Ames, Alfred E.

Born: 1814-12-13 Colchester, Vermont

Died: 1874-09-23 Minneapolis, Minnesota

At age seventeen, Ames moved from his childhood home in Vermont first to Orwell, Ohio, and later to Barnesville, Ohio. While living in Barnesville, he engaged in bricklaying and teaching. In September 1836, he married Martha A. Pratt, a union that produced at least five children. In October 1836, Ames migrated to Chicago, Illinois. Two years later, Ames and his family moved to Boone County, Illinois. He was among those summoned when the Boone County Commissioners' Court called the county's first grand jury in 1838. In 1838-39, he worked in various capacities for Stephen A. Douglas, Alexander P. Field, and Governor Thomas Carlin. In 1839, he commenced medical study at Rush Medical College. By 1840, he was residing in Deerfield Township. In 1841, Ames began practicing medicine at Belvidere, Illinois. In 1842, Boone County voters elected him to the Illinois House of Representatives. In that same year, he became postmaster of Belvidere. By 1844, Ames moved his practice to Roscoe, Illinois, where he also became postmaster. In 1845, he graduated from Rush Medical College. In 1848, Winnebago County voters elected Ames as a Democrat to the Illinois Senate. Ames won re-election in 1850, but in 1851 he relocated to the Minnesota Territory, settling in St. Anthony Falls. He established a medical practice in St. Anthony Falls, and in 1852 served for a time as surgeon for Fort Snelling. In 1852, Minnesota voters elected Ames to the Territorial Legislature. Two years later, he won election as a judge of probate for Hennepin County. In 1856, Ames became postmaster for Minneapolis, and in 1857 Minnesota voters elected him to the state constitutional convention. An avid horticulturalist, Ames built one of the largest greenhouses in Minneapolis. A life-long Freemason, Ames was a charter member of Masonic Lodge No. 60, founded in 1848 and the first lodge in Boone County. In 1851, he was among the first members of Rockford Lodge No. 102, the first in Winnebago County. In 1853, Ames would become the first grand master of Masons in Minnesota.

Gravestone, Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, MN; Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Winnebago County, ed. Charles A. Church (Chicago: Munsell, 1916), 2:735, 925; The Past and Present of Boone County, Illinois(Chicago: H. F. Kett, 1877), 242, 302, 319; Robert L. McCaul, The Black Struggle for Public Schooling in Nineteenth-Century Illinois (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1987), 39; U.S. Census Office, Sixth Census of the United States (1840), Deerfield, Boone, IL, 151; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Roscoe, Winnebago, IL, 397; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Minneapolis, Hennepin, MN, 227; John S. Harris, "In Memoriam: Dr. Alfred E. Ames," Transactions of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society (1874), 119-20.