Did You Know? 1860.

A photo by Iowa City’s first photographer, Isaac Wetherby (1864).

Iowa’s Civil War Governor – Samuel J. Kirkwood.

Samuel Kirkword was born in 1813 in Harford County, Maryland and at age 17, he began teaching school. Samuel spent part of his youth in Washington, D.C., then joined his father in moving to Ohio in 1835. There, he became a well-known anti-slavery Republican and was elected to several state offices.

A successful businessman, Samuel Kirkwood’s nickname soon became Dusty Miller – a colorful reference to his occupation – a hands-on manager of a flour mill. Although Kirkwood intended to leave politics behind him when he left Ohio, his friends summoned him from his mill, and while still coated in flour dust, gave a rousing speech at the founding meeting of the Iowa Republican Party in February 1856.

Sworn into office as Iowa’s Governor on January 11, 1860, Samuel Kirkwood won his place in Iowa history by his decisive actions as the state’s Civil War governor.


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