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James H. Hawley

Gov. James H. Hawley

  • January 2, 1911 - January 6, 1913
  • Democrat
  • January 17, 1847
  • August 3, 1929
  • Iowa
  • San Francisco City College
  • Married Mary E. Bullock; eight children


JAMES H. HAWLEY was born in Dubuque, Iowa, on January 17, 1847. He headed west as a boy, engaging in mining, and attending the San Francisco City College. After studying law, Hawley returned to Idaho, and established a law career in Hailey. He entered politics in 1870 as a member of the Idaho Territorial Legislature, a position he was reelected to in 1874. He also served as U.S. district attorney for Idaho from 1885 to 1889, was mayor of Boise from 1903 to 1905, and was the state’s lead attorney for the assassination trial of ex-Governor Frank Steunenberg. Hawley won the 1910 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor of Idaho. During his tenure, four new counties were established, a highway district law was initiated, stricter search and seizure liquor laws were put into effect, “pioneer day” was instituted as a legal holiday, a location for the state sanatorium for the feeble-minded was secured, and the state constitution was revised to include recall, initiative, and referendum. After losing his reelection bid, Hawley returned to his law career. He authored The History of Idaho, Gem of the Mountains in 1920, and served as a Democratic National Convention delegate later that decade. Governor James H. Hawley passed away on August 3, 1929, and was buried in the Morris Hill Cemetery in Pocatello, Idaho.


Biographies of Key Figures in the Haywood Trial

Idaho State Historical Society

Idaho State Historical Society Gubernatorial Manuscript and Archive Collections:

  • Archive Collection of Governor James Hawley, AR0002.0009.
  • Hawley, James Henry collection, 1906-1907. Manuscript Collection. MS0012.
  • Hawley, James Henry papers, 1887-1945. Manuscript Collection. MS0048.
  • James H. Hawley, Jr. papers, 1945-1950. Manuscript Collection. MS0337.
  • James Henry Hawley papers, 1907-1922. Manuscript Collection. MS2/0130.
  • James H. Hawley letter, 1906. Manuscript Collection. MS2/0968.

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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