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Donnelly, Ignatius

Senate 1874-78 (District 20); House 1887-88 (District 25); Senate 1891-94 (District 24); House 1897-98 (District 24)

Party when first elected:  Anti-Monopolist

Counties Served:  Dakota

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Date of Birth: 11/3/1831
Birth Place: Philadelphia (Moyamensing), Pennsylvania
Birth County:
Birth Country: United States
Date of Death: 1/1/1901
Gender: Male
Religion: No Religious Affiliation
Other Names:
City of Residence (when first elected): Nininger
Occupation (when first elected): Farmer/Publisher, Anti-Monopolist Paper (Began Publishing on July 16, 1874)/Former Lawyer

EDUCATION

Philadelphia Public Schools, Pennsylvania; Elementary School;
Central High School, Pennsylvania; Secondary; Graduate, 1849
M.A.; Master of Arts, 1852
Studied Law; Benjamin Harris Brewster Law Office; Admitted to the Bar in Pennsylvania, 1852 or 1853

OTHER GOVERNMENT SERVICE

County Board/Commissioner: Dakota County, Minnesota (Agricutural Society); 1858 to 18??
State Lieutenant Governor: Minnesota; 01/02/1860 to 03/04/1863 [Elected]
Military: Liaison officer (Dakota War of 1862); 1862 to 1862
U.S. Representative: 2nd Congressional District, Minnesota; 03/04/1863 to 03/03/1869 [Elected]

FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Spouse: Katherine/Catherine McCaffrey (married in 1855, she died in 1894); Widower; Marion Olive Hanson (married in 1898, she was 20 years old)
Children:
Family Members Who Have Served in the Minnesota Legislature:

GENERAL NOTES

"Donnelly served in the Minnesota Senate and House in the late 1800s and was a founder of the Populist Movement, one of the first third-party movements in the United States" (St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 30, 1999).

"He spoke out against inmate whipping and child labor. He supported interest rate caps, trust busting, civil service reform and inheritance taxes. As a lawmaker, he exposed an insurance scam and a coal distributor's price-fixing scheme, and he revealed how lumber companies had pirated pine and cedar trees from state-owned lands" (Minnesota Lawyer, May 30, 2018).

"In his lifetime Donnelly was too uncompromising and rigidly moralistic to achieve many political victories, but the reforms he advocated -- an eight-hour workday, a graduated income tax, the breaking up of monopolies -- would eventually come to define the nation's Progressive movement" (Minnesota Lawyer, May 30, 2018).

"Donnelly was elected the state's second lieutenant governor in 1860, and in 1863 he became one of the state's first congressmen, serving until 1868 when he was defeated for re-election. He held these offices as a Republican. From 1874-78 he served as a state senator, and in 1886 he was elected to one term as a state representative as an independent. In 1884, he ran again for Congress, and lost, but this time as a Democrat. In 1892, he ran for governor as the Greenback Party candidate, and lost. Finally, in 1900, he was the unsuccessful vice presidential nominee of the national Populist Party" (Casselman, Barry. North Star Rising: Minnesota Politicians on the National Stage. Lakeville, Minn.: Pogo Press, 2008, p. 17.).

In 1857 his "aversion to slavery prompted him to switch political allegiances from the Democratic to the Republican Party" (Session Weekly, February 23, 1996, p. 22). He ran unsuccessfully as the Republican party endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Territorial Council in the 1857 and 1858 elections.

He was elected Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota as a Republican in the 1859 election.

"In 1862 Donnelly won the first of his three congressional terms as a Republican" (St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 30, 1999). He resigned as Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota to serve in the United States House of Representatives in 1863.

He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the United States House of Representatives in 1868 and an unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States House of Representatives in 1870.

"In 1873, Donnelly joined the Grange, an agrarian-rights group formed in Minnesota in 1868. He helped form the Anti-Monopolist Party, which combined the principles of the Democratic Party and the Grange, and ran successfully for the state Senate in 1873 as a member of the new party. He held that office until 1878 as an anti-monopolist and a 'greenbacker,' one who advocated the use of inconvertible paper money" (Session Weekly, February 23, 1996, p. 24).

"A temporary coalition of union labor and Alliance farmers nominated Donnelly for governor in 1888. He doubted its chances for success and soon withdrew" (MNopedia, April 18, 2016).

In 1892, "he was tapped to write the founding document of the newly formed People's Party" (Minnesota Lawyer, May 30, 2018). He was an unsuccessful candidate for governor on the People's Party ticket in 1892 (MNopedia, April 18, 2016).

He was nominated for Vice President of the United States by the Populist/People's Party in 1900.

He was of Irish and Scottish ancestry.

He moved to Nininger, Dakota County, Minnesota sometime between 1855 to 1857.

He was a best-selling author (Minnesota Lawyer, May 30, 2018).

"He has never been a member of any church, but his friends say that his books show the profoundest respect for Christianity and a most unshaken belief in the immortality of the soul." (Progressive Men of Minnesota, 1897, p. 416)

Religion provided by Progressive Men of Minnesota, 1897.

Total Days Served: 4753

SESSIONS SERVED

30th Legislative Session (1897-1898)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 24
Elected: 11/3/1896
Residence: Nininger
Term of Office: 1/5/1897 to 1/2/1899
Counties Represented: Dakota
Occupation: Farmer/Editor and Founder, Weekly Paper
Party: People's
Committees:
  • Municipal Legislation
  • Public Lands
  • Taxes and Tax Laws
  • Ways and Means

28th Legislative Session (1893-1894) (second half of Senate term)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 24
Elected: 11/4/1890
Residence: Nininger
Term of Office: 1/6/1891 to 1/7/1895
Counties Represented: Dakota
Occupation: Farmer/Founder of a Weekly Paper
Party: People's
Committees:
  • Grain and Warehouse
  • Judiciary
  • Library (Chair)
  • Railroads
  • University and University Lands

27th Legislative Session (1891-1892)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 24
Elected: 11/4/1890
Residence: Hastings
Term of Office: 1/6/1891 to 1/7/1895
Counties Represented: Dakota
Occupation: Farmer/Author
Party: Alliance
Committees:
  • Geological and Natural History Survey
  • Grain and Warehouse
  • Immigration
  • Judiciary
  • Library
  • Manufactures
  • Railroads (Chair)
  • Rules (Chair)
  • University and University Lands

25th Legislative Session (1887-1888)

  Session Details
Body: House
District: 25
Elected: 11/2/1886
Residence: Hastings
Term of Office: 1/4/1887 to 1/7/1889
Counties Represented: Dakota
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Independent-No Party Affiliation Party Notes: "In 1886 he was elected to one term as a state representative as an independent." (Casselman, Barry. North Star Rising: Minnesota Politicians on the National Stage. Lakeville, Minn.: Pogo Press, 2008, p. 17.)
Committees:
  • Education
  • Grain and Warehouse Inspection
  • Joint University and University Lands
  • Judiciary
  • Railroads (Chair)
  • Soldiers Home Special

20th Legislative Session (1878)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 20
Elected: 11/6/1877
Residence: Nininger
Term of Office: 1/8/1878 to 1/6/1879
Counties Represented: Dakota
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Democratic Party Notes: He was listed as a Democrat on the list of members posted after the 1877 election. ("The Next Legislature." St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 10, 1877)
Committees:
  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Joint Grasshopper Devastation
  • Joint Text Books Special
  • Judiciary
  • Railroads
  • Tree Planting (Chair)

19th Legislative Session (1877)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 20
Elected: 11/2/1875
Residence: Nininger
Term of Office: 1/4/1876 to 1/7/1878
Counties Represented: Dakota
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Anti-Monopolist Party Notes: "In 1873, Donnelly joined the Grange, an agrarian-rights group formed in Minnesota in 1868. He helped form the Anti-Monopolist Party, which combined the principles of the Democratic Party and the Grange, and ran successfully for the state Senate in 1873 as a member of the new party. He held that office until 1878 as an anti-monopolist and a 'greenbacker,' one who advocated the use of inconvertible paper money." (Session Weekly, February 23, 1996, p. 24)
Committees:
  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Internal Improvements
  • Joint Destitution by Reason of Grasshopper Devastations Special (Chair)
  • Railroads
  • Retrenchment and Reform
  • Tree Planting (Chair)

18th Legislative Session (1876)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 20
Elected: 11/2/1875
Residence: Nininger
Term of Office: 1/4/1876 to 1/7/1878
Counties Represented: Dakota
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Anti-Monopolist Party Notes: "In 1873, Donnelly joined the Grange, an agrarian-rights group formed in Minnesota in 1868. He helped form the Anti-Monopolist Party, which combined the principles of the Democratic Party and the Grange, and ran successfully for the state Senate in 1873 as a member of the new party. He held that office until 1878 as an anti-monopolist and a 'greenbacker,' one who advocated the use of inconvertible paper money." (Session Weekly, February 23, 1996, p. 24)
Committees:
  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Internal Improvements
  • Railroads
  • Retrenchment and Reform
  • Swamp or Overflowed Lands
  • Tree Planting (Chair)

17th Legislative Session (1875)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 20
Elected: 11/4/1873
Residence: Nininger
Term of Office: 1/6/1874 to 1/3/1876
Counties Represented: Dakota
Occupation: Farmer
Party: Anti-Monopolist Party Notes: "In 1873, Donnelly joined the Grange, an agrarian-rights group formed in Minnesota in 1868. He helped form the Anti-Monopolist Party, which combined the principles of the Democratic Party and the Grange, and ran successfully for the state Senate in 1873 as a member of the new party. He held that office until 1878 as an anti-monopolist and a 'greenbacker,' one who advocated the use of inconvertible paper money." (Session Weekly, February 23, 1996, p. 24)
Committees:
  • Agriculture
  • Railroads
  • Retrenchment and Reform
  • Tree Planting (Chair)

16th Legislative Session (1874)

  Session Details
Body: Senate
District: 20
Elected: 11/4/1873
Residence: Nininger
Term of Office: 1/6/1874 to 1/3/1876
Counties Represented: Dakota
Occupation: Farmer/Publisher, Anti-Monopolist Paper (Began Publishing on July 16, 1874)/Former Lawyer
Party: Anti-Monopolist Party Notes: "In 1873, Donnelly joined the Grange, an agrarian-rights group formed in Minnesota in 1868. He helped form the Anti-Monopolist Party, which combined the principles of the Democratic Party and the Grange, and ran successfully for the state Senate in 1873 as a member of the new party. He held that office until 1878 as an anti-monopolist and a 'greenbacker,' one who advocated the use of inconvertible paper money." (Session Weekly, February 23, 1996, p. 24)
Committees:
  • Agriculture
  • Railroads
  • Retrenchment
  • Tree Planting
Articles & Books By
Donnelly, Ignatius. The Golden Bottle, or The Story of Ephraim Benezet of Kansas. New York: D.D. Merrill Company, 1892

Donnelly, Ignatius. Doctor Huguet: a Novel. Chicago: F.J. Schulte and Co., 1891.

Donnelly, Ignatius. Caesar's Column: a Story of the Twentieth Century. Boston: Arena Publishing Co., 1890.

Donnelly, Ignatius. The Great Cryptogram: Francis Bacon's Cipher in the So-Called Shakespeare Plays. Chicago: R.S. Peale & Company, 1888.

Donnelly, Ignatius. The Destruction of Atlantis: Ragnarok, or the Age of Fire and Gravel, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1883.

Donnelly, Ignatius. Atlantis: The Antediluvian World. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1882.


Articles & Books About
Farber, Zac. "Ignatius Donnelly: Paranoid Progressive in the Gilded Age." Minnesota Lawyer, May 30, 2018.

Gilman, Rhoda R. "Donnelly, Ignatius (1831-1901)." MNopedia, April 18, 2016.

Carey, Tim. "Dakota County Settler Dreamed of Building a Great Metropolis." St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 30, 1999.

Gerboth, Betsy. "Lawyer, Poet, Fiery Orator Leaves Mark on Minnesota." Session Weekly, St. Paul: Minnesota House of Representatives Information Office, February 23, 1996, p. 22, 24.

Ridge, Martin. Ignatius Donnelly: the Portrait of a Politician. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.

Shutter, Marion Daniel. "Ignatius Donnelly." Progressive Men of Minnesota, Minneapolis: The Minneapolis Journal, 1897, p. 414-416.

"Hon. Ignatius Donnelly." Memoirs of the State Officers; and of the Nineteenth Legislature of Minnesota, by C.L. Hall. Minneapolis: Johnson & Smith, 1877, p. 13-14

Donnelly, Ignatius. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

Ignatius Donnelly. Biographical Information from the Minnesota Historical Society's Governors of Minnesota.