THEODORE T. GEER was born near Salem, Oregon. After attending public schools in Silverton and Salem, he studied at the Oregon Institute (a lower division of Willamette University) in Salem. He joined the Marion Rifles during the Civil War, later moving to his father’s farm and then to a farm near Salem. While still a teenager he began writing political articles. He was elected to the Oregon Legislature in 1880, 1888, 1890, and 1892, serving as Speaker of the House in 1891. A Republican Presidential Elector in 1896, he campaigned in support of William McKinley and the gold standard. While he was governor, Oregon volunteers were among the first U.S. soldiers to serve in the Philippines, and Geer traveled to San Francisco to greet them upon their return. Also during Geer’s administration—and with his support—an amendment was adopted to the state constitution instituting initiatives and referendums. Failing to win the Republican Party’s nomination for a second gubernatorial term, Geer won election to the U.S. Senate but was denied his seat when the state legislature—refusing to be bound by the election—appointed someone else to the position. Geer went on to become editor of the Salem Daily Statesman and purchased the Pendleton Tribune, which he published from 1905 to 1908. He then moved to Portland, where he focused on the development of real estate holdings. Geer was also the author of Fifty Years in Oregon.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 13. New York: James T. White & Company.
Oregon State Archives