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John Franklin Shafroth

Gov. John Franklin Shafroth

  • January 12, 1909 - January 14, 1913
  • Republican, Democratic
  • June 9, 1854
  • February 20, 1922
  • Missouri
  • University of Michigan
  • Married Virginia Morrison; five children
  • Senator


JOHN FRANKLIN SHAFROTH was born in Fayette, Missouri, on June 9, 1854. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1875, earning a law degree. After moving to Denver, Shafroth first entered politics as assistant prosecuting attorney in 1882, and then was elected city attorney of Denver, where he served from 1887 to 1891. Shafroth was elected as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1894, 1896, and 1898. In 1900, he won election again to Congress again–but as a Democrat. His election in 1902 was contested and Shafroth resigned from Congress, rather than hold a fraudulent seat. He was elected Colorado’s 18th governor on November 3, 1908, and was sworn into office on January 12, 1909. He was reelected to a second term on November 8, 1910. During his tenure, a State Conservation Commission was formed, an eight-hour day was enacted for dangerous and hazardous occupations, and children’s and women’s labor laws were regulated. A direct election of senators was constituted, as well as a factory inspection law and a direct primary law. Shafroth left office on January 14, 1913, and was elected to the U.S. Senate two months later. While serving in the Senate for the next six years, he played a key role in the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. He also chaired the War Minerals Relief Commission from 1919 to 1921. Governor John F. Shafroth died in Denver, Colorado, on February 20, 1922, and he is buried at the Fairmont Cemetery.


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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