Samuel J. R. McMillan

Samuel James Renwick McMillan (February 22, 1826 – October 3, 1897) was an American lawyer, judge and Republican politician. He served on the Minnesota District Court, the Minnesota Supreme Court and as U.S. Senator from Minnesota.

Samuel James Renwick McMillan
Samuel J. R. McMillan - Brady-Handy.jpg
United States Senator
from Minnesota
In office
March 4, 1875 – March 4, 1887
Preceded byAlexander Ramsey
Succeeded byCushman Kellogg Davis
Personal details
Born(1826-02-22)February 22, 1826
Brownsville, Pennsylvania
DiedOctober 3, 1897(1897-10-03) (aged 71)
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Harriet Butler
Alma materUniversity of Pittsburgh
Military service
Branch/serviceStillwater Frontier Guards
RankSecond Lieutenant
Battles/warsDakota War of 1862

Life and careerEdit

McMillan was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania in 1826. His parents Thomas Long and Jane McMillan (née Gormly) were of Scottish and Irish ancestry. He attended the University of Pittsburgh (then known as the Western University of Pennsylvania) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied law under Edwin M. Stanton, graduating in 1846. In 1850 he married Harriet Butler. McMillan and his wife moved to Minnesota in 1852, initially settling in Stillwater and later moving to St. Paul.[1][2]

When Minnesota achieved statehood in 1858 McMillan was named as the first judge of the newly formed Minnesota District Court. During the Dakota War of 1862 McMillan served as a Second Lieutenant in a militia unit known as the Stillwater Frontier Guards which was only briefly active.[2][3] In 1864 he was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court as one of two new justices to replace the recently resigned Justices Charles Eugene Flandrau and Isaac Atwater. In 1874 he was promoted to Chief Justice to replace Christopher G. Ripley who had also resigned. In 1875, the Minnesota Legislature elected him to serve as U.S. Senator. He served in the 44th, 45th, 46th, 47th, 48th, and 49th United States Congresses from March 4, 1875, to March 4, 1887.[4][5]

McMillan did not stand for re-election in 1886 and returned to his law practice after the end of his term. He died in Saint Paul on October 3, 1897. He is buried in Oakland Cemetery in St. Paul, Minnesota.[5][6]


  1. ^ Holmes, Frank R. (1908). Minnesota in Three Centuries. The Publishing Society of Minneapolis. pp. 70–71.
  2. ^ a b "Sergeant Albert Walter McMillan, E Troop, 7th Cavalry – Conspicuous Gallantry". Army at Wounded Knee.
  3. ^ Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars, 1861-1865, Volume 1. 1891. p. 804.
  4. ^ "Proceedings in Memory of Chief Justice McMillan" (PDF). Minnesota State Law Library. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-01-05.
  5. ^ a b "McMillan, Samuel James Renwick - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  6. ^ "Samuel James Renwick McMillan (1826 - 1897)". Find A Grave.
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 1) from Minnesota
Served alongside: William Windom, Alonzo J. Edgerton, Dwight M. Sabin
Succeeded by