Henry Hastings Sibley

Henry Hastings Sibley

Infobox Governor
name= Henry Hastings Sibley

caption= Henry Hastings Sibley
order= 1st
office= Governor of Minnesota
term_start= May 24, 1858
term_end= January 2, 1860
lieutenant= William Holcombe
predecessor= Samuel Medary (Territorial)
successor= Alexander Ramsey
birth_date= Birth date|1811|2|20
birth_place= Detroit, Michigan, United States
death_date= Death date and age|1891|2|18|1811|2|20
death_place= Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
party= Democratic
profession= supply-purchasing agent
spouse= Sarah Jane (Hume) Steele

Henry Hastings Sibley, first governor of the U.S. state of Minnesota, was born in Detroit, Michigan on February 20, 1811. He was the son of Judge Solomon Sibley (1769ndash 1846) and Sarah Whipple (Sproat) Sibley, and the grandson of Reuben and Ruth (Sibley) Sibley, and of Col. Ebenezer and Catherine (Whipple) Sproat. He was a descendant of John Sibley, who sailed from England in Winthrop's fleet in 1629, and settled in Salem, Massachusetts.

Early life

, where he lived from 1834ndash 1862. [ [http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/wmh/archives/search.aspx?area=browse&volumn=29&articleID=15748 Wisconsin Magazine Of History Archives ] ]

In 1836, Sibley built the first stone house in Minnesota in Mendota overlooking Fort Snelling. On May 2, 1843, Sibley married Sarah Jane Steele, daughter of General James and Mary (Hume) Steele, who lived at Fort Snelling. The political boundaries changed so frequently in the period from 1836 through 1862 that although all of Sibley's children were born in this house, they were all born in different political units: Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota Territory and finally, Minnesota State.In 1862, he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota.

Political career

in the first state gubernatorial contest, Sibley declared in his inaugural address, "I have no object and no interests which are not inseparably bound up with the welfare of the state." He did not seek reelection.

Railroad bond issue

When directed by the legislature to issue bonds to the railroads, he refused as the railroads did not give priority of lien on their property to the state. He was then ordered by the supreme court to issue state bonds to railroads, and was also requested to market the bonds in New York. Although he made an effort to do, as the capitalists refused to buy them, they were subsequently repudiated by the state.

Military career

The U.S. Dakota War of 1862In 1862, he was appointed colonel of the state militia, and was sent up the Minnesota River to protect the exposed points from the Sioux Indians. After the massacre at Acton, August 18, 1862, he was involved in the following engagements:
*The repulsion of the Indians at New Ulm, August 19 and 25
*The attack on Fort Ridgely, August 20
*The bloody affair at Battle of Birch Coulee, September 1
*The battle of Wood Lake, Minnesota, September 22, 1862

This last engagement was a decisive battle and resulted in the release of about 250 white settlers and the capture of 2,000 Indians of both sexes. Of these captives, 321 were tried for capital crimes and 303 were condemned to die; thirty-eight of whom were hanged at Mankato, December 26, 1862. He was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers, September 29, 1862, for "gallantry in the field." He established his headquarters at St. Paul and created a new military department which included Minnesota, Dakota Territory, Iowa, and Wisconsin, all of which he fortified with posts and garrisons. He led a second successful expedition against the Sioux in Dakota Territory in 1863, including the battles of Big Mound (July 24), Dead Buffalo Lake (July 26), and Stony Lake (July 28).

He was employed in conducting measures for the defense of the western frontier, 1864ndash 1865, and, on November 29, 1865, was brevetted as major-general of the volunteers for "efficient and meritorious services." He was relieved from the command of the district of Minnesota in August, 1866.

Post-military career

After being relieved of command, he was active in settling several Indian treaties. Upon reentering business life in St. Paul, he served as president of the chamber of commerce, as well as the president of several railroads, banks, and other large corporations. He became a member of the Minnesota Historical Society in 1849—eventually serving as president. He also became a member of the Old Settlers' association of that state in 1858, and of the board of visitors to the U.S. Military academy in 1867. He was also president of the board of regents of the University of Minnesota, president of the board of Indian commissioners from 1875ndash 1876, and received an honorary LL.D. from the College of New Jersey, in 1888. He also contributed to the collections of the Minnesota Historical society, to "Spirit of the Times", and to "Turf, Field and Farm".

He died in St. Paul, Minnesota, on February 18, 1891.


Sibley is memorialized in numerous places including: Sibley County, Minnesota, Sibley, North Dakota, Sibley, Iowa, Hastings, Minnesota, Sibley State Park, and Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, Minnesota.


External links


ee also


*cite book
title=The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume IX
editor=Johnson, Rossiter, ed.
publisher=The Biographical Society
location=Boston, MA
id= [A corrected edition of The Cyclopedia of American Biography (1897ndash 1903) and Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States (1900ndash 1903).] (Republished by Gale Research Company, Book Tower, Detroit, 1968) Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 68-19657: Accessed from [http://genweb.whipple.org/d0279/I49390.html http://genweb.whipple.org/d0279/I49390.html] on January 18, 2006. Editors note: Currently at [http://genweb.whipple.org/d0293/I49390.html http://genweb.whipple.org/d0293/I49390.html] . This tends to move around, so to find this entry, search for 49390 on this page: http://genweb.whipple.org/searchrin.html

* Pedersen, Kern, Makers of Minnesota: An Illustrated History of the Builders of Our State. St. Paul: Minnesota Territorial Centennial (1949)

*cite web
author=Minnesota Historical Society
title=GOVERNORS OF MINNESOTA: Henry H. (Hastings) Sibley
accessmonthday= January 18

*cite web
author=City of Mendota
title=Henry Hastings Sibley
work=Navigate Mendota
accessmonthday= January 18

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