Archive for October 19, 2008

October 19

October 19, 2008

Andrew O’Connor (1874-1941) was an American sculptor of monuments and portrait busts. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, a son of a sculptor of the same name of Irish descent. He received various commissions for funerary and public monuments mainly in the USA, including the monument to Lincoln at Springfield, Illinois, an equestrian statue of Lafayette at Baltimore and the Theodore Roosevelt memorial at Glen View, Chicago. He also unveiled the sculpture of Minnesota’s first native born governor John A. Johnson.

O’Connor created the statue that is placed in front of the state capital of the first Minnesota-born governor John A. Johnson. Governor Johnson was the first to serve a full term in the present state capitol, and the first to die in office, John Johnson would still be remembered as one of the state’s most courageous and charismatic leaders. He also was the first Minnesota governor to bask, fleetingly, in the national spotlight when he sought the 1908 Democratic presidential nomination but lost to William Jennings Bryan.

He failed in early campaigns for state office from his heavily Republican home county but finally was elected to the state senate in 1898, indicating his growing bipartisan appeal. Elected governor three times—in 1904, 1906, and 1908—Johnson’s ability to reason and work with legislators of both parties resulted in such reform legislation as reorganization of the state’s insurance department to the benefit of policyholders, reduction of railroad passenger and freight rates, and removal of constitutional restraints on the legislature’s power to tax.

Thanks to Mr. Gunderson’s 6th grade class at Virginia-Roosevelt Elementary School for the research on October’s Day in History.

Thanks also to Minnesota’s Learn and Serve America Service Learning Program for their help.