Stephen Miller (Minnesota governor)

Stephen Miller (January 7, 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.

Stephen Miller
4th Governor of Minnesota
In office
January 11, 1864 – January 8, 1866
LieutenantCharles D. Sherwood
Preceded byHenry Adoniram Swift
Succeeded byWilliam Rainey Marshall
Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from District 38
In office
January 7, 1873 - January 5, 1874
Personal details
Born(1816-01-07)January 7, 1816
Carroll Township, Perry County, Pennsylvania
DiedAugust 18, 1881(1881-08-18) (aged 65)
Worthington, Minnesota
Political partyRepublican
SpouseMargaret Funk
Professionbusinessperson, real estate agent, attorney, soldier

Early years and business entrepreneurEdit

Born in Carroll Township, Pennsylvania, Stephen Miller established a series of successful businesses.[1] Frail health prompted the entrepreneur, of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, 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.[2]

Civil War soldier and leaderEdit

Stephen Miller in 1863

During the Civil War, Miller, a middle-aged soldier with no previous military experience, advanced rapidly from the rank of private to colonel in the 1st Minnesota Infantry. 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.[1][2]

Governor of MinnesotaEdit

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.[2]

Later years and term as state representativeEdit

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 state representative from January 7, 1873, to January 5, 1874, representing then-District 38, which included all or portions of Cottonwood, Jackson, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone and Rock counties in the southwestern part of the state. During his term, he was chair of the House's Public Lands Committee.[3] In 1876, he was a representative to the Electoral College. The one-time war hero and popular governor died alone, an impoverished widower, in Worthington in 1881.[2]


  1. ^ a b The Fifteenth Legislature of Minnesota. Biographical Sketches (PDF). St Paul, Minnesota: Press Printing Company. OCLC 07794761 – via Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
  2. ^ a b c d "Stephen Miller Biography". Minnesota Historical Society.
  3. ^ "Miller, Stephen - Legislator Record - Minnesota Legislators Past & Present".

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Minnesota
Succeeded by