Back to former Iowa governors
Cyrus Clay Carpenter

Gov. Cyrus Clay Carpenter

  • January 11, 1872 - January 13, 1876
  • Republican
  • November 24, 1829
  • May 29, 1898
  • Pennsylvania
  • Harford Academy
  • Married Susan Kate Burkholder
  • Representative
  • National Guard


CYRUS C. CARPENTER, Iowa’s eighth governor, was born near Harford, Pennsylvania on November 24, 1829. His education was attained in the common schools in Pennsylvania and at the Harford Academy. In 1854, Carpenter moved to Iowa, where he taught school, and studied law. He also worked as the Webster County surveyor in 1856. Carpenter entered politics in 1857, serving as a member of the Iowa House of Representatives, a position he held until 1860. During the Civil War, he was commissioned a captain, and rose through the ranks to colonel. After his military duty, he served as registrar of the state land office from 1866 to 1868. Carpenter won the 1871 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor. He was reelected to a second term in 1873. During his tenure, the “Granger laws” which regulated railroad legislation were passed, and problems involving farmers and discriminating rates were dealt with. After leaving office, Carpenter continued to stay active in public service. He served as the second comptroller of the U.S. Treasury from 1876 to 1877, and was appointed a railroad commissioner in 1878. Carpenter also served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1879 to 1883, was a member of the Iowa House of Representatives from 1884 to 1886, and served as postmaster of Fort Dodge from 1889 to 1893. Governor Cyrus C. Carpenter died on May 29, 1898, and was buried in the Oakland Cemetery in Fort Dodge, Iowa.



Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Famous People of Des Moines County, Iowa

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn., Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Throne, Mildred. Cyrus Clay Carpenter and Iowa Politics, 1850-1898. E664 C238 T45. 1974.

Recent Iowa Governors