Cyrus G. Luce

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Cyrus Luce
Cyrus Luce.jpg
21st Governor of Michigan
In office
January 1, 1887 – January 1, 1891
Lieutenant James H. MacDonald
William Ball
Preceded by Russell Alger
Succeeded by Edwin B. Winans
Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born (1824-07-02)July 2, 1824
Windsor, Ohio
Died March 18, 1905(1905-03-18) (aged 80)
Coldwater, Michigan
Resting place Oak Grove Cemetery
Coldwater, Michigan
Political party Whig Party
Republican Party
Spouse(s) Julia A. Dickinson
Mary Thompson
Profession Politician

Cyrus Gray Luce (July 2, 1824 – March 18, 1905) was an American politician in the U.S. state of Michigan. He served as the 21st Governor of the US state of Michigan.

Early life in Ohio and Indiana[edit]

Luce was born in Windsor, Ashtabula County, Ohio. His father, a veteran of the War of 1812 from Tolland, Connecticut, settled in the Connecticut Western Reserve after the war. When he was twelve years old, Luce moved west with his family to Steuben County, Indiana. After leaving school at seventeen, Luce worked from 1841 until 1848 in a woolen mill, carding wool and dressing the unfinished cloth for sale.

Life and Politics in Michigan[edit]

In 1848, Luce was a Whig Party candidate for the Indiana House of Representatives for the district including Steuben and DeKalb counties. He lost a close election, and in the same year he purchased 80 acres (320,000 m2) of uncultivated land near Gilead, Michigan in Branch County not far from the Indiana state line.

Luce cleared the land for farming and in 1849 married Julia A. Dickinson of Gilead. Over time he expanded his landholdings with additional purchases. He became an active member of the Grange in 1874, and remained active in the organization for many years afterwards.

In 1852, he was elected to represent Gilead Township on the Branch County Board of Supervisors. In 1854, he was elected as a candidate of the newly formed Republican party to the Michigan State House of Representatives, serving from 1855 to 1856. He was elected Branch County Treasurer in 1858 and again in 1860. In 1864, he was named to fill a seat in the Michigan Senate and was re-elected in 1866. In July, 1879, Luce was appointed State Oil Inspector by Governor Charles Croswell, and re-appointed by Gov. David Jerome in 1881.

His first wife Julia died in August 1882, and Luce married Mary Thompson of Bronson, Michigan in November 1883.

Running as a Republican party candidate, Luce was elected Governor of Michigan in November 1886, defeating George L. Yaple, taking office on January 1, 1887. He was reelected in 1888 and served two two-year terms. During his tenure, the position of state game warden was established and a local liquor option law was sanctioned.

Death and legacy[edit]

Luce died at the age of 80 in Coldwater, Michigan,[1] and is interred in Oak Grove Cemetery adjacent to that municipality.

Luce County, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is named for Luce.[2] He was the last governor of the state to have a county named in his honor. His administration was marked by rapid population growth and development in northern Michigan, led by the lumber industry. A state landmark, the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, was built in 1887 during his administration.


  1. ^ Michigan. Legislature, and Ellsworth, Fannie (1905). In Memory of Hon. Cyrus Gray Luce: Ex-governor of the State of Michigan : Proceedings of the Senate and the House of Representatives : Biographical Sketch by Mrs. Fannie E. Newberry. authority of the Legislature. p. 73. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 191. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Russell A. Alger
Governor of Michigan
Succeeded by
Edwin B. Winans