Nicknamed the “father of popular sovereignty”, Lewis Cass was born in New Hampshire in 1782. He moved to Ohio as a child, and relocated to the Michigan Territory to help fight against the British in 1812. The following year he was appointed Territorial Governor. He remained in that position until 1831 when President Andrew Jackson named him secretary of war. In 1848, Cass was the Democrat’s nominee for President of the United States, but he lost the election to Zachary Taylor. Later, Cass served as U.S. Ambassador to France, as Secretary of State under President James Buchanan, and as U.S. Senator from Michigan. He was recognized as a staunch opponent of slavery and supported the right of each state or territory to make up its own mind on the divisive issue.
He died on June 17, 1866. President Andrew Johnson proclaimed a day of national mourning. Michigan and Detroit bells tolled.
On June 20, 1866, funeral services were held in Detroit for Lewis Cass.
For more information about Lewis Cass, see Bill Loomis, “Lewis Cass, the titan of Michigan’s early years”, Detroit Free Press, June 28, 2014.
Michigan Historical Calendar, courtesy of the Clarke Hitorical Library at Central Michigan University.