DWIGHT M. SABIN

Thresher King and U. S. Senator


| March/April 1989



Senator Sabin

13277 McKusick Road Stillwater, Minnesota 55082

Reprinted from the January 1987 issue of Historical Whisperings, with permission from author Jerry Brosious.

(Note: In the following article on Sen. D.M. Sabin, formal footnoting is not used. However, a bibliography appears at the end of the article.)

With the typical journalistic hyperbole of the period, Dwight M. Sabin's 1902 obituary stated that 'Twenty years ago Mr. Sabin was the most prominent figure in the business world of the west. His stupendous operations covered almost every known field of endeavor and in his employ, directly or indirectly, were thousands of men.' Nevertheless, Sabin had owned businesses of wide diversity and great magnitude. And, not so incidentally, he was also a United States senator, the only one ever to come from Stillwater, or even all of Washington County, Minnesota.

Dwight Sabin was born at Marseilles, Illinois on April 25, 1843. His father, Horace Carver Sabin, had large farm operations and a lumber business. He was an abolitionist, said to have been acquainted with Abraham Lincoln, and operated a station on the 'underground railroad', helping the fugitive slaves in their escape to Canada. In 1856 the family returned to Connecticut, where his father was born and where the Sabin family had settled in 1740, from Scotland.

Dwight Sabin attended the district school and at the age of seventeen entered the prestigious Phillips Academy, a boarding school at Andover, Massachusetts. For one year he studied math and civil engineering. In 1862 he enlisted in the Union army in response to Lincoln's call for volunteers. He was turned down for active military service due to poor pulmonary health. At Gettysburg he served in the commissary department. In 1864 his father died and he left military service to return home, where he was needed to take charge of the family business operations.