Charles S. May

Charles Sedgwick May
16th Lieutenant Governor of Michigan
In office
January 7, 1863  January 2, 1865
Governor Austin Blair
Preceded by Henry T. Backus
Succeeded by Ebenezer O. Grosvenor
Personal details
Born (1830-03-22)March 22, 1830
Sandisfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died March 25, 1901(1901-03-25) (aged 71)
Gull Lake, Michigan, U.S.
Resting place Mountain Home Cemetery, Kalamazoo[[<br>Kalamazoo County, Michigan|Kalamazoo County]] Michigan, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cornelia E Myers May
Eliza Edna Dailey May
Relations Dwight May (b)
Children Charles Frederick May
Gordon Allen May
Cornelia Eliza May
Allen Potter May
Parents Rockwell May
Celestia E Underwood May
Profession Attorney
Newspaper Editor
Military service
Service/branch Union Army
Years of service 1861
Unit Company K, Second Michigan Infantry
Battles/wars American Civil War
Bull Run
Blackburn's Ford

Charles Sedgwick May (March 22, 1830 March 25, 1901) was an American politician and the 16th Lieutenant Governor of Michigan.

Early life

May was born in Sandisfield, Massachusetts and at the age of four moved to Richland, Michigan. He worked there on a farm until the age of fifteen and became a student of the State University (now Western Michigan University) at Kalamazoo. He studied law in Bennington, Vermont and Battle Creek, Michigan and was admitted to the bar in 1854.

From November 1855 to October 1856, May was associate political editor of the Detroit Daily Tribune and its Washington, D. C. correspondent. He commenced the practice of law in Battle Creek, but soon returned to Kalamazoo where he was elected prosecuting attorney in 1860.

May resignerd in 1861, and raised Company K, Second Michigan Infantry, the first volunteer company from Kalamazoo, and was commissioned as captain in the Union Army.[1] He participated in several of the early battles, including the battle of Bull Run and Blackburn's Ford. He resigned due to ill health.


In 1862, May was elected the 16th Lieutenant Governor of Michigan and served from 1863 to 1865.[2] The following year he was a member of the 1866 Republican state convention. In 1872, he broke party ranks and supported Democrat Horace Greeley for U. S. President against the re-election of Ulysses S. Grant and was a losing Democratic candidate for U. S. Senate in 1876. He then practiced law in Detroit and later returned to practice law in Kalamazoo.

Retirement and death

In 1888, May retired due to ill health and built a country home, “Island View”, overlooking Gull Lake where he wrote several newspaper and magazine articles and several books. He died of heart disease there just three days after his seventy-first birthday. He is interred at Mountain Home Cemetery, Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County, Michigan, USA.

Family life

May was the son of Rockwell May (1799 - 1895) and Celestia E Underwood May (1800 - 1889). He married Cornelia E Myers about 1851 and after her death in 1852, he married Eliza Edna Dailey in about 1853. They had four children, Charles Frederick, Gordon Allen, Cornelia Eliza, and Allen Potter.[3] His brother Dwight May was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1867.


  1. "Charles S. May". 2nd MICHIGAN INFANTRY COMPANY K - Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  2. "Charles S. May". 2014 State of Michigan. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  3. "Charles S. May". 2014 Retrieved 13 June 2014.
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Political offices
Preceded by
Henry T. Backus
Lieutenant Governor of Michigan
Succeeded by
Ebenezer O. Grosvenor
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