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April 11, 1871: Mayor Clinton Markell’s inaugural address

On this day in Duluth in 1871, newly elected Mayor Clinton Markell gave his inaugural address in front of Duluth’s City Council. Duluth’s second mayor, Republican Markell had defeated William Nettleton, a Democrat and a founder of Duluth Township. Political differences mattered little, though, as the two candidates were also good friends and both former members of “the Ring,” a group so-named by Minnesotian publisher and stalwart Republican Dr. Thomas Foster. Foster asserted that the Ring  “ran” Duluth before it became a city a year earlier. Essentially, in Foster’s view, it didn’t matter if a Democrat or Republican candidate won, because the Ring would have a man at the top no matter what. Markell’s speech read in part, “So new, so young with so immense requirements upon us to shape our city into the forma and substance demanded by what we conceive to be our destiny; some pride in what we have already accomplished may be well pardoned to us; especially, if we cease not our industry in adding to our City’s conveniences for civic habitation, our City’s harborage for commerce, our City’s appliances for business, our City’s ways and means to elevate us all, socially, morally, religiously and intellectually.”

Clinton Markell. (Image: Duluth Public Library)