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Wesley Powell
New Hampshire

Gov. Wesley Powell

  • January 1, 1959 - January 3, 1963
  • Republican
  • October 13, 1915
  • January 6, 1981
  • New Hampshire
  • University of New Hampshire, Southern Methodist College
  • Married Beverly Swain; five children
  • Army
  • Decorated for Bravery


WESLEY POWELL, the eightieth governor of New Hampshire, was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on October 13, 1915. His education was attained at the University of New Hampshire, and at Southern Methodist College, where he earned a law degree in 1940. During World War II, he served in the Bomber Command of the Army Air Corps, European Theater of Operations, and was wounded, and later honored for his heroic service. After his military duty, he returned to his position as legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Styles Bridges. He also established a legal practice in Hampton Falls and Manchester. Powell first entered politics in 1950, as an unsuccessful senatorial candidate. He also lost his 1956 gubernatorial bid. However, he was successful in his 1958 campaign, as well as in his 1960 reelection bid. During his tenure, state agencies were consolidated; an increase in taxes was opposed; and tourism was promoted. After running unsuccessfully for reelection, Powell retired from political life. He stayed active, practicing law, as well as owning and editing the Hampton Union and Rockingham County Gazette, a weekly newspaper. Governor Wesley Powell passed away on January 6, 1981.


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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