Back to former California governors
James Herbert Budd

Gov. James Herbert Budd

  • January 11, 1895 - January 4, 1899
  • Democrat
  • May 18, 1851
  • June 30, 1908
  • Wisconsin
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • Married Inez A. Merrill
  • Representative


JAMES HERBERT BUDD was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, on May 18, 1851. In 1858 he moved with his family to California, where he graduated with the first four-year class from the University of California at Berkeley. Budd studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1874, and served briefly as deputy district attorney of San Joaquin County. He entered politics in 1882, when he was elected to serve as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Budd was elected governor in 1894 amid allegations of voter fraud. The election was contested and investigated by an assembly committee, which found no evidence of wrongdoing. Governor Budd took office, and during his tenure he reconstructed the general fund, paying state bills from cash on hand. The Bureau of Highways was created and the Tahoe Wagon Road was developed. Budd also sought to decrease the state tax rate and consolidate overlapping governmental agencies, but he accomplished very little due to the Republican-dominated legislature. Failing health played a role in his decision not to seek reelection. He left office and returned to San Francisco, where he opened a law practice, and served as the attorney to the Board of State Harbor Commissioners. In 1900, he was appointed to serve as a member of the University of California Board of Regents. Governor James Budd died on July 30, 1908, and is buried at the Stockton Rural Cemetery.


Official Records: California State Archives

Image source: California State Library: Governors' Gallery

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Governors of California 1849-2002

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 California Governors