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Lennington Small

Gov. Lennington Small

  • January 10, 1921 - January 14, 1929
  • Republican
  • June 16, 1862
  • May 17, 1936
  • Illinois
  • Northern Indiana Normal School
  • Married Ida Moore; three children


LENNINGTON SMALL, Illinois’ twenty-eighth governor, was born in Kankakee, Illinois, on June 16, 1862. He was educated in the public school system of Kankakee and later attended Northern Indiana Normal School (Valparaiso University today). Small entered politics in 1901, as a member of the Illinois State Senate, a position he held until 1905. He also served as Illinois State Treasurer from 1905 to 1907 and again from 1917 to 1919 and was assistant U.S. Treasurer in charge of the sub treasury at Chicago, serving from 1908 to 1912. Small won the 1920 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was sworn into the governor’s office on January 10, 1921. He was reelected to a second term in 1925. During his first term, he was indicted on conspiracy and embezzlement charges that had occurred during his earlier tenure as state treasurer. In 1922, the trial was held, and a jury found him not guilty; however, in a civil suit he was mandated to reimburse the state treasury the sum of $650.000. Also, during his gubernatorial tenure Illinois became known for having the best road system in the country, with over 400 miles of paved roads built in 1921 and over 1,200 miles in 1924. The Illinois state police department was initiated, and waterways, building construction, and flood relief were all advanced. After leaving office on January 14, 1929, Small ran unsuccessfully for reelection to the governorship in 1932 and 1936. Governor Len Small died on May 17, 1936 and was buried at the Mound Grove Cemetery in Kankakee, 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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