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Henry Tifft Gage

Gov. Henry Tifft Gage

  • January 4, 1899 - January 7, 1903
  • Republican
  • December 25, 1852
  • August 28, 1924
  • New York
  • Married Frances V. Rains; five children
  • Ambassador


HENRY TIFFT GAGE was born in Geneva, New York, on December 25, 1852. He graduated from high school in East Saginaw, Michigan, and studied law with his father. In 1874 he migrated to California and started a successful law career. Gage entered politics in 1881, when he was elected to serve as the city attorney for Los Angeles. Gage won the 1898 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was elected Governor of California. Gage’s tenure as governor was a volatile one. During San Francisco’s bubonic plague, a controversy erupted with Gage publicly denying the existence of the plague, only to be proved wrong. He also was a part of the Southern Pacific political machine, approving legislation that benefited the railroad and going against reform groups. Gage mediated a major labor strike by threatening to institute martial law if both sides did not compromise, and he signed legislation that hampered the press whenever politics or politicians were the subjects of their story. Gage was not nominated for a second term, and left office on January 6, 1903. He returned to his law practice, and in 1909, President Taft appointed him the minister to Portugal. He served in that capacity until 1911. Governor Henry Gage died on August 28, 1924, and is buried in a mausoleum at the New Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles, California.


Official Records: California State Archives

Image source: California State Library: Governors' Gallery

Governors of California 1849-2002

The 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.

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