George Henry Walsh was born 24 November 1845 in Quebec, Canada, the eldest child of Thomas and Eleanor (Ransom) Walsh. When George was eleven, his family moved from New York to Henderson, Minnesota, where his father operated a clothing store and tailor shop. During the Civil War, both George and his father enlisted in Company T, 10th Minnesota Infantry. George served with distinction and was first promoted to corporal and later to sergeant.
Following the war, George Walsh worked as a steamboat clerk in Minnesota. In 1867, he married Laura Jane, daughter of William and Esther (McKibbon) Griggs, and sister of Alexander Griggs, one of the founders of Grand Forks. Two years later, the Walsh family moved to New Ulm, Minnesota, where George started the first English language newpaper in the community. During this time, he also studied law. Walsh was convinced to relocate to Grand Forks by Alexander Griggs and began publication of the Plaindealer in 1875. He also served as a legal advisor to Griggs.
With his legal experience and connections to some influential people, Walsh was elected to the territorial assembly beginning in 1879. He was speaker of the Territorial House and chairman of the Territorial Council. During the legislative session of 1883, Walsh used some political wrangling to ensure the university for North Dakota would be located in Grand Forks. Thus, he was called the Father of the State University. Walsh also served in the state legislature and on the North Dakota Board of Railroad Commissioners. He spent most of his later years in Minnesota and died 2 April 1913 at the Soldier's Home in Minnehaha. He is buried along with other family members in Memorial Park in Grand Forks.
Transfer from the North Dakota Biographical File; 81-949