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Joseph Benson Foraker

Gov. Joseph Benson Foraker

  • January 11, 1886 - January 13, 1890
  • Republican
  • July 5, 1846
  • May 10, 1917
  • Ohio
  • Salem Academy at Ohio Wesleyan University; Cornell University
  • Married Julia Bundy; five children
  • Senator
  • Union Army


JOSEPH B. FORAKER, the thirty-seventh governor of Ohio, was born near Rainsboro, Ohio on July 5, 1846. His early education was limited and attained in the public schools of his native state. After serving as a captain in the Civil War, Foraker returned home and resumed his education. He attended Salem Academy at Ohio Wesleyan University, and then went on to study law at Cornell University, where he graduated in 1869. After establishing his legal career, Foraker entered into politics. He first won election to the Cincinnati Superior Court bench, a position he held from 1879 to 1882. Foraker next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in the 1885 general election. He went on to win reelection to a second term in 1887. During his tenure, the state’s taxation system was improved; election laws were revised; a state board of health was established; and corruption in city government was addressed. After leaving the governorship, Foraker retired briefly from politics. In 1897 he won election to the U.S. Senate, an office he held twelve years. Governor Joseph B. Foraker passed away on May 10, 1917, and was buried in the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.


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.

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

The Ohio Historical Center


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