McGill, A. R. (Andrew Ryan), 1840-1905

Alternative names
Birth 1840-02-19
Death 1905-10-31

Biographical notes:

Andrew Ryan McGill, the son of Angeline (née Martin) and Charles McGill, was born in Saegertown, Pennsylvania, on February 19, 1840. Andrew's father, Charles Dillon McGill (1802-1875) was the youngest son of Patrick (1762-1832) and Anna (née Baird) McGill. Patrick had emigrated from County Antrim, Ireland, about 1774, settling in Northumberland, Pennsylvania. In 1795 Patrick and Anna moved their family to the western part of Pennsylvania, homesteading several hundered acres in Crawford County. Andrew's mother, Angeline Martin (1811-1849), was the eldest of Armand (1785-1861) and Mary (née Ryan) (1789-1866) Martin's nine children. The Martin family also owned land in western Pennsylvania. Armand's brother, Lieutenant General Charles Martin, who commanded troops stationed at Fort le Boeuf (Watertown, Pennsylvania) in the late 1790s, settled in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

In 1859, at the age of nineteen, Andrew Ryan McGill moved from Pennsylvania to Kentucky to become a school teacher. When the Civil War began and teaching work was no longer feasible in Kentucky, McGill left for Minnesota, arriving June 10, 1861. He became principal of St. Peter's public school in August 1862. That same year McGill enlisted in Company D, 9th Regiment, Minnesota Volunteers. In 1863 he was discharged for disability. Soon after his discharge he was elected county superintendent of public schools (Nicollet County, Minnesota), a position he filled for two terms. From 1865 through 1866 McGill was editor and proprietor of the St. Peter Tribune . In 1865 he was also elected clerk of the district court of Nicollet County for a term of four years. McGill took the opportunity to study law under Judge Horace Austin and was admitted to the bar in 1869.

In 1870 Austin was elected Governor of Minnesota and McGill was selected as his private secretary. In 1873 McGill was appointed Minnesota's insurance commissioner, a position he held for thirteen years. In 1886 the Minnesota Republican state convention nominated McGill as their candidate for governor. He won the nomination and the election, serving a single, two-year term as governor (1887-1889). During his term he recommended a revision of the railroad laws pertaining to transportation, storage, and grading of wheat; the watering of railroad stocks; a simplification of the tax laws; regulation of liquor; abolition of contract prison labor; establishment of a soldiers' home; and creation of a Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even though he was not re-elected, McGill remained active in political circles, supporting the presidential candidacy of Cushman K. Davis (1896) and serving as state senator from the 37th District, St. Paul (1899-1905). McGill was appointed St. Paul's postmaster (1900) while concurrently serving as senator.

McGill married Eliza E. Bryant (~1846-1877), daughter of Charles S. Bryant, a lawyer and author from St. Peter, Minnesota. Together they had three children: Charles Herbert (1866-), Robert C. (1869-), and Lida B. (1874-). In 1879, two years after Eliza's death, Andrew married Mary E. Wilson, daughter of Margaret Maleena (née Stone) and Joseph Carlton Wilson, a prominent physician of Edinboro, Pennsylvania. Mary and Andrew had two children: Wilson (1884-) and Thomas (1889-).

From the guide to the A. R. McGill and family papers., 1794-1931 (bulk 1870-1900)., (Minnesota Historical Society)


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  • Education--Minnesota
  • Insurance law--United States
  • Education
  • Art, Modern--19th century
  • Insurance
  • Art, Modern--19th century--United States
  • Spanish--American War, 1898
  • Postal service--Minnesota--St. Paul
  • Postal service
  • African Americans
  • Real property--United States
  • Insurance--Minnesota
  • Real property
  • World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition (1884-1885 : New Orleans, La.)
  • Insurance law
  • Real property--Minnesota


  • Governors--Minnesota
  • Postmasters--Minnesota--Saint Paul
  • Postmasters--Minnesota--St. Paul


  • United States (as recorded)
  • Saint Peter (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • Minnesota--Saint Paul (as recorded)
  • Minnesota (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania (as recorded)
  • Saint Paul (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • Saint Paul (Minn.). (as recorded)
  • Nicollet County (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • Minnesota (as recorded)
  • Fort le Bouef (Pa.). (as recorded)
  • Saint Peter (Minn.). (as recorded)
  • Fort le Bouef (Pa.) (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania (as recorded)
  • Nicollet County (Minn.). (as recorded)