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William Hartford James

Gov. William Hartford James

  • June 2, 1871 - January 13, 1873
  • Republican
  • October 16, 1831
  • February 1, 1920
  • Ohio
  • Married Louisa Epler; four children
  • Succeeded


WILLIAM H. JAMES, the second governor of Nebraska, was born in Marion, Ohio, on October 16, 1831. His early education was attained in the public schools of his native state. He studied law, was admitted to the Iowa bar in 1855, and then established his legal career in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, and later in Dakota County, Nebraska. James first entered politics in 1857, serving as president of the Democratic County Convention. He served as a Dakota City trustee in 1858, was elected alderman of Dakota City in 1859, and served as the justice of the peace for the Dakota precinct in 1860. He also served as the Dakota County attorney from 1861 to 1864, was the registrar of the U.S. land office in Dakota County in 1864, and served as secretary of state from 1870 to 1871. On June 2, 1871, Governor David Butler was removed from office, and James, who was secretary of state at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. During his tenure several new counties were formed. James completed the remainder of Butler’s term and left office on January 13, 1873. He later secured an appointment to serve as registrar of the U.S. land office in Colfax County,Washington. Governor William H. James passed away on February 1, 1920, and was buried in Colfax, Washington.


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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