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Governor Merritt Cramer Mechem

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Office Dates:  Jan 01, 1921 - Jan 01, 1923

Born:  Oct 10, 1870

Passed:  May 24, 1946

Birth State:  Kansas

Party:  Republican

Family:  Married Eleanor Frances O’Heir

School(s):  Ottawa University, University of Kansas

MERRITT C. MECHEM was born in Ottawa, Kansas, on October 10, 1870. His education was attained at Ottawa University, and at the University of Kansas, where he studied law. Mechem first entered politics as the district attorney for the Quay and Guadalupe Counties of New Mexico, a position he held from 1905 to 1907. He also served as a member of the New Mexico Territorial Council from 1909 to 1911; was a justice for the New Mexico Territorial Supreme Court from 1909 to 1911; and served as a district judge from 1911 to 1920. Mechem next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by popular vote on November 2, 1920. During his tenure, several women were appointed to state board positions; and the state ratified the nineteenth amendment to the federal constitution. After completing his term, Mechem retired from political life. He continued to stay active in his Albuquerque legal practice. Governor Merritt C. Mechem passed away on May 24, 1946, and was buried in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


* Governor Merritt C. Mechem Papers, 1908-1925 (bulk 1921-1922) (official and personal papers)

The Political Graveyard

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

The University of New Mexico

* Finding aid available at New Mexico Commission of Public Records.

For more information please contact the New Mexico State Archives at 505-476-7948 or

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