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Clarence Morley

Gov. Clarence Morley

  • January 13, 1925 - January 11, 1947
  • Republican
  • February 9, 1869
  • November 15, 1948
  • Iowa
  • University of Denver
  • Married Maud M. Thompson; four children


CLARENCE MORLEY, Colorado’s 24th governor was born on February 9, 1869, in Dyersville, Iowa. He was educated in the Iowa public school system, moved with his family to Trinidad, Colorado, in 1890, and earned a law degree from the University of Denver. Morley worked in his private law practice for nearly 20 years before being elected to serve on the bench of the Second Judicial Court, a position he held from 1918 to 1925. He also served on the State Board of Pardons from 1915 to 1919. On November 4, 1924, he was elected Governor of Colorado, and on January 13, 1925, he was sworn into office. Morley headed a Ku Klux Klan state administration, and during his term he advocated the strengthening of prohibition laws and endorsed legislation that permitted the state to assume its own insurance on its public buildings. The Colorado River Compact was ratified during his tenure and he developed an effective inmate labor program. Morley left office on January 11, 1927, and relocated to Indianapolis, where he founded a stock brokerage firm, the C.J. Morley and Company. In 1935 he was arrested on mail fraud charges stemming from his Indiana investment firm’s transactions. He was found guilty on 21 counts of mail fraud and for using his political influences to defraud customers, and was sentenced to five years in Leavenworth Prison. Governor Clarence Morley died on November 15, 1948, three years after completing his prison term. He is buried at the Fairmont Cemetery in Denver.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the Untied States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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