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Governor William P. Lord's Administration

Biographical Note

William Paine Lord was governor from January 14, 1895 to January 9, 1899.

Lord was born in Dover, Delaware on July 1, 1838. After graduating from Fairfield College in 1860 he started to study law but the Civil War intervened. Lord enlisted in the Union Army in 1862 and was commissioned a Captain. He advanced to Major by the end of the war. After the war he returned to law school and graduated from Albany Law College, Albany, New York in 1866. He again entered military service as a lieutenant and served in California, Washington and Alaska. When Alaska was purchased by the United States in 1867, Lieutenant Lord was sent to Sitka as the army took formal possession. He resigned in 1868 and took up a law practice in Salem, Oregon. He became the city attorney and was elected State Senator as a republican in 1878 but resigned to accept the republican nomination for Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court and won in 1880. He remained on the court until 1894. He was nominated by the Republican Party in 1894 for governor of Oregon. He won the election and was inaugurated on January 16, 1895.

Governor Lord suggested a constitutional amendment permitting the Governor to veto a single item of an appropriation bill. In his day the executive had either to veto the whole bill or let pass appropriations to which he was opposed. This suggestion was favored by succeeding governors and was passed in November 1916.

Lord also encouraged the creating of the State Land Board and the office of State Land Agent because of dishonest activities of land speculators who acquired large tracts of public school lands through dummy entry men and forced legitimate settlers to homestead on them.

Lord did not run for a second term as Governor, having been challenged successfully by T. T. Geer in the 1899 Republican primary race.

Lord was appointed United States Minister to Argentina in 1899. He returned to Oregon in 1902.

Lord was married to Juliette Montague in 1880 and had three children, Elizabeth, William, and Montague.

The Justices of the Supreme Court, in compliance with an act of the 1909 Legislative Assembly, appointed Lord as Code Commissioner to revise, codify and publish the statute laws of the State of Oregon, known as the Oregon Code of 1909.

Lord died February 17, 1911 in San Francisco, California.

Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722
Phone: (503) 986-1523 • Fax: (503) 986-1616 • oregon.sos@state.or.us

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