US Senator. He was Minnesota's first Senator after entering statehood. After his father died when he was very young he lived with friends and attended local schools. He studied law for two years but there is no evidence he was admitted to the bar or that he ever practiced law. At the age of 18 he moved to Detroit, Michigan and participated in the survey of the canal between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. As he moved farther west he obtained a position as sutler at Fort Snelling near what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota. He became a fur trader with the Winnebago and Chippewa Indians and through his influence with them was able to negotiate treaties between the Indians and the US Government. He was responsible for the agreement that opened all of Minnesota to white settlers. He was instrumental in the passage of the bill that led to Minnesota becoming a territory and then served as its delegate to the 33rd and 34th US Congress. His work in Congress led to Minnesota's admission to statehood. He was elected senator and served as a Democrat from statehood admission through March 3, 1863 and was not a candidate for reelection. He was an unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1865. As a United States Commissioner in 1887 and 1888 he continued to negotiate treaties with the Indians. He was on a visit to San Antonio, Texas when he died.
Bio by: Tom Todd