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Lawrence Winchester Wetherby

Gov. Lawrence Winchester Wetherby

  • November 27, 1950 - December 13, 1955
  • Democratic
  • January 2, 1908
  • March 27, 1994
  • Kentucky
  • University of Kentucky
  • Married Helen Dwyer; three children
  • Succeeded


LAWRENCE W. WETHERBY was born in Middletown, Kentucky on January 2, 1908. In 1929, he graduated from the University of Kentucky, earning an LL.B. degree. He established a successful legal career, serving as the Jefferson County juvenile court attorney from 1933 to 1937 and 1942 to 1943. He also served as the Jefferson County juvenile court judge from 1943 to 1947. Wetherby entered politics in 1943, serving as the chairman of the 34th Legislative District Democratic Committee, a position he held until 1956. He also served as lieutenant governor of Kentucky from 1947 to 1950. On November 27, 1950, Governor Earle C. Clements resigned from office, and Wetherby, who was lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. He was elected to his own four-year term in 1951. During his tenure, the department of mental health was initiated, a modern toll road system was instituted, a new state youth authority was created, and state programs were subsidized with the newly sanctioned “sin tax”. Also, legislation was passed that improved strip-mined lands, a newly approved bookmobile program was established, and public school desegregation was supported. After Wetherby left office on December 13, 1955, he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1956. From 1964 to 1966, he served as a member of the State Constitution Assembly. In 1965, he was elected to the Kentucky State Senate, and served as senate president from 1966 to 1968. Governor Lawrence W. Wetherby died on March 27, 1994, and was buried at the Frankfort Cemetery, Frankfort, Kentucky.


The Political Graveyard

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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