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Stephen Miller

Stephen Miller

In office
January 11, 1864 – January 8, 1866
Lieutenant Charles D. Sherwood
Preceded by Henry Adoniram Swift
Succeeded by William Rainey Marshall

Born January 17, 1816(1816-01-17)
Carroll Township, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died August 18, 1881 (aged 65)
Worthington, Minnesota, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Margaret Funk
Profession businessperson

Stephen Miller (January 17, 1816 – August 18, 1881) was an American Republican politician. He was the first Civil War veteran to serve as Minnesota Governor. He was the fourth Governor of Minnesota.

Born in Carroll Township, Pennsylvania, Stephen Miller established a series of successful businesses. Frail health prompted the Pennsylvania Dutch entrepreneur to leave home at age 42 and follow his friend Alexander Ramsey to Minnesota, where the climate reportedly was more congenial. Miller established a mercantile business in St. Cloud and, within two years, had risen to prominence in the state Republican Party.

Stephen Miller in 1863

During the Civil War, this middle-aged soldier with no previous military experience advanced rapidly from the rank of private to colonel in Minnesota's First Regiment of Volunteers. In 1862 Miller returned from the South and replaced Brig. Gen. Henry Hastings Sibley as commander of Mankato's Camp Lincoln. There, 303 Dakota men, convicted of participating in the Dakota War of 1862, awaited their fate. Four months later, Miller supervised, by order of President Lincoln, the mass execution of 38 Dakotas condemned for their part in the war.

His military career and Alexander Ramsey's support assured Miller of a gubernatorial victory in 1863. He was the 4th Governor of Minnesota, serving from January 11, 1864, to January 8, 1866. He was the first of several Civil War veterans to serve as Governor of Minnesota. Although lacking a college degree himself, he valued higher education and advocated generous appropriations to the University of Minnesota and to state normal schools, one of which evolved into St. Cloud State University. In his final address to the legislature, he strongly but unsuccessfully urged adoption of a black suffrage amendment to the state constitution.

Miller chose not to run for re-election and was unemployed until 1871, when he became a railroad-company field agent in Windom. He served as a U.S. congressman from 1873-1874, and as an electoral college representative in 1876. In 1881 the one-time war hero and popular governor died alone, an impoverished widower in Worthington, Minnesota.


Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Adoniram Swift
4th Governor of Minnesota
1864 – 1866
Succeeded by
William Rainey Marshall


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