Elias M. Ammons

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Elias M. Ammons
Elias Ammons.gif
19th Governor of Colorado
In office
January 14, 1913 – January 12, 1915
LieutenantStephen R. Fitzgarrald
Preceded byJohn F. Shafroth
Succeeded byGeorge A. Carlson
Member of the Colorado Senate
In office
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Elias Milton Ammons

(1860-07-28)July 28, 1860
Macon County, North Carolina
DiedMay 20, 1925(1925-05-20) (aged 64)
Denver, Colorado
Political partyDemocratic

Elias Milton Ammons (July 28, 1860 – May 20, 1925) served as the 19th Governor of Colorado from 1913 to 1915. Born in 1860 in Macon County, North Carolina, he is perhaps best remembered for ordering National Guard troops into Ludlow, Colorado during the Colorado Coalfield War, which resulted in the Ludlow Massacre. He was also instrumental in starting the National Western Stock Show, which is still active. His son Teller Ammons was also governor of Colorado. He died in Denver, Colorado in 1925 and was buried in Fairmount Cemetery in Denver.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Macon County, North Carolina on a sheep farm to parents Jehu R. and Margaret Ammons.[1] His father was a baptist minister and his mother was descended from the Pennsylvania Dutch.[2] At age 26 (1886) he moved to Colorado and started in the cattle business.[3] His sister Theodosia Grace Ammons was on the faculty at Colorado State University, and president of the Colorado Equal Suffrage Association.[4]


He served as a Republican member of the Colorado House of Representatives from Douglas County from 1890 to 1896, serving as speaker from 1894 to 1896, and then, after becoming a Democrat, served in the Colorado State Senate from 1898 to 1902.[5][6] Ammons publicly debated Gifford Pinchot, chief of the United States Department of Agriculture's Division of Forestry and head of the federal government's conservation movement, three times between 1901 and 1909.[7]


Ammons was elected Governor of Colorado in November 1912 after running as a Democrat.[6] Ammons was elected on an anti-conservation platform and was against federal control of Colorado lands.[8] He believed strongly in the sovereignty of the states and worried that the federal government was encroaching on the political independence of Colorado. Further, he was concerned that federal land reservation would stunt Colorado's economic growth.[7]

While Governor, Ammons was accused of favoring the mine owners in a strike at many coalmines in the state lasting from 1913-1914.[9]

Ammons left office on January 12, 1915, and retired from public service.[6]


  1. ^ Monnett, J. H.; McCarthy, M. (1996). Colorado Profiles: Men and Women Who Shaped the Centennial State. Niwot, Colorado: University of Colorado Press. p. 227. ISBN 0870814397.
  2. ^ Sanford, Albert B. (March 1937). "Memories of Elias M. Ammons". Colorado Magazine. 14: 48.
  3. ^ Bowman, John S. The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995) p. 15
  4. ^ Helen Marsh Wixson, "Equal Suffrage in Colorado" The Era (October 1902): 409.
  5. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum. "Index to Politicians: Amesbury to Andersen-wyckoff". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  6. ^ a b c "Elias Milton Ammons". National Governors Association. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  7. ^ a b McCarthy, G. Michael (January 1977). "Insurgency in Colorado: Elias Ammons and the Anticonservation Impulse". Colorado Magazine. 54: 28.
  8. ^ Mehls, Steven F. (1982). The Valley of Opportunity: A History of West-Central Colorado. Denver, Colorado: Bureau of Land Management, Colorado State Office. p. 191.
  9. ^ Bowman. Dictionary of American Biography. p. 15

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
John F. Shafroth
Governor of Colorado
Succeeded by
George Alfred Carlson