- Norman Jay Coleman
Norman Jay Colman 1st United States Secretary of Agriculture In office
February 15, 1889 – March 6, 1889
Preceded by (none) Succeeded by Jeremiah M. Rusk Personal details Born May 16, 1827
Richfield Springs, New York, U.S.
Died November 3, 1911(aged 84)
Political party Democratic Alma mater University of Louisville Profession Politician, Publisher
Colman was born in Richfield Springs, New York, and later moved to Kentucky to become an educator. He received a law degree from the University of Louisville Law School in 1849. Colman then moved to Missouri, ostensibly to farm. He was elected as an Alderman for St. Louis city's 5th ward as a Whig in 1854 and 1855 In 1855 he founded the Valley Farmer newspaper. As a result of his publication, Colman became a prominent figure in Missouri farming circles, which set the path for a political career in the Missouri House of Representatives. The publication of Colman’s newspaper was interrupted by the American Civil War, but three years after the war he founded the Colman’s Rural World. His political career continued, culminating with his election as Lieutenant Governor of Missouri from 1875 to 1877 as a Democrat. President Grover Cleveland appointed Colman Commissioner of Agriculture in 1885. During his tenure he led a coalition of land-grant agricultural colleges in writing proposed legislation for the creation of agricultural experiment stations. Their lobbying efforts helped produce the Hatch Act in 1887. He also lobbied for the creation of the United States Department of Agriculture and served as its inaugural Secretary at the end of Cleveland’s term, February to March 1889. However, his position was never confirmed by the United States Senate. He returned to St. Louis to run his newspaper. He also spent the next 20 years in state public service and in horse-breeding.
He was a member of the Freemasons.
- Grossman, Mark. Encyclopedia of the United States Cabinet. Vols. 1-3. (2000) ISBN 9780874369779.
- Leonard, John W. (comp) The Books of St. Louisans St. Louis, MO: St. Louis Republic, 1906) pp. 127-128.
- Marquis, Albert N. (comp) Who's Who in America Chicago, IL: Marquis and co. vol. 6 (1910-1911) p. 399.
Political offices Preceded by
Charles P. Johnson
Lieutenant Governor of Missouri
1875 – 1877
Henry C. Brockmeyer
United States Secretary of Agriculture
Served under: Grover Cleveland
February 15, 1889 – March 6, 1889
Jeremiah M. Rusk
United States Secretaries of Agriculture Cabinet of President Grover Cleveland (1885–1889) Vice PresidentThomas A. Hendricks (1885) • None (1885–1889) Secretary of StateThomas F. Bayard (1885–1889) Secretary of the Treasury Secretary of WarWilliam C. Endicott (1885–1889) Attorney GeneralAugustus H. Garland (1885–1889) Postmaster General Secretary of the NavyWilliam C. Whitney (1885–1889) Secretary of the Interior Secretary of AgricultureNorman Jay Coleman (1889)
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