 and 1875 he engaged in government surveying in northern Minnesota with his brother, F. G. Winston. In the spring of the latter year he returned to Minneapolis and associated with his brother, V. G. Winston, under the firm name of Winston Brothers, for the business of railroad contracting. The next year W. O. Winston, another brother, was taken into partnership. The firm of Winston Brothers started out in a small way, but in a short time was able to establish quite a reputation, and is now one of the largest railroad contracting firms in the country. One thousand miles of track for the Northern Pacific Railroad was the first large contract received by them. Most of the track and bridge work of this road, west of Bismarck, was built by this firm. The Winston Brothers have also completed a great many other large contracts for railroad corporations in the Northwest. Mr. Winston has always been a Democrat. He was nominated for mayor of Minneapolis in 1888, but was defeated, though he ran 3,000 votes ahead of his ticket. Two years later he was re-nominated by acclamation and was elected by a plurality of over 6,000. The business interests of the city warmly supported him, and his administration from a business standpoint was a commendable one. He served in the legislature during the session of 1893, and was re-nominated in 1894, but failed of election. Since that time Mr. Winston has withdrawn from an active participation in politics, although he attended the last Democratic National Convention in Chicago as a delegate-at-large, and was chairman of the Minnesota delegation. In 1892 he was also chairman of the Minnesota delegation to the National Convention in St. Louis. Mr. Winston has extensive business interests in this city aside from that of the firm of Winston Brothers. He is a stockholder in the Security Bank, the Syndicate Building Company, and a stockholder and director in the Minneapolis Trust Company, all of Minneapolis. He is a member of the Minneapolis Club and the Commercial Club: the Minnesota Club, of St. Paul, and the West Moreland Club, of Richmond, Virginia. Each year he enjoys a few months on the old homestead in Virginia, on which he has made extensive improvements. On March 30, 1876, Mr. Winston was married to Katharine D. Stevens, a daughter of Colonel John A. Stevens, the first pioneer of what is now the city of Minneapolis. Mrs. Winston is prominent in all church and charitable work, and represented this state at the World's Fair as an alternate on the board of lady managers. Mr. and Mrs. Winston have two children, now nearly grown.


Josephine M. Witt
Source: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, Wood County, Wis.) Tuesday, 21 Oct. 1986; contributed by Ron Flink & transcribed by Marla Zwakman

Jehovah's Witnesses Services will be at 11 a.m. Wed. at the Rembs/Kundinger Chapel, Marshfield, for Mrs. Josephine M. Witt, 93, Minneapolis. She died Mon. at the Nile Health Center, Minneapolis, where she had been a resident for the past three years.

Mr. Lloyd E. Domres will preside at the services. Relatives and friends will serve as pallbearers. Burial will be in Hillside Cemetery, Marshfield.

Visitation will be on Wed. from 10 a.m. until the service time at the chapel.

The former Josephine M. Hahn was born Feb. 19, 1893, in the Town of McMillan, Marathon County, to Edward and Bertha (Zieberth) Hahn. She attended Town of McMillan schools and later was employed in Minneapolis and Detroit for a number of years.

She was married to Herman C. Witt, in Marshfield, and lived here after her marriage. They later moved to the Lynn area, Clark County, where they farmed. After her husband died on Dec. 9, 1960, she moved to Minneapolis.

She was a member of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Surviving are a brother, Reuben Hahn, Marshfield; three sisters, Mrs. Marie Frescholz and Mrs. Bertha McGovern, both of Minneapolis and Mrs. Flora Beane, Richmond, Calif.

She was predeceased by two brothers and seven sisters.


Hartson F. Woodard
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks Minnesota 1907, R.L. Polk & Co. St. Paul, MN; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

WOODARD Hartson F. Minneapolis. Res 3106 1st av S, office 330 Temple Court. Lawyer. Born June 21, 1847 in Dunham Quebec, son of Orlin and Mary Eliza (Thompson) Woodard. Married Sept 18, 1871 to Eunice Whitney. Educated in common schools and academy at Dunham Canada. Studied law and admitted to bar St Albans Vt 1869; began practice at St Albans 1869; continued until 1874; moved to St Croix county Wis 1874 and was dist atty of St Croix county 1875-76; practiced in St Croix county Wis until 1881; moved to Fergus Falls Minn and formed partnership with Senator Moses E Clapp; which continued until 1891. Moved to Minneapolis 1891 and has been in practice there to date. Member Commercial Law League of America.


J. S. Woodburn
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks Minnesota 1907, R.L. Polk & Co. St. Paul, MN; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

WOODBURN J S, Lake Minnetonka. Office 417 S 3d st Minneapolis. Born Jan 18, 1874 in Forrest Ill, son of Charles F and Frances (McCoy) Woodburn. Married June 9, 1902 to Marion E Kees. Educated in common schools. Employed by A C McClurg & Co Chicago 1890-95; mngr Des Forges & Co retail book and stationery Milwaukee 1895-1901; with St Paul Book & Stationery Co as mngr of retail dept 1901-1904; moved to Minneapolis 1904 and was elected as sec and treas of Great Western Printing Co; treas Minneapolis Waste Paper Co. Member Masonic fraternity.


Prentiss M. Woodman
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks Minnesota 1907, R.L. Polk & Co. St. Paul, MN; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

WOODMAN Prentiss M, Minneapolis. Res 1808 Colfax av S, office 836 Lumber Exchange. Lawyer. Born Oct 29, 1846 in New Gloucester Me, son of Prentiss M and Elizabeth U (Cushman) Woodman. Married Aug 21, 1878 to Mary H Talbot. Graduated from Edward Little High School at Auburn Me 1866; Brown Univ Providence R I 1870; A M from Mississippi College Clinton Mississppi 1872. Private in 29th Maine Inf during Civil War. Teacher Mississippi College and in the Minneapolis public schools 1870-80; propr Woodman Publishing Co Minneapolis, publishing Woodman's Lawyers' Diary, U S bankruptcy blanks, Atlas Guide to Minneapolis, etc. Dir Lumber Exchange Building Co Minneapolis. Member GAR.


Austin Woodward
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks Minnesota 1907, R.L. Polk & Co. St. Paul, MN; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

WOODWARD Austin M, Minneapolis. Res 215 Clifton av, office 63-64 Chamber of Commerce. Grain commission. Born Aug 24, 1852 at New Castle Ind, son of Franklin and Hannah M (Burt) Woodward. Educated at U of M. Conducted livery and sales stable Minneapolis 1872; sold same in 1874; spent 2 years abroad, returning to Minneapolis in 1876; opened large planing mill, later destroyed by fire. Began grain business April 1, 1879 and continued same to date. Stockholder and official in a number of banks in smaller towns of the Northwest; v pres South Side State Bank and dir First Nat Bank Minneapolis. Pres Grain Receivers Assn of Chamber of Commerce Minneapolis for several years; dir Chamber of Commerce Minneapolis 4 years; member Minneapolis Club.


Frank Roswell Emerson Woodward
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. (Shutter, Marion Daniel, 1853-ed.) Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Journal (1897) Submitted by Diana Heser Morse

Franc Roswell Emerson Woodward, whose sensational experiences in newspaper work, and in connection with the Cuban insurrection have given him no little prominence, is the son of Jasper M. Woodward, who was for many years engaged as a contractor in the city of Minneapolis. Mr. Woodward was a member of Company H, Sixth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. He died in 1895. His family included a number of men of military reputation, and several distinguished as surgeons and educators. One Dr. Woodward was a noted surgeon in the War of the Revolution. Another was the physician who attended President Garfield during his last illness. A brother, Prof. C. M. Woodward, was a distinguished educator in St. Louis, and was the founder of the manual training system in the United States. Mr. Woodward's wife, Mrs. Abby Ann Palmer Woodward, who survives him, is descended from Puritan stock. Her family is connected with the Campbells of Scotland, and of the same branch as the Duke of Argyle. Franc Woodward was born on September 6, 1868, on a Minnesota farm near the village of Hopkins. His early life was attended with many privations. He attended school in Minneapolis, and for about six years his daily routine consisted of carrying newspapers in the morning, attending school during the forenoon, collecting for newspapers in the afternoon, and lighting the street lamps in the early evening. Saturdays he substituted for school, work for a weekly paper. While growing up amid these varied surroundings, he wrote for several small publications, and won three prizes for juvenile stories. At seventeen he left school, but continued his studies and reading as he found time. The year 1886 found him in Duluth, employed on the "Duluth Herald." Subsequently he was offered a position on the "Duluth Tribune," and later occupied an all round editorial post on the "Minneapolis Evening Star." An expected advance in salary not being forthcoming, young Woodward went to St. Louis, where, as reporter for the "St Louis Post Dispatch," he created a stir in army circles by exposing the treatment of soldiers by officers at the Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. To secure the information necessary for this expose, Woodward enlisted and served for three months in the cavalry. His exposure was the cause of the three years' enlistment law, which went into effect after President Harrison had ordered a court of inquiry into the charges preferred. Other radical reforms followed. After this Mr. Woodward engaged in newspaper work on the "Herald" in Chicago, the "Fargo Argus," and several papers in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and finally on the "New York World." While on the "World" he made an investigation of the civil prison in Brooklyn. In May 1895, he was sent to Cuba as war correspondent. He served on the staff of General Maceo, was taken prisoner by the Spaniards, sentenced to be executed, but escaped and joined Maceo. He was again taken prisoner, but finally escaped from the interior of the island after being wounded four times, and boarded a British steamer. He returned to New York, and afterwards to Minneapolis, where he accepted a position with S. E. Olson and acted as manager of the advertising department. Mr. Woodward has written several books. His first was a novel, written when he was quite young. In later years Mr. Woodward collected all copies, of this book which he could find and destroyed them. "Dogs of War" was a description of his army experiences at St. Louis. "El Diablo Americano" was a story of his adventures in Cuba, published in New York. "With Maceo in Cuba," a later book on his experiences in Cuba, was published in Minneapolis. Mr. Woodward has always been connected with the press clubs of the cities in which he has been engaged in newspaper work. Among his fads are clay modeling and fencing. He is an expert rifle and pistol shot.


Fred Wright
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks Minnesota 1907, R.L. Polk & Co. St. Paul, MN; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

WRIGHT Fred B, Minneapolis. Res 424 Newton av N, office 311 Globe bldg. Lawyer. Born Jan 17, 1856 in Columbia N H, son of Beriah and Julia A (Smith) Wright. Married Aug 27, 1884 to Helen M Conant. Attended public schools in Vermont and New Hampshire; graduated from St Johnsbury Academy 1878; studied law with the late Judge George A Bingham at Littleton N H, and in the Boston Law School in Boston Mass. Has practiced law in Minneapolis 1883 to date; alone 1883 to 1895; member Wright & Matchan lawyers 1895 to date. Member Commercial Club.


Chandler C. Wyman
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks Minnesota 1907, R.L. Polk & Co. St. Paul, MN; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

WYMAN Chandler C, Minneapolis. Res 1812 Dupont av S, office 47 Chamber of Commerce. Grain commission merchant. Born Dec 19, 1858 at Millbridge Maine, son of John and Calrinda (Tolman) Wyman. Married Nov 28, 1887 Fannie Crittenden. Attended common and high schools at Millbridge Maine; Seminary at Buckport Maine; foreman Jasper Wyman's canning factory on coast of Maine 1878-80; confidential clk to Gen Adelbert Ames, flour commission business New York 1880-83; member Martin & Wyman grain commission merchants 1883-92; pres C C Wyman & Co. same 1892 to date. Dir Swedish-American National Bank.


James Thomas Wyman
Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal, 1897 - transcribed by AJ
James Thomas Wyman may be described as one of the makers of Minneapolis. No one is more active in every good work for the advancement of the interests of this city than he. Like many of the leading citizens of Minneapolis, Mr. Wyman is a native of Maine. He was born at Millbridge, October 15th, 1849, the son of John Wyman, a dealer in building materials and a merchant who, though not accounted wealthy, was in comfortable financial circumstances. Mr. Wyman is of old Puritan stock, his ancestry having come from England about 1640, and settled in Woburn, Massachusetts. He attended the public schools of his native town, but enjoyed no further educational advantages until he came to Minnesota in 1868 when he located at Northfield and attended Carleton College for one year. In 1869 he went into business in that town with his brother, operating a sash, door and blind factory and saw mill. This establishment was burned March 12th, 1871, without insurance. Mr. Wyman had already established such a reputation for integrity and straight-forward business methods that he was able to borrow money to pay off his debts. He then came to Minneapolis and was made superintendent of a sash, door and blind factory, operated by Jothan G. Smith and L. D. Parker, where he demonstrated the possession of such business capacity that in 1874 he became a partner, under the firm name of Smith, Parker & Co. This same business is now conducted under the firm name of Smith & Wyman, the partners being H. Alden Smith and James T. Wyman. From this it appears that Mr. Wyman has been a manufacturer in Minneapolis for upwards of twenty-five years, and a very extensive employer of labor, having on his pay rolls at different times from two hundred to two hundred and fifty men, and during all that time the most cordial and friendly relations have been maintained between employes(sic) and employer. Mr. Wyman helped to organize the Metropolitan Bank in 1889, and has been the president of that institution since 1890. He was president of the Board of Trade in 1888 and 1889 and was one of the organizers of the Business Union in 1889 and a member of its board of directors. He is president of the Clearing House Association of the associated banks of Minneapolis, and an active promoter of every enterprise for the benefit of the city. Politically he is a Republican, and was honored by his party with election to the lower house of the legislature in 1893, and to the senate in 1895, in both of which bodies he has been recognized as a leader. He was the author of the Minnesota factory inspection act, of the university tax act, of the new Minnesota banking law, and many other important measures. He is a member of the Minneapolis Club, of the Commercial Club, and also vice-president of the Associated Charities, to which splendid organization he has given the benefit of his business experience and wise counsel. He is a member of the Hennepin Avenue M. E. church, which counts him one of its most active and faithful supporters, and he serves the church as one of its trustees. He is also a trustee of Hamline University, the leading Methodist educational institution in the Northwest. Mr. Wyman, in spite of all his numerous interests and activities, is a man who is well known in Minneapolis society, always in demand and accounted on one of the most pleasing after dinner speakers of the state. He is now in his prime and enjoys the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens in a remarkable degree. He was married September 3d, 1873, to Rosa Lamberson, daughter of a Methodist Episcopal clergyman at Northfield. They have seven children, Roy L., Guy A., Grace Alice, James C., Maud E., Earle F., and Ruth.

Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks Minnesota 1907, R.L. Polk & Co. St. Paul, MN; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

WYMAN James Thomas, Minneapolis. Res 1029 S E 4th st, office 2d av cor S E 8th. Manufacturer. Born Oct 15, 1849; Millbridge Maine, son of John and Clarinda (Tolman) Wyman. Married twice: Sept 3, 1873 to Rosetta Lamberson (died April 15, 1899); June 12, 1901 to Anna G Shotwell. Educated in public school Millbridge Me; Carleton College Northfield Minn 1870. Removed to Minneapolis March 1871; entered firm of Smith, Parker & Co 1874; changed to Smith & Wyman mnfrs of sash, doors and blinds 1881; assisted in organization of Metropolitan Bank Minneapolis 1889; v pres same year; pres 1890; pres Clearing House Assn 1894; merged Metropolitan Bank into Northwestern National Bank and became director of same 1902. Member Minneapolis, Minikahda and St Anthony clubs. Member of Minn House of Representatives 1893-95; Senate 1895-99; Board of Regents U of M 1901; pres of same 1904; pres of Board of Trade Minneapolis 1888-89; trustee Hamline Univ since 1880; now v pres of the Board of Trustees. Member Board of Trustees Hennepin Av M E Church.


Oliver Cronwell Wyman
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal (1897) submitted by Diana Heser Morse

The employment of our energies upon the work at hand will almost invariably bring its reward to those using such methods in all the pursuits of life. The success achieved by Mr. Wyman, who is the senior member of the wholesale dry goods house of Wyman, Partridge & Co., is but another evidence of what perseverance in business will accomplish. Oliver Cromwell Wyman was born at Anderson, Indiana, January, 1837. His father, Henry Wyman, a native of New York, was prominently identified with the early history of the state of Indiana, and also with that of Michigan. His death, occurring in the latter state in 1891, at the advanced age of eighty-nine years, closed a successful professional career of more than fifty years in the practice of medicine. Mr. Wyman's mother's maiden name was Prudence Berry. She died but a few months after her son's birth; her parents were pioneer settlers in the Hoosier state. When Mr. Wyman was but seven years old, he removed to the state of Iowa with his maternal grandmother. With the advantage of but a common school education, Mr. Wyman, at the early age of fourteen years, began his active business career at Marion, Iowa, where he remained in business until 1874, when he came to Minnesota, locating in Minneapolis. He at once engaged in active business, establishing the wholesale dry goods house of Wyman & Mullin, Mr. Mullin having been a former business partner at Marion, Iowa. The firm's business place was 220 Hennepin avenue. In 1890 Mr. Mullin withdrew from the partnership, and Mr. George Henry Partridge, who had been associated with the credit department of the house for some years, became the junior partner, under the name of Wyman, Partridge & Co., Samuel D. Coykendall, of Rondout, New York, remaining the special partner. The firm continues the same at the present time. The business of this house has gradually increased since its beginning here, and it is now one of the largest wholesale dry goods houses in the West. The business is now located in their own building, corner of First avenue north and Fourth street, a very desirable locality for the convenience of the wholesale trade. It must be gratifying to any man to realize that his early business methods, so judiciously followed, have achieved good results. Mr. Wyman's political affiliations have been with the Democratic party. He does not, however, take any active part in party politics. In 1858 he was married at London, Iowa, to Charlotte E. Mullin, who died October 1, 1880. His second marriage was in 1889, to Bella M. Ristine, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Mr. Wyman has four children living.

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