1804 : Henry Howland Crapo, Michigan’s 14th Governor, Born

May 24, 2018 all-day

Henry Howland Crapo (pronounced Cray-poe; May 24, 1804 – July 23, 1869) was the 14th Governor of Michigan during the end of the American Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction.

In 1858 Crapo left Massachusetts and moved to Flint, Michigan, primarily due to investments in pinelands, and became Flint’s mayor in 1860. His family established a lucrative lumbering business in the area, which by the beginning of the Civil War was one of the largest individually owned lumber firms in the state. He was instrumental in the construction of the Flint and Holly Railroad, and was President of that corporation until its consolidation with the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad.

Crapo purchased about 1,000 acres of swampland called “Gaines’ Dead Marsh” or “Dead Man’s Swamp” in 1860. This swamp, the source of the west branch of the Swartz Creek and its name, was drained. An effective settlement was established there with the Crapo Farm with most structures outside of the current boundaries of the City of Swartz Creek. Crapo Farm even had its own rail depot.

In 1862, he was elected to the Michigan Senate to represent Genesee County, and ranked with the leading men of Michigan in the Civil War Senate.

In 1864, he was nominated on the Republican ticket for Governor of Michigan and was elected by a large majority. He was re-elected in 1866, holding the office two terms and retiring in January 1869. His administration was very efficient and marked particularly by his vetoing railway aid legislation and his firm refusal to pardon convicts, except upon overwhelming proofs of their innocence or excessive sentence. Crapo held office at the Farm’s Mansion, Grassmoor.

Sources :

Henry H. Crapo wikipedia entry.

Jessica Pressley Sinnott, “Henry Howland Crapo A Governor with Grit“, My City Magazine, November 1, 2013.

The Henry Howland Crapo Family Papers are available at the Genesee Historical Collections Center, Frances Wilson Thompson Library, University of Michigan-Flint.

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