Open main menu

History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Samuel Merrill

SAMUEL MERRILL, seventh Governor of the State, was born in Oxford County in the State of Maine on the 7th of August, 1822. He received a liberal education and when a young man taught school several terms in the south and in his native State. He removed to New Hampshire where he was elected to the Legislature in 1854, serving two sessions. In 1856 he came to Iowa, locating at McGregor, where he opened a general store. In 1859 he was elected on the Republican ticket to the House of the Eighth General Assembly. When the war began in 1861, Mr. Merrill took the contract to furnish three Iowa regiments with clothing before the Government could supply them with uniforms. In 1862 he was commissioned colonel of the Twenty-first Iowa Infantry. He was severely wounded at the Battle of Black River Bridge and was so disabled that he resigned his commission. In 1867 he was nominated by the Republican State Convention for Governor and elected, serving two terms. He removed to Des Moines and, after the close of his second term, engaged in the banking business. With others he established the Citizens' National Bank. He was active in bringing about the great reunion of Iowa soldiers at Des Moines in the summer of 1870. Governor Merrill was for many years an influential trustee of Iowa College at Grinnell. He acquired great wealth in banking and railroad building and finally removed to California. The last years of his life were spent in Pasadena, where he died on the 31st of August, 1899. His funeral was held at Dea Moines and was attended by many of the public officials and prominent men of the State.