Amelia Hutchins Biography & Facts
Dwight May Sabin (April 25, 1843 – December 22, 1902) was an American politician who served as U.S. Senator from Minnesota and in the Minnesota Legislature. He is known for the business ventures of Seymour, Sabin & Co. and the Northwestern Car Company, highly successful enterprises dependent on the highly profitable prison labor contracts he had negotiated with the Minnesota State Government in the 1870s. His election to federal office, in 1883, came following an infamous prolonged dead-lock in the Minnesota State Senate, during which incumbent Senator William Windom failed of re-election following "the worst campaign in the known history of the state."
Dwight May Sabin, the elder of the two sons of Horace Carver Sabin and Maria Elizabeth Webster (originally of Fredonia, NY), was born in 1843, in Marseilles, Illinois, where he spent his childhood years.Horace, Dwight's father, of Windham County, Connecticut, had moved west to establish his own property near Marseille, IL, platted 1853 as a canal town in the expectation of the completion of the Illinois-Michigan Canal. Horace's enterprise was successful, but illness returned the Sabins to Connecticut by 1857, where the family moved into the Sabin's ancestral home, part of the original Connecticut New Roxbury Grant, and descended through the family from the area's earliest white settlers, circa 1686.In 1862, following his grandfather's death, Sabin attended Phillips Academy, studying civil engineering and mathematics, leaving school after a year of coursework to enlist as a Union soldier in the American Civil War. A period review of his life and career from 1883 noted that he arrived at Gettysburg in July, 1863, "on the second day of the decisive and dreadful battle of the rebellion, at the very period when the only regiment from Minnesota in the Army of the Republic was behaving so gallantly on Cemetery Hill," but this Minnesota reference, and its supposed significance to Sabin, may simply have been a political nod to his recent election to the US Senate at the time of the piece's publication.
While in the Federal Army, Sabin served as aide to the "chief medical officer of General Pleasanton's Cavalry," until several months' "exposure in the field" brought on an unidentified pulmonary llness that took him from camp duty to a clerkship in "the Third Auditor's Office" (Auditor of the War Department) in the US Treasury Department in Washington, DC. When his father died in 1864 Sabin, just twenty, was discharged and returned to Connecticut to help his mother manage his father's estate. Sabin took on the management of the family property in Windham County, while his mother, accompanying his brother Jay, returned to Illinois to take on management of the Illinois farm. The next three years were spent "cutting his woodlands into lumber and disposing of the same". in Connecticut
In 1867 his doctor suggested Sabin relocate for the sake of his health. After spending time with his family in Illinois, he moved to Minnesota, where he settled in Stillwater and became involved in lumber and manufacturing interests.
Seymour, Sabin & Co. and the Stillwater Prison
In 1868, Sabin embarked on a new business venture as the firm of Seymour, Sabin & Co. This new company was contracted with the State of Minnesota to leverage the labor force at the recently established Stillwater Prison.
The labor contract system at Minnesota's Stillwater prison had begun in 1859 with John B. Stevens, a manufacturer of windows and blinds, who had leased the prison workshop from the state, taking over the labor and paying what was then a generous seventy-five cents a day for each full-time worker. But Stevens was forced to declare bankruptcy when his mill burnt down in 1861, and George M. Seymour, a manufacturer of flour barrels, moved in and took over the prison contract, establishing "a wage for a day's work from each prisoner which was scaled to advance from thirty to forty-five cents over a five-year period." 1868 was the first year of record in which a warden protested the exploitative aspects of this system, arguing that, at the very least, "inmates be allowed to work for the benefit of the state rather than for private concerns." It is unclear whether the warden's protests were prompted by the formation of the new company, with Seymour bringing Sabin into the business, or if these protests prompted the formation of the new company. Whichever the case, Seymour, Sabin & Co. were swift to consolidate and expand their business venture. By 1871 the firm's sales had topped $135,000.Initially the business manufactured doors, window sashes, cooperage (barrels) and the like, a logical progression from Sabin's lumber interests. In 1874 the firm expanded to include a foundry and boiler room, allowing for the production of agricultural implements. The firm began producing threshing machines in 1876, and soon could pride itself as the largest manufacturer of the world famous model "Minnesotan Chief" thresher. Profits topped three hundred thousand dollars by 1881. Sabin himself was described that year as a man "very suggestive of potential force, stored ready for use. He isn't much of a talker. His power is tangible."By 1882, Sabin was the "prime organizer of the Northwestern Car Company, with capital of $5,000,000," (a coterie which included "'certain wealthy persons' representing large railroad interests") which then purchased Seymour, Sabin and Co., and elected Sabin president of this new business. With an additional almost twelve hundred civilians employed in the prison shops (constructed ...) as well as in and around the extensive yards and workshops that had proliferated outside the prison walls, Sabin appeared poised to take charge of a manufacturing operation at a scale beyond, at least, that ever imagined by the prison inspectors of 1884, who marched through the conglomeration of workshops declaring, ""It was never expected when the contract for prison labor was made, that the Manufacturing Co. of Seymour, Sabin & Co. would develop into the mammoth N.W. Manufacturing & Car Co."But before Sabin could solidify his role at the summit of this behemoth, political events intervened. Incumbent Minnesota US Senator William Windom undermined his re-election campaign, and Sabin, unexpectedly, was put up as US Senator in his place. Resignation from active leadership of his new business venture would be a requirement for this new role.
The Minnesota State House
Sabin first became politically active in Minnesota at the State level when he was elected to the Minnesota Senate in 1871, participating in Minnesota's 13th Legislative Session as representative of the Chisago, Kanabec, Pine, and Washington Counties.
In 1872 and 1873, following county reapportionment, he was re-elected, this time as State Senator, for District 22, Washington County (which included his new hometown, Stillwater). Following a break of four o.... Discover the Amelia Hutchins popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Amelia Hutchins books.