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John Henry Stelle

Gov. John Henry Stelle

  • October 6, 1940 - January 13, 1941
  • Democrat
  • August 10, 1891
  • July 5, 1962
  • Illinois
  • Western Military Academy, Washington University
  • Married Wilma Wiseheart
  • Succeeded
  • Army


JOHN H. STELLE, Illinois’ thirty-first governor, was born in McLeansboro, Illinois, on August 10, 1891. He attended Western Military Academy and earned a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1916. After his discharge from the U.S. Army in 1919, Stelle entered public service. He served as assistant state auditor from 1933 to 1934, was the state treasurer from 1935 to 1937, and served as lieutenant governor of Illinois from 1937 to 1940. On October 6, 1940, Governor Henry Horner passed away, and Stelle, who was lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. During his short tenure, he fired appointees of Governor Horner’s and replaced them with his own allies. After leaving the governor’s office on January 13, 1941, Stelle served for one year as national commander of the American Legion. As chairman of the Legion committee, Stelle drafted and petitioned for the passage of the GI Bill of Rights. Governor John H. Stelle died on July 5, 1962 and was buried at the City Cemetery in McLeansboro, Illinois.


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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