1840 : William Woodbridge Becomes Michigan’s Second Governor

January 7, 2023 all-day

The Connecticut-born lawyer, who was a Whig, moved to Ohio, where he was a state representative, a county prosecutor and a state senator. After moving to Detroit, he served as Michigan Territory’s first congressional delegate, a territory Supreme Court judge, state constitutional convention delegate and state senator.

As governor, Woodbridge replaced Democrat Stevens T. Mason. He served for fewer than 14 months, resigning to become a U.S. senator on Feb. 24, 1841.

When he left for Washington, his lieutenant governor, James Wright Gordon, a fellow lawyer who was born in Connecticut, replaced him.

Woodbridge died in 1861 and is buried in Detroit’s Elmwood Cemetery.

Posthumously, Woodbridge has significance to sports fans in two ways. First, he used to own the land Tiger Stadium was built on and the second part of the Corner’s address at Michigan and Trumbull was named for Woodbridge’s father-in-law, John Trumbull, of American Revolution fame. Second, his great-granddaughter, Margaret Presley, won two medals in swimming at the 1920 Olympics, one gold and one silver.


Amy Elliott Bragg, “One constant succession of amusements“, Night Train,  May 17, 2010.

Zlati Meyer, “Michigan history: 2nd governor took office in 1840”, Detroit Free Press, January 4, 2015.

Zlati Meyer, “Territory gets to send delegate to House of Representatives”, Detroit Free Press, February 16, 2014.

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