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Ames, Eli B.

Born: 1820-08-03 Colchester, Vermont

Died: 1897-02-12 Minneapolis, Minnesota

Flourished: Hennepin, Illinois

Eli B. Ames was an attorney, judge, postmaster, politician, and mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1832, he moved from his native state to Ohio, and in 1836, he relocated to Illinois, settling in Boone County, where he lived until 1841, when he moved to Ottawa, Illinois and began reading law. Receiving admission to the Illinois Bar in 1842, he moved to Hennepin, Illinois, where he served as postmaster from August 1845 to May 1849. He also served as probate judge for Putnam County from 1848 to 1850. In 1850, he was practicing law in Hennepin and owned real estate valued at $2,500. From 1851 to 1852, Ames represented Putnam County in the Illinois House of Representatives. After his term in the Illinois House, Ames served for two years as private secretary and aid to Illinois Governor Joel A. Matteson. In 1855, President Franklin Pierce appointed Ames U.S. consul to Hamburg, Germany, a position he held until the spring of 1857. During his tenure, Ames was able to secure a postal treaty between the United States and Hamburg that allowed for a free flow of mail and a reduction in postage rates. In 1857, Ames moved to Minneapolis, where he practiced law and opened an insurance business. In 1860, he was practicing law and owned real estate valued at $25,000 and had a personal estate of $1,000. From 1861 to 1864, Ames served as secretary of the Minnesota Senate, and was mayor of Minneapolis from 1870 to 1872. Ames married twice: in 1843, he wed Martha McNamara, and in 1854, he married Delia A. Payne, with whom he had three children.

Gravestone, Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, MN; Records of the Post Office Department, Records of the Bureau of the First Assistant Postmaster General, Records of the Division of Postmasters, Records of Appointment of Postmasters, 1845-1855, 18:162, National Archives Building, Washington, DC; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Hennepin, Putnam County, IL, 369; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 218; Congressional Directory for the First Session of the Thirty-Fourth Congress of the United States (Washington, DC: G. S. Gideon, 1856), 43; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN, 227; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Boone County, 17 April 1843, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; J. Fletcher Williams, History of Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis (Minneapolis: North Star, 1881), 501.