1809 : Lt. Gov. Charles Bush Born

March 18, 2018 all-day

Lt. Gov. Charles Bush, best known for casting the deciding vote to move the state capital from Detroit to Lansing, was born on March 18, 1809.

The Ithaca, N.Y., native moved to Michigan in 1836 and got involved in state politics four years later, when he was elected to the state House of Representatives. He went on to have two stints as a state senator and to serve as a delegate to Michigan’s 1850 constitutional convention and to the 1852 Democratic National Convention in Baltimore.

In 1847, Bush, then president pro tem of the state Senate, became lieutenant governor after Gov. Alpheus Felch was elected a U.S. senator and his lieutenant governor, William Greenly, became governor.

Michigan’s 1835 constitution required a decision by 1847 about where the state’s permanent capital would be, according to Willis Dunbar and George May’s book “Michigan: A History of the Wolverine State.” Among the contenders were Jackson, Ann Arbor, Marshall, Battle Creek, Albion, Dexter, Byron and Lyons, though Detroiters fought to keep it where it had been since the Michigan Territory was established in 1805. A donation of 20 acres of land and Lansing’s central location made it strong competition.

One reason cited for moving the capital from Detroit was the fear of an attack by Canada if the U.S. and Britain went to war again.

Source: Zlati Meyer, “This week in Michigan history: Politician who pushed state capital to Lansing is born”, Detroit Free Press, March 16, 2014.

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