The topic of the pre-Civil War Michigan Democratic Governors' activities during the conflict occurred to me recently when reading about the role that Stephen A. Douglas played in the 1860 election. Once it was apparent to him that he would not win, and then in the months after Lincoln's election and through the Fort Sumter crisis, Douglas played a pro-Union and anti-secession role until his untimely death. So the question occurred: what did Michigan's ex-Governors who were of the Democratic party do once the Civil War broke out? We will head backwards in time as we take up each one in turn ...
Today we look at the last Dem to hold the highest office before the Republican ascendancy:
"Andrew Parsons was born in Hoosick, New York, in 1817. In 1836 he settled in Shiawassee County and at the age of nineteen was elected the first county clerk. After holding a number of county and state offices, Parsons in 1852 became a regent of the University of Michigan. The same year he was elected lieutenant-governor, and he became acting governor in March 1853 upon the resignation of Governor Robert McClelland. The formation of the Republican party in 1854 badly split the Democratic forces and perhaps accounted for Parsons's failure to receive the gubernatorial nomination. Instead, Parsons was elected to the state legislature from Shiawassee County. He fell ill during the legislative session of 1855 and returned to Corunna, where he died on June 6, 1855." (Source: Michigan Historical Marker text, registered Site S0295; erected 1969; location: 318 McNeil Street, Corunna)
That answers that, sadly. Governor Parsons, the "boy Clerk", was gone long before the War.