Norman Jay Coleman

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(1827-05-16)
Richfield Springs, New York, U.S.
Died November 3, 1911(1911-11-03) (aged 84)
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Louisville
Profession Politician, Publisher

Norman Jay Colman (May 16, 1827 – November 3, 1911) was a politician, newspaper publisher, and the first United States Secretary of Agriculture.

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[1] 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.[2] 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.


  1. ^ Missouri Republican (3/27/1854) (4/1/1855)
  2. ^ Grossman, 2
  • 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.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Charles P. Johnson
Lieutenant Governor of Missouri
1875 – 1877
Succeeded by
Henry C. Brockmeyer
Preceded by
New office
United States Secretary of Agriculture
Served under: Grover Cleveland

February 15, 1889 – March 6, 1889
Succeeded by
Jeremiah M. Rusk

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