List of Governors of Rhode Island

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This article is about governors of the state of Rhode Island. For a list of colonial governors of Rhode Island, see List of colonial governors of Rhode Island.
Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Seal of the Governor of Rhode Island.svg
Standard of the Governor of Rhode Island.svg
Lincoln Chafee official portrait.jpg
Incumbent
Lincoln Chafee

since January 4, 2011
Style The Honorable or His Excellency
Term length Four years, renewable once[1]
Inaugural holder Nicholas Cooke; 1775
Formation Constitution of Rhode Island
Succession Every four years, unless re-elected.

Party affiliation[edit]

Number of Governors of Rhode Island by party affiliation[2]
Party Governors
Republican 32
Democratic 21
Democratic-Republican 4
Whig 4
Country 3
No Affiliation 3
Law and Order 2
Dorr Rebellion 1
Federalist 1
Know Nothing 1
Rhode Island Party 1
Independent 1

Colonial Rhode Island 1640-1775[edit]

List of Rhode Island Governors 1775-present[edit]

Parties

      Country       Democratic       Federalist       Democratic-Republican       Dorr Rebellion       No party       Whig       Law and Order       Republican       Know Nothing       Rhode Island Party

# Governor Picture Party Took office Left office Notes
1 Nicholas Cooke NicholasCooke.cropped.jpg None November 7, 1775 May 4, 1778
2 William Greene None May 4, 1778 May 3, 1786
3 John Collins None May 3, 1786 May 5, 1790
4 Arthur Fenner ArthurFenner.jpg Country Party May 5, 1790 October 15, 1805
5 Henry Smith Country October 15, 1805 May 7, 1806
6 Isaac Wilbour Country May 7, 1806 May 6, 1807
7 James Fenner GovJamesFenner.jpg Democratic-Republican May 6, 1807 May 1, 1811
8 William Jones GovWilliamJonesRI.jpg Federalist May 1, 1811 May 7, 1817
9 Nehemiah R. Knight NRKnight.jpg Democratic-Republican May 7, 1817 May 2, 1821
10 William C. Gibbs William Channing Gibbs.jpg Democratic-Republican May 2, 1821 May 5, 1824
11 James Fenner GovJamesFenner.jpg Democratic-Republican May 5, 1824 May 4, 1831
12 Lemuel H. Arnold LemuelArnold.jpg Whig May 4, 1831 May 1, 1833
13 John B. Francis JBFrancis.jpg Democratic May 1, 1833 May 2, 1838
14 William Sprague III William Sprague 1799 1856.jpg Democratic May 2, 1838 May 2, 1839
15 Samuel Ward King GovSamuelKingRI.jpg Rhode Island Party May 2, 1839 May 2, 1843
16 Thomas Dorr Thomas W Dorr.jpg extralegal, Dorr Rebellion May 1, 1842 January 23, 1843
17 James Fenner GovJamesFenner.jpg Law and Order May 2, 1843 May 6, 1845
18 Charles Jackson Charles Jackson Governor.jpg Know Nothing May 6, 1845 May 6, 1846
19 Byron Diman ByronDiman.jpg Law and Order May 6, 1846 May 4, 1847
20 Elisha Harris Elisha Harris.jpg Whig May 4, 1847 May 1, 1849
21 Henry B. Anthony Henry B. Anthony - Brady-Handy.jpg Whig May 1, 1849 May 6, 1851
22 Philip Allen Philip Allen (politician).jpg Democratic May 6, 1851 July 20, 1853
23 Francis M. Dimond FrancisDimond.jpg Democratic July 20, 1853 May 2, 1854
24 William W. Hoppin William Warner Hoppin.jpg Whig May 2, 1854 May 26, 1857
25 Elisha Dyer Dyersr.jpg Republican May 26, 1857 May 31, 1859
26 Thomas G. Turner GovThomasGTurnerRI.jpg Republican May 31, 1859 May 29, 1860
27 William Sprague IV William Sprague 1830-1915 - Brady-Handy.jpg Republican May 29, 1860 March 3, 1863
28 William C. Cozzens William C. Cozzens.jpg Democratic March 3, 1863 May 26, 1863
29 James Y. Smith GovJamesYSmithRI.jpg Republican May 26, 1863 May 29, 1866
30 Ambrose Everett Burnside Ambrose Burnside2.jpg Republican May 29, 1866 May 25, 1869
31 Seth Padelford SethPadelford.jpg Republican May 25, 1869 May 27, 1873
32 Henry Howard GovHenryHowardRI.jpg Republican May 27, 1873 May 25, 1875
33 Henry Lippitt Henry Lippitt Governor.jpg Republican May 25, 1875 May 29, 1877
34 Charles C. Van Zandt CharlesVanZandt.jpg Republican May 29, 1877 May 25, 1880
35 Alfred H. Littlefield Alfred Henry Littlefield.jpg Republican May 25, 1880 May 29, 1883
36 Augustus O. Bourn AugustusBourn.jpg Republican May 29, 1883 May 26, 1885
37 George P. Wetmore George Wetmore.jpg Republican May 26, 1885 May 29, 1887
38 John W. Davis John William Davis Rhode Island.jpg Democratic May 29, 1887 May 29, 1888
39 Royal C. Taft RoyalTaft.jpg Republican May 29, 1888 May 28, 1889
40 Herbert W. Ladd GovHerbertLadd.jpg Republican May 28, 1889 May 27, 1890
41 John W. Davis John William Davis Rhode Island.jpg Democratic May 27, 1890 May 26, 1891
42 Herbert W. Ladd GovHerbertLadd.jpg Republican May 26, 1891 May 31, 1892
43 D. Russell Brown D. Russell Brown.jpg Republican May 31, 1892 May 29, 1895
44 Charles W. Lippitt CharlesWLippitt.jpg Republican May 29, 1895 May 25, 1897
45 Elisha Dyer, Jr. Dyerjr.jpg Republican May 25, 1897 May 29, 1900
46 William Gregory GovWilliamGregoryRI.jpg Republican May 29, 1900 December 16, 1901
47 Charles D. Kimball CharlesKimball.jpg Republican December 16, 1901 January 3, 1903
48 Lucius F. C. Garvin LuciusGarvin.jpg Democratic January 3, 1903 January 3, 1905
49 George H. Utter GeorgeHUtter.jpg Republican January 3, 1905 January 1, 1907
50 James H. Higgins JamesHiggins.jpg Democratic January 1, 1907 January 5, 1909
51 Aram J. Pothier AramPothier.jpg Republican January 5, 1909 January 5, 1915
52 R. Livingston Beeckman RLivingstonBeeckman.jpg Republican January 5, 1915 January 4, 1921
53 Emery J. San Souci EmerySanSouci.jpg Republican January 4, 1921 January 2, 1923
54 William S. Flynn William Smith Flynn.jpg Democratic January 2, 1923 January 6, 1925
55 Aram J. Pothier AramPothier.jpg Republican January 6, 1925 February 4, 1928
56 Norman S. Case Norman S. Case 1939.jpg Republican February 4, 1928 January 3, 1933
57 Theodore Francis Green Theodore Francis GREEN.jpg Democratic January 3, 1933 January 5, 1937
58 Robert E. Quinn RobertEQuinn.jpg Democratic January 5, 1937 January 3, 1939
59 William Henry Vanderbilt III William H. Vanderbilt III.png Republican January 3, 1939 January 7, 1941
60 J. Howard McGrath JHMcGrath.jpg Democratic January 7, 1941 October 6, 1945
61 John Orlando Pastore John O. Pastore.jpeg Democratic October 6, 1945 December 19, 1950
62 John S. McKiernan Democratic December 19, 1950 January 2, 1951
63 Dennis J. Roberts Democratic January 2, 1951 January 6, 1959
64 Christopher Del Sesto Christopher Del Sesto.jpg Republican January 6, 1959 January 3, 1961
65 John A. Notte, Jr. Democratic January 3, 1961 January 1, 1963
66 John Hubbard Chafee John Chafee.jpg Republican January 1, 1963 January 7, 1969
67 Frank Licht Democratic January 7, 1969 January 2, 1973
68 Philip W. Noel Democratic January 2, 1973 January 4, 1977
69 J. Joseph Garrahy Democratic January 4, 1977 January 1, 1985
70 Edward D. DiPrete Republican January 1, 1985 January 1, 1991
71 Bruce Sundlun Bruce Sundlun.jpg Democratic January 1, 1991 January 3, 1995
72 Lincoln C. Almond Lincoln Almond.jpg Republican January 3, 1995 January 7, 2003
73 Donald Carcieri Donald Carcieri.jpg Republican January 7, 2003 January 4, 2011
74 Lincoln Chafee Lincoln Chafee official portrait.jpg Independent January 4, 2011 May 30, 2013[a]
Democratic May 30, 2013[a] Incumbent [3]

a Chafee served in prior offices as a Republican, but ran for Governor as an independent. While in office, he switched his party affiliation to Democratic on May 30, 2013.[4]

Other high offices held[edit]

This is a table of congressional seats, other federal offices, and other governorships held by governors. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Rhode Island except where noted. * denotes those offices which the governor resigned to take.

Governor Gubernatorial term U.S. Congress Other offices held
House Senate
Isaac Wilbour 1806–1807 H
James Fenner 1807–1811
1824–1831
1843–1845
S
Nehemiah R. Knight 1817–1821 S
Lemuel H. Arnold 1831–1833 H
John Brown Francis 1833–1838 S
William Sprague III 1838–1839 H S
Henry B. Anthony 1849–1851 S
Philip Allen 1851–1853 S*
William Sprague IV 1860–1863 S
Ambrose Burnside 1866–1869 S
George P. Wetmore 1885–1887 S
George H. Utter 1905–1907 H
Theodore F. Green 1933–1937 S
J. Howard McGrath 1941–1945 S United States Solicitor General*; United States Attorney General
John O. Pastore 1945–1950 S*
John Chafee 1963–1969 S United States Secretary of the Navy
Lincoln Chafee 2011–present S

Living former governors[edit]

As of August 2014, four former governors were alive, the oldest being Philip W. Noel (1973–1977, born 1931). The most recent governor to die was J. Joseph Garrahy (1977-1985) who died on January 24, 2012. The most recently serving governor to die was Bruce Sundlun (1991–1995), on July 21, 2011.

Governor Gubernatorial term Date of birth
Philip W. Noel 1973–1977 (1931-06-05) June 5, 1931 (age 83)
Edward D. DiPrete 1985–1991 (1934-07-08) July 8, 1934 (age 80)
Lincoln C. Almond 1995–2003 (1936-06-16) June 16, 1936 (age 78)
Donald Carcieri 2003–2011 (1942-12-16) December 16, 1942 (age 71)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Governors of Rhode Island served two-year terms prior to 1994.
  2. ^ Table does not include governors from the colonial period, when there were no organized parties in Rhode Island, and governors were generally appointed rather than elected. It also does not include acting governors.
  3. ^ Governor Chafee's first term expires on January 6, 2015; he is not yet term limited.
  4. ^ Burns, Alexander (May 29, 2013). "Lincoln Chafee switches affiliation to Democrat". Politico. Retrieved 2013-05-30.