WILLIAM LARRABEE, Iowa’s thirteenth governor, was born in Ledyard, Connecticut on January 20, 1832. His education was limited and attained in the common schools of his native state. In 1853, he journeyed to Iowa and settled in Clermont, where he taught school, and operated and owned a flourmill. During the Civil War, Larrabee tried to enlist, but was rejected due to a childhood accident that left him blind in his right eye. He entered politics in 1867, serving as a member of the Iowa State Senate, a position he held for eighteen years. Larrabee won the 1885 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor. He was reelected to a second term in 1887. During his tenure, improvements were sanctioned in the state’s railroad system. The office of railroad commissioner was made an elective position, and authorization was granted to the board on setting rates, which eliminated discrimination. Also, the administration and operation of the railway were made answerable to a state railroad commission. After leaving office, Larrabee was appointed to serve as chairman of the newly established board of control, a position he held from 1898 to 1900. He also served as commissioner who represented Iowa at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. Governor William Larrabee died on November 16, 1912, and was buried at the God’s Acre Cemetery in Clermont, Iowa.
Iowa Journal of History, 57 (1959): 231-66.
Iowan, 32 (Winter, 1983): 11-16, 52-53.
The Political Graveyard
Portrait and Biographical Album: Washington County, Iowa
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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