John S. Pillsbury

John S. Pillsbury

Infobox Governor
name=John Sargent Pillsbury

caption=John Sargent Pillsbury
order= 8th
office= Governor of Minnesota
term_start= January 7, 1876
term_end= January 10, 1882
lieutenant= James Wakefield, Charles A. Gilman
predecessor= Cushman Kellogg Davis
successor= Lucius Frederick Hubbard
birth_date= birth date|1828|7|29|mf=y
birth_place= Sutton, New Hampshire, U.S.
death_date= death date|1901|10|18|mf=y
death_place= Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
party= Republican
profession= businessman
spouse= Mahala Fisk

John Sargent Pillsbury (July 29, 1828ndash October 18, 1901) was an American politician, businessman, and philanthropist. A Republican, he served as the Governor of Minnesota from 1876 to 1882.

John S. Pillsbury was born in Sutton, New Hampshire. In 1851, he opened a store in Warner, New Hampshire, partnering with Walter Harriman, a future Governor of New Hampshire and Civil War general.

Pillsbury came to Minnesota from the Eastern U.S. in 1855 and settled in St. Anthony (now part of Minneapolis, Minnesota). He married Mahala Fisk the next year on November 3, 1856. The entrepreneur tried his hand at several different types of businesses (after his business with Walter Harriman) including hardware, real estate, and lumber, though his greatest success came when he founded C.A. Pillsbury and Company along with his family (it is named for his nephew, Charles Alfred Pillsbury).

John and Mahala had two children, Alfred Fiske Pillsbury and Sara Belle Pillsbury. Alfred did not go into business, but instead became an art collector. When he died, the works were donated to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Sara Belle married Edward C. Gale, an area lawyer and son of the area's first real estate developer, Samuel Chester Gale. Edward Gale was also an art collector and contributed to the MIA as well.

Pillsbury served as the 8th Governor of Minnesota from January 7, 1876, until January 10, 1882. During the Grasshopper Plague of 1877, Governor Pillsbury called for a day of prayer on April 26, 1877. A subsequent sleet storm killed all the grasshoppers. In Cold Spring, Minnesota, a chapel was built to honor the miracle.

Pillsbury was a noted philanthropist and often anonymously donated funds to causes he favored. In particular, he helped the University of Minnesota recover from debt in its early years, and later served as a regent. Since then, he has become known as "The Father of the University." Pillsbury Hall at the University of Minnesota is named in his honor.

Pillsbury is buried at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


* [ John S. (Sargent) Pillsbury.] Governors of Minnesota. Minnesota Historical Society.
* [ The Washburn-Fair Oaks Historic District: History and Walking Tour.] Hennepin History Museum.
* [ Pillsbury Hall (University of Minnesota Geology Department)] .
* [ Minnesota Legislators Past and Present]

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