John F. Fort, the forty-second governor of New Jersey and nephew of New Jersey Governor George Franklin Fort, was born in Pemberton, New Jersey on March 20, 1852. His education was attained at the Pennington Seminary, and then at the Albany Law School, where he earned an LL.B. degree in 1872. He established his legal career, serving on the bench of the Newark First District Court from 1878 to 1883. Fort first entered politics as a New Jersey delegate-at-large to the Republican National Convention, a position he held in 1884 and 1896. He chaired the 1889 and 1895 New Jersey Republican Conventions; and was a member of the 1894 State Constitutional Convention. He also served on the Essex Common Pleas Court bench in 1896; and served as a New Jersey Supreme Court justice from 1900 to 1907. Fort next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on November 5, 1907. During his tenure, a department of education was formed; the state deficit was erased; and the state highway system was advanced. After leaving the governorship, Fort continued to stay active in politics. He served as a delegate to the 1912 Progressive Convention; and was a special U.S. envoy to the Dominican Republic in 1914, as well as serving in Haiti in 1915. He also chaired the Federal Trade Commission from 1917 to 1919. Governor John F. Fort passed away on November 17, 1920, and was buried in the Bloomfield Cemetery in Bloomfield, New Jersey.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The Political Graveyard