LUCIUS FAYETTE CLARK GARVIN was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. He attended Guilford College, a Friend’s boarding school in North Carolina, and graduated from Amherst College in 1862. He enlisted in the 51st Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteers and served in several battles in North Carolina during the Civil War. He went on to study medicine, receiving a degree from the Harvard University Medical School in 1867, following which he opened a practice in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He later moved to Cumberland, Rhode Island, where he remained for the rest of his life and served as medical examiner for twelve years. He was a Republican until 1876, when he left the party due to his belief that it held power because of restrictive suffrage. He was town moderator in Cumberland in 1771 and from 1775 to 1777; a state Representative from 1883 to 1888 and again from 1895 to 1903; and a state Senator from 1889 to 1892. He lost the gubernatorial election of 1901 but defeated incumbent acting governor Charles Kimball in 1902, winning reelection the following year. As governor, he supported the extension of suffrage to foreign-born citizens and advocated proportional representation and the single tax. However, his push for reforms was largely hindered by a Republican-controlled legislature. Garvin was defeated for reelection in 1904 and again in 1905, returning to his medical practice. He also was defeated a number of times in his quest to win election to the U.S. House of Representatives. He joined the Progressive Party in 1912 but returned to the Democratic Party in 1916. He served as a state Senator again from 1921 until his death.
Mohr, Ralph S. Governors for Three Hundred Years (1638-1954): Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.State of Rhode Island, Graves Registration Committee, August 1954.
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Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.