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Oliver Ames

Gov. Oliver Ames

  • January 6, 1887 - January 7, 1890
  • Republican
  • February 4, 1831
  • October 22, 1895
  • Massachusetts
  • Brown University
  • Married Anna Coffin Ray; six children


OLIVER AMES, the thirty-seventh governor of Massachusetts, was born in North Easton, Massachusetts on February 4, 1831. His early education was attained in private academies, and later at Brown University, however he never graduated. Ames worked in the family’s successful shovel business, as well as serving on the board of several railroad and banking firms. He also served in the state militia as lieutenant colonel, but left before the start of the Civil War. Ames entered into a political career in 1881, serving as a member of the Massachusetts State Senate, a position he held two years. He also served as the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts from 1883 to 1887. Ames next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and then went on to win election to the Massachusetts governorship on November 2, 1886. He was reelected to a second term in 1887, and to a third term in 1888. During his tenure, the state’s public schools were advanced; banking reform measures were promoted; the state capitol was remodeled; the state’s rail and river transportation was improved; and a prohibition amendment was voted down. After declining to run for reelection, Ames left office on January 7, 1890, and retired from political life. Governor Oliver Ames passed away on October 22, 1895 in North Easton, Massachusetts.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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