WILLIAM J. FIELDS was born in Willard, Kentucky on December 29, 1874. His early education was attained in the public schools of his native state. After attending the University of Kentucky, Fields studied law on his own, and worked as a farmer and real estate salesman. Fields entered politics in 1911, serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he held until 1923. He won the 1923 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, was elected governor, and sworn into office on December 11, 1923. During his tenure, a state trade school for blacks was founded in Paducah, two normal schools were planned at Murray and Morehead, the first phase for busing school children was authorized, and the state purchasing commission was formed. Also, an increase in the gasoline tax was approved to fund a major highway system, the state parks commission was created, and the hydroelectric power development at Cumberland Falls was contested. Fields left office on December 13, 1927. From 1932 to 1935, he served as the Commonwealth attorney for the 34th Judicial District, and was a member of the State Workmen’s Compensation Board from 1936 to 1944. Governor William J. Fields passed away on October 21, 1954, and was buried at the Olive Hill Cemetery in Olive Hill, Kentucky.
Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress
Governors' Papers, Kentucky Department for Libraries & Archives, Public Records Division
The Political Graveyard
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.