Date of Award

Spring 1960

Document Type




First Advisor

Thomas Clinch


The purpose of this thesis is to shed some light on the sometimes maligned and often completely untreated subject of the Territorial Delegate. Because it was the Territory’s only voice in the Federal Government, the delegate was important. It is my belief that the Territorial Delegate had a profound effect in the shaping of the West. The life and career of Major Martin Maginnis, of Montana Territory, illustrates quite well the influence and prestige that a man holding this office could gain. By using specific examples, I hope to point out the general good that a delegate could do for the Territory and its people.

In Wayne County, New York, on October 27, 1841, Martin Maginnis was born to Irish immigrants who had come to this country in 1838. Martin had his early schooling in Wayne County and when he was age eleven, he moved with his family to Red Wing, Minnesota. 1 Young Martin entered Hamline University in Red Wing where he studied Journalism. He quit his studies at Hamline to go to work for the Red Wing Sentinal. At the outbreak of hostilities between the North and the South, the editor of the Sentinal, William Colville, organized a company of volunteers. Martin Maginnis enlisted into this company on April 18, 1861, and was made First Sargeant. In less than two weeks, the company was mustered into the United States Army as the First Regiment of Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. 2