The Michigan Governor from The Sault

In 1941, Michigan Governor Murray Van Wagoner proclaimed January 22nd as Chase Salmon Osborn Day. This month, one hundred and five years ago, Osborn was serving as our Michigan Governor. The term of the Sault man was from 1911-1913. Chase Salmon Osborn was the twenty-seventh governor of Michigan. Osborn was born on January 22, 1860, in Huntington County, Indiana. The name which George and Margaret Osborn gave to their son on the eve of the Civil War was Chase Salmon after the noted Ohio abolitionist Salmon P. Chase. On January 22nd, 1940 Osborn celebrated his 80th birthday anniversary and held “such a place in the hearts of the people of Michigan” that he received “thousands of congratulatory messages of good will and in his home city, Sault Sainte Marie, annually observes Chase S. Osborn Day in his honor,” according to the 1941 Van Wagoner proclamation. Around the Sault, Osborn has a street named after him, the bronze figures of the wolf with Romulus and Remus in front of the County Courthouse and other works of art. Chase Osborn arrived from Wisconsin to Sault Ste. Marie, he purchased in partnership a faltering weekly newspaper, the Sault News. Entirely unaided by friends and influence, he rose steadily in his efforts through these many stages and post of honor-State Game Warden and railroad commissioner (1898), instrumental in developing Michigan’s Workmen’s Compensation Law, Governor of Michigan and Michigan’s most noted citizen at the time. In his proclamation Van Wagoner added, “Appellations merited by a lifetime of activity include the following: The Best Educated Man in America, Orator of the Nation, Sage of the Sault, The Iron Hunter, Nestor of the North, Master of All Trades, Noted Author, Brilliant Newspaperman, Nationally Recognized Authority on Michigan’s Wild Life and Natural Resources, and Altogether Michigan’s Greatest Statesmen and Most Famous Citizen.” His autobiography The Iron Hunter (1918) gives the reader a great perspective of the man. Chase Osborn died in 1949 at the age of ninety.

January 24, 2017