Alexander Ramsey, Governor, U.S. Senator and Secretary of War

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Alexander Ramsey

Birthplace: Hummelstown, Dauphin, PA, USA
Death: Died in St Paul, Ramsey, MN, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Ramsey and Elizabeth Ramsey
Husband of Anna Earl Ramsey

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Immediate Family

About Alexander Ramsey, Governor, U.S. Senator and Secretary of War

Alexander Ramsey (September 8, 1815 – April 22, 1903) was an American politician. He was born near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Alexander Ramsey was elected from Pennsylvania as a Whig to the U.S. House of Representatives and served in the 28th and 29th congresses from March 4, 1843 to March 4, 1847. He served as the first Territorial Governor of Minnesota from June 1, 1849 to May 15, 1853 as a member of the Whig Party.

Ramsey was of Scottish and German ancestry. In 1855, he became the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota. Ramsey was elected the second Governor of Minnesota after statehood and served from January 2, 1860 to July 10, 1863. Ramsey is credited with being the first Union governor to commit troops during the American Civil War (he happened to be in Washington, D.C. when fighting broke out). He resigned the governorship to become a U.S. Senator, having been elected to that post in 1863 as a Republican. He was re-elected in 1869 and held the office until March 3, 1875, serving in the 38th, 39th, 40th, 41st, 42nd, and 43rd congresses.

Ramsey is also noted for his stern statements calling for the killing or removal of specific Native Americans, chiefly the Sioux (Dakota) people that lived in the state of Minnesota. Ramsey declared on September 9, 1862: "The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state."

Ramsey served as Secretary of War from 1879 to 1881, under President Rutherford B. Hayes.


The Minnesota Historical Society preserves his home, the Alexander Ramsey House as a museum. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. Alexander Ramsey Park, located in Redwood Falls, Minnesota, is the largest municipal park in Minnesota. Ramsey County, Minnesota, Ramsey County, North Dakota, the city of Ramsey, Minnesota, the city of Ramsey, Illinois, Ramsey Park in Stillwater, Minnesota, Ramsey Junior High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Alexander Ramsey Elementary School in Montevideo, Minnesota and Ramsey International Fine Arts Center (formerly Alexander Ramsey Junior High School) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, are also named for him.

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Alexander Ramsey, Governor, U.S. Senator and Secretary of War's Timeline

September 8, 1815
Hummelstown, Dauphin, PA, USA
April 22, 1903
Age 87
St Paul, Ramsey, MN, USA