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Ralph Phillips Lowe

Gov. Ralph Phillips Lowe

  • January 13, 1858 - January 11, 1860
  • Republican
  • November 27, 1805
  • December 22, 1883
  • Ohio
  • Miami University
  • Married Phoebe Carleton; nine children


RALPH PHILLIPS LOWE, Iowa’s fourth governor, was born in Warren County, Ohio on November 27, 1805. After graduating from Miami University in 1829, he studied law in Alabama, and then established a legal practice with his brother in Dayton, Ohio. In 1840, he moved to Muscatine, Iowa, and started a career in politics. He served as a member of the 1844 Iowa State Constitutional Convention, and was the district judge of the first district of Iowa from 1852 to 1857. Lowe won the 1857 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was sworn into office on January 13, 1858. Due to an amendment in the constitution, Lowe’s term in office was reduced from four years to a two. During his tenure, a state census was authorized, the state agricultural college act was established, the state bank of Iowa was incorporated, and an educational institution for the blind was initiated. After leaving office in January 1860, Lowe was elected justice of the Iowa State Supreme Court, where he served four years out of eight as chief judge. In 1868, he moved to Washington, D.C. and worked as an assistant to the U.S. district attorney. Governor Ralph P. Lowe died on December 22, 1883 and was buried at the Glenwood Cemetery.



Historical for Muscatine County Iowa

Iowa Historical Record, 7 (1981): 145-58.

Iowa Journal of History, 58 (1960): 207-18.

The Political Graveyard

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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