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Roy Elmer Ayers

Gov. Roy Elmer Ayers

  • January 4, 1937 - January 6, 1941
  • Democratic
  • November 9, 1882
  • May 23, 1955
  • Montana
  • Valparaiso University
  • Married Ellen Simpson; three children
  • Representative


ROY E. AYERS, the eleventh governor of Montana, was born near Lewistown, Montana on November 9, 1882. His education was attained at Lewistown High School, and at Valparaiso University, where he earned a law degree in 1903. Ayers first entered public service as the Fergus County attorney, a position he held from 1905 to 1909. He served as a member of the Montana Board of Education from 1908 to 1912, was judge of the Montana Tenth Judicial District from 1913 to 1921, and served as a State Supreme Court justice from January 1922 to November 1922. He also served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1933 to 1937, was delegate to every State Democratic Convention between 1906 to 1940, and served as a member of the 1920 and 1940 Democratic National Conventions. Ayers next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on November 3, 1936. He was sworn into office on January 4, 1937. During his tenure, state bond interest rates were lowered; the budget deficit was eliminated; and legislation was sanctioned that strengthened the authority of the governor. After running unsuccessfully for reelection, Ayers left office on January 6, 1941. He retired from political life and returned to his ranching interests. Governor Roy E. Ayers passed away on May 23, 1955, and was buried in the Lewistown City Cemetery.


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.

Montana Governor's Papers, 1889-1905 (MC 35; boxes 84-85). Montana Historical Society.

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