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Stephen Hempstead

Gov. Stephen Hempstead

  • December 4, 1850 - December 9, 1854
  • Democratic
  • October 1, 1812
  • February 16, 1883
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois College
  • Married Lavinia Moore Lackland; six children
  • National Guard


STEPHEN HEMPSTEAD, Iowa’s second governor, was born in New London, Connecticut, on October 1, 1812. He was educated in the New London common schools and attended Illinois College at Jacksonville for two years. He then studied law with his uncle, and was admitted to the bar in 1836. Hempstead settled in Iowa, and established a successful legal career in Dubuque. During the Black Hawk War, he enlisted and served in an artillery company that defended Galena from Indian attacks. Hempstead entered politics in 1838, serving as a member of the First Legislative Council, a position he held until 1848. He also served on the commission that revised Iowa’s state laws, which were enacted after minor changes in 1851. In 1850, Hempstead won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and on December 4, 1850 he was sworn into office. During his tenure, fifty-two new counties were created, fiscal conservation was practiced, the Iowa Constitution of 1846 was endorsed, and the influx of new settlers to the state was encouraged. After his term ended on December 9, 1854, Hempstead served as Dubuque’s county judge from 1855 to 1867. He also served as auditor from 1869 to 1873, and was justice of the peace from 1882 until his death in 1883. Governor Stephen Hempstead died on February 16, 1883.



Biographies for Muscatine County Iowa

Iowa Historical Record, 1 (1885): 3-12.

Iowa History Project

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.

Recent Iowa Governors