Eugene Foss

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Eugene Foss
Governor Foss.png
45th Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 4, 1911 – January 8, 1914
Lieutenant Louis A. Frothingham
Robert Luce
David I. Walsh
Preceded by Eben Sumner Draper
Succeeded by David I. Walsh
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 14th district
In office
March 22, 1910 – January 4, 1911
Preceded by William C. Lovering
Succeeded by Robert O. Harris
Personal details
Born (1858-09-24)September 24, 1858
St. Albans, Vermont
Died September 13, 1939(1939-09-13) (aged 80)
Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts
Political party Republican
Democratic (1909-1914)
Children Esther Foss Moore

Eugene Noble Foss (September 24, 1858 – September 13, 1939), was an American Representative and the 45th Governor of Massachusetts, as well as brother of George Edmund Foss.

Early years and business[edit]

Eugene Noble Foss was born on September 24, 1858, to George Edmund Foss and Marcia (Noble) Foss in West Berkshire, Vermont, a small town near the Canadian border. Foss's father was a politically active manager at the St. Albans Manufacturing Company. The family moved to St. Albans when he was ten. Foss was educated in local schools, and then attended Franklin County Academy before enrolling in the University of Vermont. He left the university after two years to pursue business interests.

Foss first worked as a traveling salesman, selling lumber-drying technology developed at his father's company to companies further west. He was also retained by the B. F. Sturtevant Company of Boston to sell its mill-related equipment. His success in this role prompted Benjamin F. Sturtevant, the latter company's owner, to offer Foss a management job at Boston facilities in 1882. The company, which started out producing industrial ventilation equipment, diversified into other industrial equipment. Foss married Sturtevant's daughter Lilla on June 12, 1884, and became the company president after his father-in-law died in 1890. Under Foss's stewardship the company expanded, opening offices in other countries. He resigned as president in 1909 to pursue political activities.

Political career[edit]

Foss was politically a Republican for many years, but was an advocate of reciprocity (the lowering of tariffs with neighboring Canada), which many Republicans opposed. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1902 and 1904, and failed in a bid for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in 1906. In 1909 he bolted the Republican Party and became a Democrat. He was elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-first United States Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William C. Lovering and served from March 22, 1910 until his resignation, effective January 4, 1911, having been elected Governor of Massachusetts. He served from 1911 to 1914.

He denied clemency for Clarence Richeson for the sensationalized murder of Avis Linell.

By 1913 Foss' anti-labor policies had thoroughly disenchanted the state Democratic leadership, and Lieutenant Governor David I. Walsh announced that he would challenge Foss for the Democratic nomination. Foss received no support from the party, but was offered (and declined) the opportunity to contest for the Bull Moose Party nomination. He eventually took out papers for the Republican nomination, but failed to qualify for the primary ballot, and ended up running in the general election as an independent. It was a Democratic landslide, and Foss trailed far behind the other three candidates.

Afterwards Foss resumed his former manufacturing pursuits and managed his large real estate holdings in Boston. He died in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts on September 13, 1939 and is interred in Forest Hills Cemetery.

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William C. Lovering
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts district 14
March 22, 1910 – January 4, 1911
Succeeded by
Robert O. Harris
Political offices
Preceded by
Eben Sumner Draper
Governor of Massachusetts
1911–1914
Succeeded by
David I. Walsh