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Iowa History Daily: October 26 - Ansel Briggs

Iowa History Daily: On October 26, 1846 the people of Iowa Territory elected Ansel Briggs to serve as the first governor of the soon to be admitted State of Iowa. A true American success story, Briggs rose from stagecoach driver to Iowa’s First Governor.

Born in Vermont to a farm family who eventually moved west to Ohio during the 1820s, young Ansel Briggs found himself working as a stagecoach driver after his father died in an accident. For six years Briggs continued to drive coach while also serving as Township Constable, Deputy Sheriff, and Jailor.

Deciding to take up the call of the age and go West, the young man took his stagecoach business to Jackson County, Iowa Territory in 1839. Securing a route between Dubuque and Davenport for the Post Office Department, Briggs expanded his business and eventually started speculating in lands in the fledgling town of Andrew (Jackson County), Iowa.

Gaining a reputation as a man of ability due to his frequent travels for business throughout the state, Briggs entered politics. As Iowa geared up for statehood, Brigg’s campaign slogan of “No banks but earth, and they well tilled” played well with the Jacksonian political sentiment prevalent during the times, and Briggs narrowly defeated Dubuque lawyer Thomas McKnight by a margin of 7.626 to 7,379. When Iowa entered the Union on December 28, 1846, a stagecoach driver pulled into position as Iowa’s first governor during the statehood era. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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