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Ralph Metcalf
New Hampshire

Gov. Ralph Metcalf

  • June 7, 1855 - June 4, 1857
  • Know-Nothing
  • November 21, 1798
  • August 26, 1858
  • New Hampshire
  • Dartmouth College
  • Married twice—Lucretia Ann Bingham, Martha Ann Gilmore; two children


RALPH METCALF, the thirty-third governor of New Hampshire, was born in Charlestown, New Hampshire on November 21, 1798. His education was attained at Dartmouth College, where he graduated in 1823. He studied law, and then established his legal career in New York and New Hampshire. Metcalf first entered politics in 1831, serving as the New Hampshire secretary of state, a position he held five years. From 1838 to 1840 he clerked for U.S. Secretary of Treasury Woodbury; and from 1845 to 1851 served as the Sullivan County register of probate. He also presided over the 1850 committee that compiled state laws, as well as serving as a member of the New Hampshire legislature in 1852 and 1853. Metcalf next secured the Know-Nothing gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in 1855. He was reelected to a second term in 1856. During his tenure, stronger immigration laws were lobbied for; and a liquor prohibition bill was sanctioned. After completing his term, Metcalf retired from political life. Governor Ralph Metcalf passed away on August 26, 1858, and was buried in the Hope Hill Cemetery in North Charlestown, New Hampshire.


New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources

The Political Graveyard

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.


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