Alexander Ramsey was born September 8th 1815 near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His family was of Scottish and German heritage. He attended Lafayette College; becoming a lawyer he had a practice in Harrisburg. He served the state of Pennsylvania in the United States House of Representatives from 1843 to 1847. Ramsey then became the first Territorial Governor of Minnesota from 1849 to 1853. He became the mayor of St Paul, Minnesota in 1855.
On January 2nd 1860 Ramsey became the second Governor of the State of Minnesota. He was in Washington, DC when the fighting of the Civil War broke out, and he became the first governor to commit troops the Union cause. It was also during his term that he called for the removal of all American Indians from Minnesota, stating on September 9th 1862 that “The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state."
He was elected to the United States Senate in 1863 and would serve in that office until 1875. Ramsey would also serve as the United State Secretary of War under President Rutherford B Hayes from 1870 to 1881. From 1882 through 1886 he was the chairman of the Edmunds Commission which was working on the question of Mormon polygamy and the state hood of Utah. Ramsey died April 22nd 1903 in St Paul, Minnesota and is buried in the Oakland Cemetery there.