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William Alfred Comstock

Gov. William Alfred Comstock

  • January 1, 1933 - January 1, 1935
  • Democratic
  • July 2, 1877
  • June 16, 1949
  • Michigan
  • University of Michigan
  • Married Josephine White Morrison; two children


WILLIAM A. COMSTOCK, the thirty-third governor of Michigan, was born in Alpena, Michigan on July 2, 1877. His education was attained at the University of Michigan, where he graduated in 1899. He established a successful business career with holdings in real estate, banking and railroad construction.  Comstock entered politics in 1911, serving as the Democratic county chairman. He served as alderman of Alpena from 1911 to 1912, was the mayor of Alpena from 1913 to 1914, and served on the board of regents of the University of Michigan from 1914 to 1916. He also served as chairman of the Democratic State Party from 1920 to 1924, and was a member of the Democratic National Committee from 1924 to 1930. After three unsuccessful bids for the governorship, Comstock finally was elected governor by a popular vote in 1932. During his tenure, the state’s first sales tax law was authorized; an old age pension system was initiated, but later failed; a trust commission was established; and an eight-day bank holiday was affirmed, which later led to President F. D. R. announcement of a national holiday. After running unsuccessfully for reelection, Comstock left office on January 1, 1935. He continued to stay politically active, serving as a member of the Michigan Civil Service Commission, a position he held from 1939 to 1940.  He also served as a member of the Detroit City Council from 1942 to 1949. Governor William A. Comstock passed away on June 16, 1949, and was buried somewhere in Alpena, Michigan.


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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