Back to former Arizona governors
Ernest William McFarland

Gov. Ernest William McFarland

  • January 3, 1955 - January 5, 1959
  • Democrat
  • November 9, 1894
  • June 8, 1984
  • Oklahoma
  • East Central Oklahoma Teachers College, University of Oklahoma, Stanford University
  • Married Edna Eveland Smith; one child
  • Senator
  • Navy


ERNEST W. MCFARLAND, who served in all three branches of government, was born near Earlsboro, Oklahoma, on October 9, 1894. He attended East Central Oklahoma Teachers College from 1913 to 1914, the University of Oklahoma in 1917, Stanford University in 1921, and the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, where he earned honorary LL.D.’s. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War I, he was admitted to the Arizona bar in 1920.  McFarland was Arizona’s assistant attorney general from 1923 to 1924, county attorney of Pinal County from 1925 to 1930, and a judge of the Pinal County Superior Court from 1936 to 1940. McFarland became a U.S. senator in 1941, was named majority leader in 1951, and served in that capacity until his defeat in 1952 by Barry Goldwater. On November 2, 1954, McFarland was elected Governor of Arizona, and on January 3, 1955, was sworn into office. He was reelected to a second term in 1956. During his administrations, the State Parks System was founded, the Colorado River Boundary Commission was established, and state aid to schools expanded. Also, the Interstate Oil Compact was sanctioned, and the State Racing Commission was given legal powers. McFarland left office on January 5, 1959, and was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court in 1964, serving as chief justice from 1968 to 1970. He also was a member of the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence from 1968 to 1969, was the director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and president of KTVK Arizona Television Company. Ernest William McFarland died on June 8, 1984, and he is buried at the Greenwood Memorial Park, Phoenix, Arizona.


Biographical Directory of U.S. Congress

Ernest McFarland Webpage

Political Graveyard

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

Recent Arizona Governors