He was of Swedish ancestry.
He was the first Governor of Minnesota who was born in Minnesota. (MHS Governors of Minnesota)
He was the first Governor of Minnesota to die in office. (MHS Governors of Minnesota)
He sought and lost the Democratic endorsement for President of the United States in 1908.
He died after his fourth round of surgery for intestinal problems at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His body was lain in state in the State Capitol on September 22, 1909 and an estimated 50,000 mourners came to pay their last respects. He was buried in St. Peter, Minnesota on September 23, 1909.