ARAM POTHIER was born in Philimene in the Canadian province of Quebec. After graduating from Nicolet College in Quebec, he moved to Woonsocket, Rhode Island, where his parents had already settled. He began working for Woonsocket Institute for Savings and quickly became well-established in the business community. While representing Rhode Island at the Paris Exhibitions of 1889 and 1900, he convinced several French textile firms to relocate to Rhode Island. He represented Woonsocket in the state legislature in 1887, and won election as the city’s Auditor in 1889 and as Mayor in 1894 and 1895. He then served one term as Lieutenant Governor, after which he retired from public office for a number of years before winning election to the Rhode Island Board of Education in 1907 and then the governorship in 1908. He won reelection for the next three one-year terms and became the first governor to win election to a two-year gubernatorial term in 1912 under new state law. He retired from public life once again in 1915 to serve as President of the Woonsocket Institute for Savings and the Providence Union Trust Company. However, he was drafted by the Republican Party to run for governor again in 1924, winning that election and then reelection in 1926. During Pothier’s years as governor, labor laws affecting women and minors were reformed and workers compensation was instituted. A state Board of Tax Commissioners was established, the governor was given veto power, and biennial elections replaced annual elections for state officials. Pothier also reorganized state finances, reduced the legislature’s control over the budget, created the offices of State Commssioner of Finance and State Comptroller, and established the State Police. He died in office.
Mohr, Ralph S. Governors for Three Hundred Years (1638-1954): Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. State of Rhode Island, Graves Registration Committee, August 1954.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 15. New York: James T. White & Company.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.