HORACE FRENCH GRAHAM was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved when he was a child to Craftsbury, Vermont. He graduated from the City College of New York in 1885 and from Columbia University Law School in 1888, after which he began the practice of law in Craftsbury. He was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1892 and in 1900. He was State’s Attorney for Orleans County from 1898 until 1902, and State Auditor of Accounts from 1902 until 1916, when he was elected governor. As governor, Graham acted to ensure that Vermont was prepared for U.S. entry into World War I, and at his suggestion, the state legislature appropriated one million dollars accordingly six days before war was declared. Also during his term of office, a Board of Control was formed with the power to examine the books of all state boards, women who paid taxes were given the right to vote at town meetings, and a resolution was passed protesting the federal government’s efforts to usurp revenue sources customarily reserved for the state. However, Graham’s governorship was also tainted by the discovery of irregularities in the accounting practices he had used while state auditor. He was found guilty in a court trial but was given an unconditional pardon by his successor, Governor Percival W. Clement. In 1923 he was elected a state representative from Craftsbury with the endorsement of both the Democratic and Republican parties.
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.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 33. New York: James T. White & Company.