20th Century to Present

Foster M. Voorhees

Walter E. Edge

Charles Edison

Franklin Murphy

Edward I. Edwards

Alfred E. Driscoll

Edward C. Stokes

George S. Silzer

Robert B. Meyner

John Franklin Fort

A. Harry Moore

Richard J. Hughes

Woodrow Wilson

Morgan F. Larson

William T. Cahill

James F. Fielder

Harold G. Hoffman



Dead Governors of New Jersey



Foster M. Voorhees
30th Governor of New Jersey

Served: January 16, 1899 to January 21, 1902
Born: November 5, 1856 in Clinton, New Jersey
Died: June 14, 1827 in Clinton, New Jersey 
Buried:  Clinton Presbyterian Churchyard, Clinton, New Jersey

Foster M. Voorhees            I was driving up through western New Jersey on a damp Saturday morning when I stopped in Clinton, New Jersey. I was looking to pick up Dead Governor number 18. Clinton is a very picturesque town. The cemetery was easy to find as was the governor. It was interesting walking through a cemetery that was populated with deer grazing. 

Vorhees_grave.jpg              Voorhees graduated from Rutgers University and later started a law practice. A Republican, Voorhees was elected to the New Jersey State Assembly in 1878 and also served as Elizabeth School Commissioner. During this time, he lived in Elizabeth at 297 No. Broad St.

              In 1894, he was elected to the New Jersey State Senate and later became the president of the Senate. During this time, he filled in as acting governor when John W. Griggs resigned to become the Attorney General of the United States. Later that year, he ran for governor against Democrat Elvin L. Crane and won. At 43, he was the youngest governor ever elected. He was also our first 20th Century governor.

              During his one term, he implemented reforms that benefited orphans, school systems, improved conditions for prison inmates and protected the environment. Most especially, with Theodore Roosevelt, he was the promoter of the Palisades Interstate Park along with many other environmental measures that secured the state water system and state forest service priorities. His progressive Republicanism set the stage for the reforms of Democratic Governor Woodrow Wilson a few years later. Voorhees was governor during the Spanish-American War and many New Jersey National Guard soldiers trained at Camp Voorhees before going to fight in Cuba.  

              During his governorship, Voorhees was noted as a reform governor – school system, corporate franchise policy, and most especially, with Theodore Roosevelt, the promoter of the Palisades Interstate Park along with many other environmental measures that secured the state water system and state forest service priorities. His progressive Republicanism set the stage for the reforms of Democratic Governor Woodrow Wilson a few years later. After his governorship he returned to Hunterdon County where he was born. Before his death he donated his 325 acre estate to the State, the core of land which became Voorhees State Park.

              In 1900, Voorhees, along with future governor Franklin Murphy, were members of the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia which nominated William McKinley for president and Teddy Roosevelt for vice-president. 

              After his governorship he returned to Hunterdon County where he was born. As a philanthropist, he gave generously of his time and his estate, including leaving his 325-acre farm to become Voorhees State Park in Hunterdon County. The Voorhees Township, New Jersey is named after him. 


List of Dead Governors




Franklin Murphy
31st Governor of New Jersey

Served: January 21, 1902 to January 17, 1905
Born: January 3, 1846 in Jersey City, New Jersey
Died: February 24, 1920 in Palm Beach, Florida
Buried: Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, New Jersey

Murphy.jpg              I drove out to Newark one afternoon to visit Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Newark. The cemetery contains the remains of three New Jersey governors. It’s a large Victorian-era cemetery in the North Ward of Newark established in 1844. Aside from the three governors – Ward, Pennington and Murphy – it has graves of some of Newark's most important 19th century citizens. The cemetery is dominated by the marble mausoleum of John Fairfield Dryden, the founder of Prudential Financial. 

Murphy_grave.jpg              When he was ten years old, his family moved to Newark. Murphy was 16 years old when the Civil War began. He enlisted as a private in the 13th New Jersey Regiment and served for three years. He participated in the Battles of Antietam, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg and out west at Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain. In his first battle at Antietam, his regiment fought in the famous cornfield and around the Dunker Church. At Gettysburg, they fought with the rest of the XII Corp against Confederate General Ewell's Corp at Culp's Hill. By the time he mustered out in 1865, Murphy had been promoted to first lieutenant. 

              When he returned home, Murphy went into business. Murphy & Company was nationally known as a varnish business. He married Janet Colwell in 1868. Murphy also became active in Republican politics in Newark. In the 1890's, he became very powerful politically in Northern New Jersey. In 1900, Murphy, along with current governor Foster Voorhees, was members of the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia which nominated William McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt for president and vice-president.

              In 1901, he ran for governor and easily defeated Democratic Newark Mayor, James M. Seymour. As governor, Murphy brought his business sense and organizational skills to Trenton. He was also very friendly toward businesses and corporations. He improved child safety laws and education. It was also a period of progressive that was sweeping the nation. Mayor Mark Fagen of Jersey City was calling for equal taxation, especially by railroads. Of course, railroad corporations were among the most powerful in the country at the time. Fagen accused the Republican Party of being controlled by the railroads. Sweeping reforms would begin under Murphy's administration.

              Murphy only served one term as governor. However, he remained a very powerful figure in the Republican Party. In 1908, he was considered for the vice presidential nomination (it went to James S. Sherman instead). In 1916, he unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate. Despite some progressive aspects, Murphy was a conservative Republican throughout his political career. In 1912, Murphy stuck with President William Taft when Teddy Roosevelt was splitting the Republican Party. 

              In 1920, while he was vacationing in Palm Beach, he suffered an intestinal obstruction. He died six days after an operation at age 74. There is a statue of Murphy on Elizabeth Avenue in Weequahic Park, Newark.

The 13th New Jersey Regiment
Franklin Murphy - Newark History Page

List of Dead Governors




Edward C. Stokes
32nd Governor of New Jersey

Served: January 17, 1905 to January 21, 1908
Born: December 22, 1860 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: November 4, 1942 in Trenton, New Jersey
Buried: Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Millville, New Jersey

Stokes.jpg              On September 24, 2011, while going to coach a Bayonne Rangers 16A hockey game in Voorhees, Debbie and I stopped by nearby Millville to get Governor Stokes’ grave picture. It was a rainy day but we still got the photo making him number 39 on the dead governors list. 

              Edward Casper Stokes was born in Philadelphia, the son of Edward and Matilda Stoke. His parents who were originally from New Jersey, returned shortly afterwards and settled in Millburn. He attended the Friends School in Rhode Island, and graduated second in his class from Brown University in 1883. After graduation, he worked in the bank where his father worked as a cashier.

              A Republican, he entered politics and was part of the South Jersey Republican boss William J. Sewell. With Sewell’s support, he was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 1891 and served two one-year terms. He was than elected to the New Jersey Senate in 1893 and served three terms to 1901. As a legislature, he pushed back against gambling legislature.

              In 1904, Stokes was nominated by the state Republicans to be governor. In the general election, he ran against Democrat Charles C. Black. At the time, progressive movement in New Jersey that was opposed to large trust, large railroads and old time politics. Despite being a bank president and a railroad director, Stokes won the election by over 50,000 votes. He was the Governor between 1905 and 1908.

              At the time, the national Republican Party was split between the “old guard” Republicans against the progressive Republicans who were championed by President Theodore Roosevelt. In New Jersey, the progressives were demanding that railroads paid their fair share of taxes (railroad companies were exempt from paying local property taxes which hurt municipalities). Stokes was a member of the “old guard” but tried to steer a middle road between him and the progressives. A compromise was found to increase some of the railroads tax responsibility but it was limited.

             Stokes did believe, like President Roosevelt, in nature conservation. He got the legislature to purchase land for state forest conservation – creating over 10,500 acres of woodland (he donated 500 acres himself.) He was supporter of education and wanted more teachers trained to fill the increasing public school system. He believed that immigrants, who at the time accounted for one-fifth of the state’s population, should be taught in their own languages and recommended increased vocational technical training for them.             

Stokes_grave.jpg             He served his one term (the NJ Constitution prohibited back-to-back terms for governor) and was seceded by Republican John Franklin Fort. Stokes next looked to achieve his dream of being a United States senator. When Senator Sewell died in office in 1901, it presented an opportunity for him. He was seen as Swell’s successor and had good support in Southern Jersey. Despite this, he received opposition from northern Republicans who supported Prudential Insurance president John F. Dryden of Newark. In a close vote, he short in the Republican caucus, losing out to Dryden.

             In his second attempt, Stokes won a narrow victory in the 1910 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate over former governor Franklin Murphy, but unfortunately it was still two years before the people were allowed to vote for senators and at the time Democrats controlled the legislature so Stokes was defeated.

             In 1913, Stokes attempted to win a second term as New Jersey Governor. He was the Republican nominee for Governor in 1913, but lost to James F. Fielder, who had the support of former governor and current U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. From 1919 to 1927, he was the Chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee. During that time, due to increases in the urban population, the Republican Party’s power in the state decreased as they continued to lose statewide elections. He felt that prohibition, under the 19th Amendment, hurt the Republican Party.

             Stokes ran for the U.S. Senate in 1928 for a third and last time, but finished third in the GOP primary behind Hamilton F. Kean and Joseph Frelinghuysen. He claimed that the wealth of Kean and Frelinghuysen made a difference in the election. He opposed direct primaries for governors and U.S. senators because of the influence of money and potential for corruption. He chaired the state's GOP general election campaign that year and continued to fight against prohibition. In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt won the election for President of the United States carrying New Jersey. Stokes felt that was because of Hoover’s support of prohibition. Despite this, with Stokes helped a number of Republicans win control of the New Jersey legislature. After this, he retired from politics.  

             Stokes was the President of Mechanics National Bank in Trenton and was President of the New Jersey Bankers Association. Despite these positions, he never became wealthy. He lost much of his own money in the stock market crash of 1929. Learning of his financial problems in 1939, the state legislature voted to give him a $2,500-a-year pension. Stokes turned the money down and instead took a state job advising New Jersey's public information office. 

             Stokes never married. He was an avid sports fan, especially of baseball. In 1942, Stokes died of a heart attack in Mercer Hospital in Trenton at aged 81. Because of his work with conservation, Stokes State Forest – a 16,025 acre park in Sussex County - is named in his honor.

List of Dead Governors


John Franklin Fort
33rd Governor of New Jersey

Served: January 21, 1908 to January 17, 1911
Born: March 20, 1852 in Pemberton, New Jersey 
Died: November 17, 1920 in West Orange, New Jersey 
Buried: Bloomfield Cemetery, Bloomfield, New Jersey

Fort.jpg              This was an easy one to get. I was heading out to Montclair when I decided to make a quick detour to Bloomfield to pick up Dead Governor number 19. It was easy enough to find. The cemetery is a block from Bloomfield High School. Once inside, I had to look around a little. The governor was under a bit of foliage, so it wasn't too easy, but I found him.

              John Franklin Fort was born into a family of public officials. His father was a state assemblyman. When Fort was born, his uncle, Dr. George F. Fort was the Democratic governor of New Jersey. Fort studied law. While at law school his roommate was future 1904 Democratic presidential hopeful Alton B. Parker. Fort became a Republican and campaigned for Ulysses S. Grant for president in 1872. The following year, he passed the bar and began law practice in Newark. In 1876, Fort married Charlotte Starnsby, the daughter of the Essex County Republican leader.

Fort_grave.jpg              In 1878, Governor George B. McClellan appointed him a state judge where he remained until 1886. Fort became a delegate to the 1884 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas and supported eventual candidate James G. Blaine (who eventually lost to Democrat Grover Cleveland). In 1896, Fort was again a delegate at the Republican National Convention, this time in St. Louis, where he nominated fellow New Jerseyian Garret Hobart for the vice presidency. In the general election, Republicans William McKinley and Hobart won. Later, Governor John Griggs returned Fort to the bench and in 1900, Governor Voorhees named Fort to the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

              In the early 1900's, the national Republican Party was splitting into two groups; a progressive branch, led by President Theodore Roosevelt, and the "Old Guard" conservative branch. Facing the possibility of losing the statehouse in the next election, the Republicans tried to unite behind a candidate that both sides could support, and choose Fort. He was narrowly elected in 1907, defeating Democrat Trenton mayor Frank S. Katzenback and served one term. Fort was the fifth consecutive one-term Republican governors. As governor, he participated in the first radio broadcast in New Jersey in 1908. He established the Department of Education in 1910; greatly improved road and highway systems; and turned the state deficit into a one million dollar balance. However, many of his ambitious reform programs were not passed. Many conservatives in his party did not support them and many reformers in his party did not think Fort worked hard enough to get them passed.

              Fort was a delegate to the 1912 Republican National Convention in Chicago. The convention saw the business-oriented faction supporting William Howard Taft turn back a challenge from former president Theodore Roosevelt, who boasted broader popular support and even won a primary in Taft's home state of Ohio. Fort, with a few other Republicans who supported Roosevelt, broke with the Republican Party and left the convention. Roosevelt formed a new political party called the Progressive Party or by its nickname, "The Bull Moose Party." Fort chaired the New Jersey Progressive Committee and backed Theodore Roosevelt against President Taft and New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson.  Because of this split in the Republican Party, Democrat Wilson won the election. Fort enjoyed a friendship with his gubernatorial successor, Woodrow Wilson, and Wilson named him to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Wilson later named him Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, where he served from 1917 to 1919. He died in his home in East Orange a year later.

List of Dead Governors



Woodrow Wilson
34th Governor of New Jersey

Served: January 17, 1911 to March 1, 1913
Born: December 28, 1856 in Staunton, Virginia
Died: February 3, 1924 in Washington D.C.
Buried: Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

Wilson_grave.jpgWilson.jpg              In July of 2002, my wife and I took our nephew Damian for a weekend visit to Manassas, Virginia. We toured the Civil War battlefield of Bull Run (Manses). On Sunday, we drove up to Washington D.C. to the Washington National Cathedral for the 11 am service. Even though we are not Episcopalians, we wanted to go anyway. Before the service, we walked around the cathedral, which is huge. It is a Gothic cathedral and is the second largest cathedral in the country (after St. John the Divine in Manhattan) and the sixth largest cathedral in the world. I was under the misconception that Wilson was in the crypt beneath the main floor. As we walked around the nave, we came upon Wilson. He is in the Wilson Bay at the center of the nave on the south side. They have an American flag, a New Jersey flag and the flag of Princeton University in the bay. His wife, Edith Boll Wilson is also buried there beneath the floor.


              In all, there are 150 people buried in the cathedral. The most famous of these, besides Wilson, are Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan, Admiral George Dewey (Spanish-American War hero) and Cordell Hull (F.D.R.'s Secretary of State). It was very hot that day, after the service we went to lunch in Georgetown.

              Born in Virginia, Wilson  received an undergraduate degree from Princeton University, a law degree from University of Virginia and his Ph.D. from John Hopkins, all by the age of 30 (1886). Four years later, he was back at Princeton as a history professor. Within 12 years, he was the president of the university. Eight years later, in 1910, he was elected Governor of New Jersey.  Two years later, he ran for President of the United States and won again. This was made possible because the Republican Party was split between incumbent President William Taft and independent former President Teddy Roosevelt. Wilson carried 42 states and 435 Electoral votes. 

Wilson_grave2.jpg              After the Wilson's left the White House in 1921, they lived in a house at 2340 S Street, N.W. in Washington D.C. Wilson rarely left the house, though he did attend President Harding's funeral in August of 1823. Six months later, Wilson was blind and barely able to move or speak. On February 3, 1824, with his Edith and daughter Margaret by him, his heart stopped. On February 8, a private funeral service was held in his house, attended by President Coolidge and his wife. Edith, still overcome with grief, watched from the top of the stairs. 30,000 people stood in a bitter cold rain to watch the funeral procession. A military escort took Wilson, in a black coffin, to Washington National Cathedral (still being built) where the funeral service was held. Wilson was interred in the crypt below in the Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea. In 1956, he was moved upstairs to his present place. His wife, Edith lived for 37 years. In 1961, she rode in President Kennedy's inaugural parade. She died later in the year on her husband’s birthday and is buried in the Wilson's Bay next to her husband.


The Woodrow Wilson House
The Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Museum
White House Biography of Woodrow Wilson
The Internet Public Library Biography
The American President Biography
Washington National Cathedral

List of Dead Governors



James F. Fielder
35th Governor of New Jersey

Served: January 20, 1914 to January 17, 1917
Born: February 26, 1867 in Jersey City, New Jersey
Died: December 2, 1954 in Montclair, New Jersey
Buried: Fairmount Cemetery Mausoleum, Newark, New Jersey

Fielder.jpg                Fielder is not an easy one to find. He is in a mausoleum in Newark. Every time I went there, it was closed. So I took a photo of the outside of the building. Hopefully, I will be able to get a better picture, but for now, this will have to do.  

              James Fairman Fielder was born in a political family. His family descended from some of the original Dutch settlers of Hudson County. His father was George Bragg Fielder, a U.S. Congressman. His grandfather was John Brinkerhoff, a Hudson County judge. His uncle was William Brinkerhoff, a New Jersey state senator. Fielder graduated from Columbia Law School and started practicing law in Jersey City. He married Mabel Cholwell Miller in 1895. Fielder, like others in his family entered politics and became a member of the New Jersey General Assembly from Hudson County, New Jersey from 1903 to 1904. He was elected to the New Jersey Senate representing Hudson County in 1908 and re-elected in 1910.

Fairmount_Mausoleum.jpg              When the New Jersey Senate convened in January 1913 after Woodrow Wilson had won the 1912 Presidential Election, the Democratic caucus selected Fielder to serve as Senate President, knowing that he would assume the position of Acting Governor after Wilson stepped down to become president. Fielder became Acting Governor on March 1, 1913, when Woodrow Wilson stepped down to become President of the United States. Fielder announced he would run for governor shortly after and on October 28, 1913, so as to create a vacancy in the governorship and avoid constitutional limits on succeeding himself as governor, to begin his campaign.

              The next election would be the first time that a candidate was selected according to the newly reconstructed primary laws. The 1913 Democratic primary had three candidates. Along with Fielder, there was Jersey City mayor Otto Wittpenn and Trenton mayor Frank S. Katzenback (who lost the governors election in 1907). President Wilson got Wittpenn to pull out of the race which allowed Fielder to easily defeat Katzenback. In the general election, Fielder defeated his Republican opponent, former governor Edward C. Stokes (1905-08). After winning "re-election," he took office on January 20, 1914, and served a full term in office. The Democrats also won both houses of the state legislature.

              Fielder, who supported the reforms of his predecessor, Woodrow Wilson, wanted to continue his policies. However, he found out quickly that the power in the New Jersey Democratic Party was shifting to a new up and coming leader, Frank Hague of Jersey City. Even with his party's control of the legislature, Fielder had trouble getting his agenda passed. It became worse in 1914, when the Republicans took control of both houses of the state legislature and began to roll back many of the Wilson reforms despite Fielders attempt to stop them. After his three years was up, Fielder who was frustrated by both political parties and what he saw as their petty agendas trumping the overall common good of the state, retired from politics. Republican Walter E. Edge defeated Wittpenn in the 1916 election.

              In 1917, Fielder ran the State Food Administration during World War I and in 1919 he became the vice-chancellor of the Court of Chancery. The last post he held for 29 years. Fielder died of a heart attack and is buried in the mausoleum in Fairmount Cemetery, Newark

List of Dead Governors




Edward I. Edwards
37th Governor of New Jersey

Served: January 20, 1920 to January 15, 1923

Born: December 1, 1863 in Jersey City, New Jersey
Died: January 26, 1931 in Jersey City, New Jersey
Buried: Bayview - New York Bay Cemetery, Jersey City, New Jersey

Edwards.jpg               He was from Jersey City and he was a Hague Democrat. He won a seat in the U.S. Senate on his Anti-Prohibition platform using the campaign slogan "Wine, Women and Song" (that would get my vote). His famous Anti-Prohibition quote was, "New Jersey - wet as the Atlantic Ocean." He is in Bayview-New York Bay Cemetery on Garfield Avenue in Jersey City. However, his name is not on the gravestone. Why you ask? I really don't know. He did have a string of very bad luck at the end of his life. He was implicated in a voting fraud scandal (imagine that in Jersey City), he went bankrupt in the Stock Market Crash of '29, his wife died, he was diagnosed with cancer and ended up killing himself in his Kensington Avenue (that's in Jersey City) apartment. The name on the stone is his brother and sister-in-law. I did check with the cemetery office to make sure he's there.

Edwards_grave.jpg              Born in Jersey City, Edward Irving Edwards attended New York University and then studied law in his brother's law office, who was also a state senator. On November 14, 1888, he married Blanche Smith. They had two children, Edward Irving, Jr. and Elizabeth Jules. He became involved in banking, becoming president and chairman of the board of directors of the First National Bank of Jersey City. Edwards entered politics and became part of the Hudson County Democratic Organization, being elected state senator in 1918. He became a friend and close political ally of Mayor Frank "Boss" Hague, who ran the Democratic machine in Hudson County and soon New Jersey. Hague supported Edwards gubernatorial run in 1919. 

              In 1919, World War I was over and the country was going through a turbulent period with labor strikes and Communist scares. The Republican Party was growing in power after the days of Woodrow Wilson. Republican Warren G. Harding was swept into the White House, signaling the start of "Normalcy", and Republicans won every governor’s race in the north and west of the country, that is except New Jersey. Edwards, running on an anti-prohibition campaign, which was called "The Applejack Campaign", edged out Republican Newton Bugbee with 52% of the vote. As governor, Edwards was frustrated with the Republican controlled legislature, with more rural interests, who overrode many of his vetoes. Edwards, who had urban interests at heart constantly voted against anything he thought would hurt the city workers, like public transportation fare increases and "blue laws". Edwards had successfully created an urban coalition. In 1920, Edwards was even considered as a potential Democratic nomination for president (the party went with James Cox of Ohio - who was crushed by Harding).

              At the end of his term, forbidden by the state constitution to run for a consecutive term, he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1922. Campaigning against the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) and with the support of the Hague Democratic Political Machine, Edwards defeated incumbent Republican Joseph S. Frelinghuysen by almost 90,000 votes. After six years in the Senate, Edwards ran for re-election against Republican Hamilton Kean in 1928. Kean came out against Prohibition also which hurt Edwards who used his "Applejack Campaign" so successfully in the past. Also, Edwards could not overcome the "Coolidge Prosperity" that was sweeping the country. He lost by over 230,000 votes.

              After returning to Jersey City in March of 1929, his luck turned for the worse. His wife had died in 1928 and his relationship with Mayor Hague went downhill when Hague supported A. Harry Moore instead of Edwards for governor. He went broke in the stock market crash of '29 and was implicated in a voter fraud scandal. Finally, he was diagnosed with skin cancer and ended up shooting himself in his Jersey City home at 39 Duncan Avenue. He is buried in the plot of his older brother, William David Edwards, who he once worked for, who died in 1916.

List of Dead Governors



A. Harry Moore
39th Governor of New Jersey

Served: January 19, 1926 to January 15, 1929 and
January 19, 1932 to January 3, 1935 and
January 18, 1938 to January 21, 1941

Born: July 3, 1877 in Jersey City, New Jersey
Died: November 18, 1952 in Hunterton County, New Jersey
Buried: Bayview - New York Bay Cemetery, Jersey City, New Jersey

Moore_photo.jpg              He was also from Jersey City and another Hague man. He is the only New Jersey Governor to serve three non-consecutive terms (our old state constitution wouldn't let you serve consecutive terms). Between his second and third terms, he was a U.S. Senator which he hated. He once referred to the United States Congress as "The Cave of Winds" (he might be on to something here). He is also in Bayview-New York Bay Cemetery - not too far from Edwards. He was much easier to find. Moore's stone is stylish also - a little Art Deco. By the way, the "A" stood for Arthur. 

              Arthur Harry Moore was born in the Lafayette section of Jersey City (240 Whiton Street), one of six children of Robert White and Martha (McComb) Moore. Moore dropped out of grammar school (Public School No. 13 – no longer there) to work. He finished his education on the side before becoming the secretary of Jersey City mayor, H. Otto Wittpenn in 1907. He married Jennie Hastings Stevens in 1911 as he continued to move up in the city Democratic circles. Two years later, Moore successfully ran for commissioner in Jersey City. When his mentor, Wittpenn, lost the governors election in 1916 and subsequently dropped out of politics, Moore teamed up with another commissioner, Frank Hague. 

              In the Jersey City elections of 1917, Moore and Hague were re-elected as commissioners, beginning Hague's 30-year rule as mayor and the beginning of the "Hague Political Machine". While a commissioner, Moore graduated from New Jersey Law School in Newark and passed the bar. Hague, who by the 1920's was controlling New Jersey's political scene, landed Moore the Democratic nomination for governor in 1925. In the election, that featured Moore's anti-prohibition stance against the Republican's "Anti-Hague" campaign, Moore carried only three state counties. However, he won by such a wide margin in Hudson County, that he easily won the election over Arthur Whitney.

              Working with a Republican State House, Moore learned to compromise to get things accomplished. In his first term, he dedicated the Holland Tunnel (connecting Jersey City to New York) and Goethals Bridge and the Outerbridge Crossings connecting New Jersey with Staten Island. As the country went through the "Roaring Twenties", Moore had to deal with the social problems it caused. In 1928, the state constitution prohibited Moore from running for a consecutive term and the Republicans swept the elections for the governorship and the state house. 

              Being in power at the time of the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression, the Republicans took the brunt of the blame. Moore waited on the sidelines for the next election. In the election of 1925, Moore criticized President Herbert Hoover and Governor Morgan F. Larson for current depression and easily carried the election over Republican David Baird Jr., winning all but one county (Baird's home county of Camden). During his second term, Moore did everything he could to cut back on spending to help the state's economic problems. 

              Two major events, which received worldwide publicity, occurred during his second term. The first was the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby in 1932. He took personal charge of the investigation. The second was the wreck of the ocean liner Morro Castle, which burned off the coast of Asbury Park. Moore was highly involved during rescue operations. In addition, during his administration, Prohibition was repealed.

Moore_grave.jpg              Again unable to run for a consecutive term, Moore, at Hague's insistence, successfully ran for the United States Senate.  This allowed the Republicans to retake the governor's office when Harold G. Hoffman won in 1934. Never very comfortable with President's Roosevelt's New Deal projects, Moore did not enjoy his years in Washington D.C.  He was the only Senate Democrat to vote against Roosevelt's Social Security Program and to oppose FDR's plan to pack the Supreme Court. When Hague asked him to run again for governor, Moore happily resigned his Senate seat after only three years. In all probability, Hague did this because of his close political friendship with Roosevelt. However, while he was senator he did obtain federal funding for major WPA projects for Jersey City, including the Jersey City Medical Center (now the Beacon Condominiums), Roosevelt Stadium (torn down for the Society Hill gated community)  and National Guard Armory (still active).  

              In the 1937 elections, Moore faced Essex County republican, the reverend Lester H. Clee (strangely enough, Moore's sister-in-law was married to Clee's brother). Despite the relationship, the election was very ugly. Moore’s record in the Senate (his opposition to the New Deal) was used against him. Clee carried 15 of the 21 counties, but Moore's 130,000-vote victory in Hudson County gave him the win. Clee claimed voter fraud which eventually led to a Senate investigation in 1940 (the investigation ended when it was discovered that the voting records in Hudson County had been destroyed).

              Moore's third term was devoted to economic recovery as the state struggled through the Great Depression. In early 1941, Moore left the Governor's office for the last time. Frank Hague wanted him to run for a fourth term in 1943, but Moore refused.

              He retired from public life and resumed his law practice in Jersey City where he lived at 350 Arlington Avenue (corner of Arlington and Bramhall Avenues). He served as counsel for the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad. In 1944, Moore was a delegate in the democratic National Convention that nominated Roosevelt for a fourth term. A year later, Moore was appointed by Governor Edge to the State Board of Education. While driving near his summer home in Hunterton County, Moore suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 73.

              The A. Harry Moore High School in Jersey City is named after him. Moore is one of only two New Jersey governors to have a high school named in their honor. The other was Harold G. Hoffman. 

List of Dead Governors



Morgan F. Larson
40th Governor of New Jersey

Served: January 15, 1929 to January 19, 1932

Born: June 15, 1882 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Died:  March 21, 1961 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Buried: Alpine Cemetery, Perth Amboy, New Jersey

Larson2.jpg              During the summer of 2005, I took a drive to Perth Amboy to find Governor Morgan Larson. I had tried once before but could find him in Alpine Cemetery. It wasn't easy and took awhile, but I eventually found him making Larson the 28th Dead Governor to join my collection.

Larson_grave2.jpg              The son of Danish immigrants, Larson was educated in public schools and later received a degree in engineering from Cooper Union Institute in New York City. He worked as an engineer for local municipalities. In 1914, he married Jennie Brogger. In 1921, at age 39, Larson entered politics. A Republican, he was elected to the New Jersey state senate from Middlesex County. He was re-elected in 1924 and again in 1927. In 1925, he became the senate's majority leader and the following year, the senate president.

              With the rise of the automobile, Larson became interested in engineering projects that would improve New Jersey's infrastructure. He worked on three major projects; The George Washington Bridge, The Outercrossing Bridge and the Goethals Bridge. The first one would connect New York City with Fort Lee, New Jersey while the later two connected New Jersey to Staten Island. Larson also passed legislation to build 1,700 miles of highways.

              Larson looked to winning the statehouse in 1929. Larson would first have to face Jersey City Republican Robert Carey in the Republican primaries. Ironically, Jersey City Democratic political boss Frank Hague did not want Carey to win the general election for governor, and ultimately weaken Hague's political base in the state, so he had the Democratic party machine in Hudson County support Larson in the Republican primaries to keep Carey out. Because of this, Larson won the primary. However, this backfired on Hague, who thought Larson would be easier to beat, when Larson won the gubernatorial election against Democrat Judge William L. Dill of Paterson. Larson attacked Paterson for being a Hague pawn saying he, "will enter the capital at Trenton through the front door and the Hague machine will go out the backdoor."

Larson_grave.jpg              As governor, Larson immediately angered many Republican party bosses over his selections to political positions. Despite the Republicans controlling both houses of the legislature, Larson wasn't able to get much accomplished his first year in office. The following year, Larson negotiated with Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York to build the Lincoln Tunnel from Manhattan to Weehawken, New Jersey. That year he also married his secretary, a Danish native named Adda Schmidt. His first wife, Jennie, had died in 1927.

              After the Stock Market crash of 1929, the country fell into the Great Depression. Larson did all he could to avoid the economic downturn but the growing unemployment in the state doomed the rest of his administration. Like many people, Larson believed in a Protestant work ethic and the free enterprise system, but the growing depression called those ideas into question. Many parallels were drawn between Governor Larson and President Herbert Hoover. Both were engineers who came from humble backgrounds whose administrations were undone by the Great Depression. Because of the state constitution, Larson could not run again in 1931 (you can't succeed yourself). The governor, A. Harry Moore, who he replaced in 1929, replaced him in 1932.

              After leaving the statehouse, Larson continued to work as an engineer for the Port Authority of New York. However, the Great Depression had seriously hurt him financially. In 1945, Governor Walter E. Edge appointed Larson to the Department of Conservation, which he held until 1949. Larson died at home at age 78 and is buried alongside his first wife Jennie. His second wife Adda was buried next to him when she passed away in 1985.


List of Dead Governors



Harold G. Hoffman
41st Governor of New Jersey

Served: January 15, 1935 to January 18, 1938
Born: February 7, 1896 in South Amboy, New Jersey
Died:  June 4, 1954 in New York City, New York
Buried: Christ Church Cemetery, South Amboy, New Jersey

Hoffman.jpg              Hoffman was the 17th governor to join the list. He was an easy one to get being in South Amboy. I picked this photo up in August of 2003. Christ Church Cemetery is easy to find. It's on South Pine street just off route 35. However, it took a little while to find the governor. The cemetery is not very big and I actually passed him twice without knowing it. However, I spotted him after about a 45 minute search.

              Hoffman will be forever linked to one of the most sensational events in the first half of the 20th century. He was governor during the Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial also known as the "Trial of the Century" (or at least the first one).

              After Hoffman graduated from the South Amboy High School in 1913 he worked for a few years with a newspaper. Upon the United States entry into the First World War, Hoffman enlisted into the United States Army. In France, he rose to the rank of captain in the 3rd New Jersey Infantry. After the war, he became a banker and was involved in local politics, even serving as South Amboy's mayor from 1925 to 1926. He married Lillie Moss and they had three children. A Republican, he won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms (March 4, 1927 - March 3, 1931). He chose not to run again and instead became motor vehicle commissioner of New Jersey.

Hoffman_grave.jpg              In 1934, Hoffman ran for and won the election for governor. The incumbent governor, A. Harry Moore, was not allowed to run due to the state constitution. Hoffman defeated Democrat William L. Dill. Years before his election on March 1, 1932, Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator had his son kidnapped from their home in Hopewell, New Jersey. The baby, Charles Jr.'s, body was discovered two months later. A German immigrant, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, was arrested for the crime over two years later. In a sensational trial in Flemington, New Jersey, that lasted only six weeks in 1935, he was convicted of murder. Ironically, the trial actually began on January 15, the day Hoffman was sworn in as governor. 

              Hauptmann maintained his innocence to the last and was visited in his jail cell by Governor Hoffman in December of 1935. In February of 1936, Hoffman granted Hauptmann a 30-day stay of execution which was very unpopular with everyone. It appears to some that Hoffman had serious misgivings about Hauptmann's guilt. A Board of Pardons, on which Hoffman was a member, rejected Hauptmann's appeal by a vote of 7 to 1. Hoffman was the lone vote in favor of Hauptmann. There was little else Hoffman could do, at the time, New Jersey governors did not have the power to commute a death sentence. Hauptmann was electrocuted in Trenton on April 3, 1936. 

              The case hurt Hoffman politically. He did not want Hauptmann executed. There were calls for his impeachment, but Hoffman persisted in his claim that he only wanted to see justice done. It's not sure whether he thought Hauptmann was innocent or he felt that Hauptmann was not alone and he wanted to find out who the accomplices were. After the trial, Hoffman launched his own investigation.

              After his three-year term as governor, he became the Executive Director of the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Commission until the United States entry into World War II. During the war, Hoffman again served in the army. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before discharged in 1946. He returned to run the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Commission again until his death in 1954 at the age of 58. Hoffman died of a heart attack in a hotel room in New York City. After his death, a posthumous confession by Hoffman stated that he stole $300,000 while serving in the Unemployment Compensation Commission. 

              In 1996, the cable channel, HBO, released a movie about the Lindbergh kidnapping called Crime of the Century. In the movie, actor Michael Moriarty portrayed Governor Hoffman.

              The high school in South Amboy was named Harold G. Hoffman High School. Hoffman is one of only two New Jersey governors to have had high school named after them (the other is A. Harry Moore High School in Jersey City). In the late 1990's, a new high school was built in South Amboy named South Amboy High School (the old building is still standing), however, the South Amboy High School's mascot is still the Governor in honor of Hoffman [Special thanks to Jon Bouchard of South Amboy for this information].

List of Dead Governors


Charles Edison
42nd Governor of New Jersey

Served: 1940 to January 18, 1944
Born: August 3, 1890  in West Orange, New Jersey
Died: July 31, 1969 in New York City, New York
Buried: Rosedale Cemetery in Orange, New Jersey

Edison.jpg              Edison was the 32nd governor to join my list. He was relatively easy to get. My wife and I took a leisurely drive through Essex County one Sunday in July of 2007. We stopped for some hot dogs at Rutt's Hut in Clifton first. After visiting Edison's mausoleum in Rosedale Cemetery, we drove to Edison's home, Glenmont, which is nearby. After entering secluded Llewellyn Park, we took a guided tour of the home Charles Edison was born in. The house, which is run by the National Park Service, was recently renovated. His parents, Thomas and Mina are buried behind the house.  

               Edison is the oldest son of famous inventor Thomas Alva Edison with his second wife Mina. He was born at his parents' home, Glenmont, in West Orange, and later attended the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During World War I, he assisted his father in developing naval weapons. It was here that he became friends with assistant secretary of the navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt. He married his college sweetheart Carolyn Hawkins on March 27, 1918. They had no children. For a number of years Charles Edison ran Edison Records. Charles became president of his father's company Thomas A. Edison, Inc. in 1927, and ran it until it was sold in 1959.

              Edison, like his family, was a Republican until the early 1930's when, in response to the New Deal programs initiated during the Great Depression, he became the only family member to become a Democrat. In 1937, President Roosevelt appointed Charles Edison as Assistant Secretary of the Navy mainly because Edison agreed with Roosevelt that the U.S. Navy needed to be the strongest in the world. After the death of Secretary Claude A. Swanson in 1939, Roosevelt named Edison Acting Secretary on January 2, 1940. Edison remained in this position until June 24, resigning to run his gubernatorial campaign.

              During his time in the Navy department, he was responsible for many improvements that would become critical in the upcoming Second World War. He saw the danger posed by dive-bombers to naval ships. He pushed for the development of fast destroyers, torpedo-bombers and torpedo boats. He also stopped the sale of a number of obsolete World War I destroyers that were later given to Great Britain in the early days of the war. Edison also advocated construction of the large Iowa-class battleships, and that one of them be built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which secured votes for Roosevelt in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the 1940 presidential election; in return, Roosevelt had BB-62 named the USS New Jersey (today it is a floating museum in Camden).

              In 1940, he resigned from the Naval Department and with Roosevelt's encouragement decided to run for Governor of New Jersey. At the time, New Jersey was still under the influence of Jersey City mayor Frank Hague's political machine. Edison abhorred Hague's machine politics. Edison neither asked for, nor sought, Hague's aid. On the contrary, he had gone to great lengths and personal expense to distance himself from the Democratic party boss, even going so far as to proclaim, "I would rather be respected than elected." He hoped, after winning, to re-write the state constitution and reform elections. Edison attacked Hague's political corruption during the campaign, especially his control of the courts.

Edison_grave.jpg              His opponent was Republican Gloucester County state senator Robert C. Hendrickson who referred to Edison, despite his claims to be independent, as a puppet of Hague. The election returns for 1940, however, provided Edison with a dramatic illustration of how powerful Hudson county was in New Jersey's politics and the magnitude of the obstacle he faced in agitating for constitutional, and hence electoral, reform. Edison carried only seven of the state's 21 counties. He even failed to win the popular vote in his home county of Essex. Ironically, Edison's margin of victory was due not to his vigorous advocacy of reform and assertions of his independence from Frank Hague, but to the decisive 107,571 vote plurality manufactured by Hague's Hudson county machine.

              Edison's one term as governor was not very successful. The state legislature was controlled by Republicans which limited his ability to do what he wanted. He also quickly made an enemy of Hague, the state's most powerful Democrat, by resisting many of Hague's influences. He removed the direct phone line between the governor's office and Hague's office in Jersey City. Hague removed as many of Hague's men from state office as he could. Hague retaliated by blocking many of Edison's reforms. Edison denounced Hague with radio addresses calling him 'corrupt' and 'dictatorial.' He proposed updating the old New Jersey State Constitution of 1844 to remove many of the forms of patronage that Hague used so successfully. The constitution was also archaic in that it limited his term to three years and didn't allow anyone to secede himself, allowed an override of a veto with a simple majority and limited the power of the governor who had to share power with over 80 boards and commissions. Although it failed in a referendum and nothing was changed during his tenure, state legislators did reform the constitution in 1947.

              He decided not run for re-election in 1943, but was determined to be followed by an anti-Hague Democrat. However, this didn't happen as Hague was too powerful and had his man, Newark mayor Vincent J. Murphy, nominated. Edison stayed out of the election and ultimately Murphy was defeated by Republican Walter E. Edge (former 36th governor of New Jersey).

              After leaving politics in 1944, Edison resumed his position as president of Thomas A. Edison Inc. which merged with the McGraw Electric Company in 1957 to form the McGraw-Edison Company (In 1985, McGraw-Edison was purchased by Cooper Industries of Houston, Texas). In 1948, he established a charitable foundation, originally called "The Brook Foundation", now the Charles Edison Fund. He remained active in politics and supported John V. Kenny's overthrow of the Hague Machine in 1948 (though Kenny later proved to be as corrupt as Hague). Edison opposed the growing power of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, under Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower and Democratic president John F. Kennedy. In 1963, he officially joined the New York Conservative Party.

              Between 1951 and 1969, he lived in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, where he struck up a friendship with Herbert Hoover, who also lived there. In 1963, his wife Carolyn died. Edison himself died in New York on July 31, 1969, three days shy of his 79th birthday leaving an estate of over $10 million, most of which went to the Charles Edison Fund. His personal mascot was the owl, and he collected objects depicting owls.

Charles Edison Fund
National Park Service site for Glenmont

List of Dead Governors


Alfred E. Driscoll
43rd Governor of New Jersey

Served: January 21, 1947 to January 19, 1954

Born: October 25, 1902  in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died: March 9, 1975 in Haddonfield, New Jersey
Buried: Haddonfield Baptist Churchyard in Haddonfield, New Jersey

Driscoll.jpgDriscol_grave.jpg              Driscoll was the 37th governor to join my list. My wife Debbie and I took a leisurely drive through Camden County one Saturday in June of 2010. Driscoll was in the Haddonfield Baptist Churchyard in Haddonfield. It’s a small cemetery on a tree-lined street. He was easy to find. After Driscoll, we than got Governor Cahill in Cherry Hill. The two are not far apart. Afterwards, we drove into Philadelphia for cheesesteak sandwiches at Pat's King of Steaks and then we spent the afternoon in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  

              Alfred Eastlack Driscoll, a Presbyterian, the son of Alfred and Mattie Driscoll, was a very good student. He graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1925, and was awarded an LL.B. degree from Harvard University in 1928. He married Antoinette Ware Tatum and they had three children. After establishing his legal career in Camden, New Jersey, Driscoll, a Republican, entered into local politics. From 1938 to 1941, as a "clean government", he was elected to the New Jersey State Senate; and in 1941 he was named the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner. From here he established a state-wide reputation as a watchdog of a scandal-plagued industry. He was also a member of Governor Walter Edge's administration.

              In 1946, Driscoll ran for governor. He easily defeated fellow Republican and former governor Harold Hoffman for the Republican nomination. He then defeated the Democrat nominee Hudson County judge Lewis Hansen on November 5, 1946 to become the 43rd governor.

Driscol_grave2.jpg              As governor, he was a proponent for the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. When completed, these two major transportation links would transform the agrarian "Garden State" into one of the most densely populated states in the country. The Driscoll Bridge (photo below) on the Garden State Parkway across the Raritan River was named in his honor.

              He was also instrumental in the purchase of Island State Beach Park and for improvements made to Sandy Hook State Park. He ended segregation in public schools and guaranteed the right to collective bargaining for labor unions.

              He gave William J. Brennan his first judicial appointment in 1949. It was a seat on the New Jersey Superior Court. In 1951, Driscoll promoted Brennan to the New Jersey Supreme Court, where he served until appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956.

              When Driscoll was elected in 1946, the term was for three years. During his first term, he was behind getting the state constitution revised, changing the governor's term to a four-year term. In 1949, Driscoll was narrowly re-elected to a second term, defeating Democrat Elmer H. Wene, and would be the first to serve a four-year term. Driscoll served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention  from New Jersey in 1948 and 1952. In 1952, he was considered a potential running mate for Eisenhower (the Republicans choose Richard M. Nixon instead). He was offered positions in the Eisenhower administration but turned them down to be the president of Warner-Hudnut pharmaceutical company (today its part of Pfizer Inc).

After leaving office, Driscoll served as vice chairman of the President's Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, a position he held from 1954 to 1955. He also was president of the National Municipal League from 1963 to 1967, as well as chairing the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the New Jersey Tax Policy Commission from 1969 to 1975. Driscoll died of a heart attack in his home in Haddonfield.


    Driscoll Bridge over the Raritan River - with a total of 15 lanes, it is the widest bridge in the world.

 List of Dead Governors




Robert B. Meyner
44th Governor of New Jersey

Served: January 19, 1954 to January 16, 1962
Born: July 3, 1908 in Easton, Pennsylvania
Died: May 27, 1990 in Phillipsburg, New Jersey
Buried: Phillipsburg Cemetery, Phillipsburg, New Jersey

Meyner_grave.jpgMeyner.jpg              I had a hockey meeting in September of 2002 in Lawrenceville Prep and then had to drive to Blairstown, New Jersey for a school retreat. I decided to drive up along the Delaware River on the Pennsylvania side. I started at Washington's Crossing (site of the famous Christmas night crossing of the Delaware River in 1776) and drove north on Rt. 32. It is an exceptionally scenic drive through small towns like New Hope and along the Delaware Canal. I eventually made it to Easton, Pennsylvania and stopped for lunch. Philipsburg is across the river. After lunch, I drove over and went to the cemetery on Fillmore Street. It was easy enough to find. I didn't know the burial location, but since it is a small cemetery I just walked down the path. Luckily, it was in the back next to the path. I would not have seen it because of the size of the marker, but luckily his parent’s marker was next to his and easily seen. After snapping the photo, I was back on the road to Blairstown.

              After being born in Easton, Pennsylvania, Meyner's family moved to New Jersey. First living in Phillipsburg and then Paterson before returning to settle in Phillipsburg when he was 14. After graduating from Phillipsburg High School in 1926, Lafayette College (with a major in Government and Law), which is across the river in Easton, in 1930 and Columbia Law School in 1933, he began his practice in Hudson County in Union City and Jersey City. Meyner moved back to Phillipsburg three years later to run his own practice and enter politics. He was a lieutenant in the United States Navy during World War II where he saw active duty on board a merchant ship in Europe and represented enlisted men as defense counsel in court martial cases. After the war, he returned to politics. He lost a congressional race in 1946 to the infamous J. Parnell Thomas but won a state senate seat in warren County the following year by defeating Republican Wayne Dumont, Jr. He would eventually rise to be the minority leader. While in the state senate, he cast the only no vote against the creation of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. Despite all of his work, he was defeated for re-election in 1951 by Dumont.

Meyner_Kennedy.jpg              Looking like his career was washed up; Meyner emerged in 1952 as a nomination for the Democratic candidate for governor. He went up against a South Jersey Democrat, Elmer H. Wene. People thought that Meyner being Roman Catholic would work against him. Jersey City's Frank Hague and his dying political machine supported Wene. Jersey City's new political boss, John V. Kenny supported Meyner, which gave him the edge to be nominated. Meyner's battle was still uphill considering that the Republicans held the governor's office for the previous ten years. Meyner faced Republican Paul L. Troast, a former chairman of the Turnpike Authority. During the campaign, Troast was implicated in trying to influence the prison sentence of a convicted labor racketeer and gambler, which swung the election in Meyner's favor.

              As governor, Meyner went against his own party leader's wishes by putting men he thought were best for the job in positions of importance. Despite Republican majorities in both houses of the legislature in his first term and a Republican Senate in his second term, Meyner succeeded in enacting his legislative proposals and building the Democratic Party in New Jersey. Meyner was known for his commitment to an open government, the promotion of rigid law enforcement, and the exposure of crime and corruption. Meyner increased state aid to education (including making Rutgers University a state university), worked to establish the "Green Acres" open space preservation system and oversaw the completion of the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway and the Palisades Interstate Parkway. On July 1, 1955, Meyner became the first person to cross the Paramus toll plaza, effectively opening the 165 miles of the parkway from Cape May to Paramus. Strangely enough, Meyner vetoed the legislature that put New Jersey's nickname, "The Garden State" on the state's license plates. He felt that there was no official recognition of the slogan (the veto was overridden).

Meyner_wife.jpg              Meyner married Helen Day Stevenson, distant cousin of Adlai Stevenson, on January 19, 1957 at Oberlin, Ohio, and the couple moved into the recently refurbished Governor's mansion, Morven, in Princeton, New Jersey. He was known as the "Glamorous Governor of New Jersey". Despite a Republican swing in the country that swept Dwight Eisenhower into The White House the year before; Meyner easily cruised to a re-election victory over Republican Senator Malcolm S. Forbes. He was the first governor in the history of New Jersey to be elected to consecutive four-year terms. 

              Meyner became a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1960 and hoped to gain some national prominence. In the Convention, Meyner gained the spotlight by joining Lyndon B. Johnson and Stuart Symington in an attempt to block the nomination of John F. Kennedy for president. Meyner's refusal to allow his delegation to vote for Kennedy cost New Jersey the honor of being the deciding state. However, in the national election, Meyner ran Kennedy's campaign in New Jersey. After this, his political career began to go downhill.

              After completing his second term in 1962, Meyner returned to private law practice in Newark and Phillipsburg. Meyner won the Democratic nomination for the governorship of New Jersey again in 1969, but lost badly in the general election to Republican William T. Cahill. In 1974, his wife, Helen, was elected to the United States House of Representatives and served two terms. She was defeated for re-election in 1978. 

              It has been said of Meyner, that as governor, he was efficient and economical. He may not have made many changes in New Jersey, but he was a good administrator. He died at the age of 81. His wife died on November 2, 1997, in Captiva Island, Florida, where she lived after the death of her husband. The Reception Center at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel was named after Governor Meyner.

              There is a living legacy to him and his wife, namely, the Robert B. and Helen S. Meyner Center for the Study of State and Local Government at Lafayette College, his alma mater, in Easton, Pennsylvania.  The Meyner's also endowed the Robert B. and Helen S. Meyner Professorship of Government and Public Service at Lafayette College.

The Robert B. and Helen Stevenson Meyner Papers
Congressional Biography of Helen Day Stevenson
Lafayette College
Meyner Center at Lafayette College

List of Dead Governors


Richard J. Hughes
45th Governor of New Jersey

Served: January 15, 1962 to January 18, 1970
Born: August 10, 1909 in Florence Township, New Jersey
Died:  December 7, 1992 in Boca Raton, Florida
Buried: St. Mary's Cemetery, Trenton, New Jersey

Hughes.jpg              Hughes was the 31st governor to join the list. I never knew where he was buried until I looked is obituary up in the library a number of years ago. Debbie and I were driving from an ice rink when we stopped at St. Mary's Cemetery one afternoon to find him. We had no luck and left. On Sunday morning, October 22, 2006, we were at LaSalle University in Philadelphia for a mass for one of the Christian Brothers. On the way home, we drove through Trenton and went back to St. Mary's Cemetery to look again. This time we found him.

              Hughes' father was very active in the Burlington County Democratic Party, even serving as their chairman. After graduating from Cathedral High School in Trenton , Hughes went on to St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia. His first ambition was to be a Catholic priest, but switched to being a lawyer. After passing the bar, he opened an office in Trenton in 1932.

Hughes_grave.jpg              Within a few years, Hughes became involved in the Mercer County Democratic Party. In 1938, he ran for the state senate as a "Roosevelt Democrat" but lost. After the election, he was appointed assistant United States attorney for New Jersey where he went after pro-Nazi organizations in the state. Here he earned the nickname, "the nemesis of Nazi's in New Jersey." After the war, Hughes went back to private practice.

              Hughes was named county court judge from 1948-1952. When William J. Brennen was named to the state Supreme Court, Governor Alfred E. Driscoll named Hughes as his replacement as a superior court judge, which he served until his resignation 1961. Hughes went back to private practice to support his family. His first wife Miriam had died in 1950 leaving him with four children. He re-married in 1954 to Elizabeth Murphy, a widower with three boys of her own.

              As Governor Meyer's second term was coming to an end, the state Democrats choose Hughes as their compromise candidate. He ran against President Dwight D. Eisenhower's former Secretary of Labor James P. Mitchell. New Jersey had never had a Catholic governor, but was assured one now since both candidates, Hughes and Mitchell were Catholic. Mitchell was better known to the people, but Hughes was a better campaigner. In the election on November 7, 1961, Hughes pulled off a major upset when he beat Mitchell by around 35,000 votes.

              In his first term, Hughes wanted to improve the state's operations to meet the needs of its ever increasing population. He wasn't very successful getting support for increased spending for his plans. There were even calls for his resignation. However, Hughes accomplished much during that first term including starting legislature to protect the Meadowlands from development and bringing the 1964 Democratic National Convention to New Jersey for the first time (where they went to Atlantic City).

Hughes_grave2.jpg              Hughes created a Transportation Department, the first state to do so. Hughes urged the creation of a "Central Jersey Expressway System" to improve local and inter-regional access which led to the construction of Interstate 195 connecting Trenton with the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.

              Hughes was instrumental in getting the Port of New York Authority (today the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey) to take-over the Hudson Tubes (operated by the bankrupt Hudson & Manhattan Railroad) between New Jersey and New York City which became the PATH trains. Coupled with the take-over, Hughes, with Governor Rockefeller of New York, negotiated the plans for the building of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.

Hughes_grave3.jpg              His second run for governor in 1965 proved to especially nasty. His Republican opponent, state senator Wayne Dumont, Jr. brought up Hughes veto of a state law requiring school children to salute the flag. He even went so far as to imply that Hughes was committing treason. Hughes responded that Dumont was advocating violation of the Bill of Rights and instigating a process that would lead to "book burnings and concentration camps." Because of the high rhetoric, Hughes got heavy support from the state's liberals. On November 2, 1965, Hughes swept to victory over Dumont by almost 364,000 votes. The Democrats also controlled both houses of the state legislature for the first time since 1914.

              After his plan for a state income tax failed due to a lack of bi-partisan support, he rallied the state behind his sales tax plan. His second term also saw, among many other things, the creation of the Hackensack Meadowlands Commission, the Office of the Public Defender and the start of construction of two new bridges, the Betsy Ross Bridge, across the Delaware River in South Jersey. Hughes pushed legislature that paralleled the enlarged role of the Federal government under President Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" programs of the mid-1960's. His role in the race riots in Newark and Jersey City in 1967 and 1968 has been seen as very controversial.

              In 1968, Hughes headed the New Jersey delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago which nominated Hubert H. Humphrey for president. Hughes was disappointed when the New Jersey went for Richard Nixon in the general election in November. He later pushed the state Democratic Party to complete reforms to make the party stronger. After he left office in 1970, he returned to private practice.

              In 1973, after chief justice Pierre P. Garven of Bayonne died, Governor William T. Cahill named Hughes to replace him as the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court where he served until 1979. Hughes is the only person to have served New Jersey as both Governor and Chief Justice. 13 years later, Hughes died of congestive heart failure at age 83 in Boca Raton, Florida. His wife, Elizabeth, died of cardiac arrest in Boca Raton in 1983.

              The New Jersey Department of Justice Building, which includes the chambers and offices of the State Supreme Court, is named after him. Hughes is the only person to have served New Jersey as both Governor and Chief Justice.

List of Dead Governors


William T. Cahill
46th Governor of New Jersey

Served: January 20, 1970 to January 15, 1974
Born: June 25, 1912 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died:  July 1, 1996 in Haddonfield, New Jersey
Buried: Calvary Cemetery in Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Cahill.jpg              Cahill was the 38th governor to join my list. My wife Debbie and I took a leisurely drive through Camden County one Saturday in June of 2010. We first got Driscoll in the Haddonfield Baptist Churchyard in Haddonfield. We than drove the short distance to Calvary Cemetery, a Catholic cemetery in Cherry Hill. We knew what to look for but it took us about ten minutes to find him. He is buried with his wife and parents. Afterwards, we drove into Philadelphia for cheesesteak sandwiches at Pat's King of Steaks and then we spent the afternoon in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Cahill_grave.jpg              Born in Philadelphia, the son of Irish immigrants, Cahill, a Roman Catholic, moved to New Jersey with his parents in 1919. He was an outstanding baseball and basketball player at Camden Catholic High School. Afterwards, Cahill graduated St. Joseph's College (now Saint Joseph's University) at Philadelphia in 1933. He returned to Camden to study at the Rutgers School of Law - Camden, receiving his law degree in 1937.

               In 1937 and 1938, Cahill was a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1939 he was admitted to the bar and began his political career. He married Elizabeth Myrtetus and had six daughters and two sons. His wife would pass away before him in 1991.

                Living in Collingswood, New Jersey, Cahill was the city prosecutor of Camden, New Jersey in 1944 and 1945, was the first assistant prosecutor of Camden County from 1948-1951 and was a special deputy attorney general of the State of New Jersey in 1951. Cahill was a member of the New Jersey General Assembly from 1951-1953.

                Cahill was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served six consecutive terms until his resignation from his congressional seat to assume his seat as Governor, serving in Congress from January 3, 1959 to January 19, 1970. While there he served on the Judiciary Committee.

Cahill_grave2.jpg                Cahill was elected governor in 1969 defeating former-governor Robert B. Meyner by more than a half-million votes. He served as Governor for one term. As governor, he was instrumental in persuading the New York Giants to leave Yankee Stadium and play football in a stadium to be built in the Hackensack Meadowlands. He also successfully pushed for a state lottery.

                He lost a battle to impose a state income tax. He went directly to the voters with a proposal for the tax, which had been recommended by a commission he had appointed. However, the voters were not ready and the bill was defeated. The tax was approved four years later.

               On Thanksgiving Day 1971, a riot at Rahway State Prison was quelled without bloodshed. Cahill was praised for his leadership during the crisis, which occurred just two months after the bloody Attica prison uprising in New York state.

               Cahill was viewed as such a successful governor and formidable vote-getter (labor leaders seemed comfortable with his politics, and he did better than many Republicans among blue-collar workers) that some liberal Republicans suggested him as a running mate for President Richard M. Nixon in 1972.

               In the 1969 campaign, he had pledged to fight corruption and organized crime and erase New Jersey's reputation as a swampland of shabby politics. In his inaugural address, he vowed to "search out the corrupters and the corrupt, wherever they exist." Unfortunately for Cahill, they existed right under his nose. Cahill never was involved in the corruption but many of his closest political friends were. This, along with opposition to his tax proposals, would end his political career.

               He ran for re-election in 1973 but was challenged in the Republican primary election by then-Congressman Charles Sandman. Cahill, viewed as a moderate Republican, was defeated by the more conservative Sandman. Cahill became the first incumbent governor in New Jersey history to be denied re-nomination by his party. Sandman would lose to Democrat Brendan T. Byrne in the general election. During his final months as governor, Cahill named his predecessor, Richard J. Hughes, a Democrat, as chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

               After his term as governor, Cahill was a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University from 1974-1978. He died at age 84 of peripheral vascular disease in his daughter's house in Haddonfield.  His funeral was held in Christ the King Roman Catholic Church in Haddonfield. The William T. Cahill Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services at Ramapo College in Mahwah was dedicated in his honor on September 10, 1997.


List of Dead Governors


Pick Time Periods

Pre-Civil War: 1776 to 1860

Civil War and After: 1861 to 1899

Dead Governors - Main Page






This website created and maintained by Frank McGady
Frank & Debbie's Homepage

You are visitor number:
Hit Counter
Hit Counter
since August 15, 2002.
Thanks for stopping by!

E-mail me with any comments, questions or corrections you might have