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In 1871, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed five men to the office of territorial governor of Idaho. The first two accepted, then decided to take more attractive appointments. Grant’s third choice rejected the appointment outright. The fourth choice, Thomas M. Bowen accepted Grant’s appointment and struck out for Idaho. He spent all of a week in the territory before resigning.

Grant’s fifth choice for governor was Thomas W. Bennett, who had been a brigadier general on the Union side in the Civil War, and who had served two years as the mayor of Richmond, Indiana.

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