September 12, 1829: The Birth of Joshua B. Culver

On this day in 1829, Duluth’s first mayor Joshua B. Culver was born in Buffalo, New York. Culver  first came to Duluth in the 1850s before leaving to fight for the Union in the American Civil War, where he rose to the rank of full colonel. He returned to Duluth and became a civic leader, elected as Duluth’s first mayor after the community initially became a city in 1870. According to historian Walter Van Brunt, “[Culver] was a democrat and probably the only democrat who could have been elected at that time. Nevertheless, many Republicans voted for him, and he himself said that his election ‘came regardless of politics.’ Those who remember it say that it was probably the warmest election Duluth has ever held. One old resident says that a stove in Ed Nash’s hardware store was responsible for the result of this election. Without Col. Culver’s knowledge, some of his friends, who had become very warmly engaged in the contest, secreted a bottle of liquid enthusiasm in the aforesaid stove, and during the day they might have been seen buttonholing voters and running them into the store and introducing them to the bottle. The result was all that could have been wished for, but if Colonel Culver’s election was due to that stove, he probably never knew of it.” Culver was elected to a second term as mayor in 1882, but on July 17, 1883, he died while visiting Buffalo, New York. You can read more about Colonel Culver here.

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