On November 14, 1834, Epaphroditus Ransom brought his family to the Michigan Territory and settled in Bronson, Michigan (the citizens later changed the name of the settlement to Kalamazoo). A lawyer by trade, he traveled extensively by horseback throughout western Michigan, plying his trade and winning over many political supporters. He would eventually become Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court and be elected Michigan’s 7th governor, the 1st governor to be inaugerated in Lansing, Michigan on January 3, 1848.
Major accomplishments during his gubernatorial term include the promotion of privately operated plank roads — which over the next decade or so connected growing communities like Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo and, of course, big crazy Detroit — and a campaign to attract more German immigrants to Michigan, for which Epaphro sent Edward H. Thompson to New York City, bearing copies of a 47-page pamphlet called The Emmigrant’s Guide to Michigan in German and English. And he was Governor when the first Michigan State Fair (the nation’s second State Fair) was held in Detroit September 25-27, 1849.
The Michigan governor with the most unusual first name only served one term. The Democratic party could not abide his anti-slavery views. However the residents of Kalamazoo would send him back to the Michigan legislature. Later in life he would suffer financial setbacks.
Epaphroditus Ransom: Michigan Governor, courtesy of the Kalamazoo Public Library
Amy Elliott Bragg, Michigan Governors: Epaphroditus Ransom, Night Train Culture, September 8, 2010.