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William Herbert Adams

Gov. William Herbert Adams

  • January 11, 1927 - January 10, 1933
  • Democratic
  • February 15, 1861
  • February 3, 1954
  • Wisconsin
  • Married twice--Emma Ottaway, Hattie D. Mullins


WILLIAM HERBERT ADAMS, Colorado’s 25th governor and first governor to be elected to three consecutive terms, was born on February 15, 1861, at Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. He was a brother to Alva, who also served as governor of Colorado (1887-1889, 1897-1899, 1905-1905). His family moved to Colorado when one of his brothers fell ill with tuberculosis in 1871. He had a limited education, and eventually became self-educated in numerous subjects, such as history, government, economics, and law. Adams first entered politics in 1883, when he was elected treasurer of Alamosa. He served as mayor of Alamosa in 1885, was elected commissioner of Conejos County, and in 1883 was one of the coordinators of the San Luis Canal near Alamosa. Adams served a representative to the Colorado Legislature from 1886 to 1888, and he was elected to the Colorado Senate, serving from 1888 to 1927. On November 2, 1926, he was elected governor of Colorado, and on January 11, 1927 he was sworn into office. Adams was reelected to the governor’s office in 1928, and again in 1930. During his tenure, the Colorado Agricultural College was established, as well as the Western State College and the Colorado Teachers’ College. Funding was approved for improvements at the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Colorado. Adams’ administration also advocated economizing the state’s finances and endorsing funding for two-year periods only. He left office on January 10, 1933, retiring from public service. Adams died on February 3, 1954 and is buried at the Alamosa Cemetery.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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