George C. Peery

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George Peery
GeorgeCPeery.jpg
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
November 16, 1936 – September 14, 1937
Preceded by Paul V. McNutt
Succeeded by Robert Leroy Cochran
52nd Governor of Virginia
In office
January 18, 1934 – January 15, 1938
Preceded by John Pollard
Succeeded by James Price
Member of the State Corporation Commission
In office
November 29, 1929 – April 17, 1933
Preceded by Louis S. Epes
Succeeded by Thomas W. Ozlin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 9th district
In office
March 4, 1923 – March 4, 1929
Preceded by C. Bascom Slemp
Succeeded by Joseph Shaffer
Personal details
Born George Campbell Peery
(1873-10-28)October 28, 1873
Cedar Bluff, Virginia, U.S.
Died October 14, 1952(1952-10-14) (aged 78)
Richlands, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Nancy Bane Gillespie
Children 3
Education Emory and Henry College (BA)
Washington and Lee University (LLB)

George Campbell Peery (October 28, 1873 – October 14, 1952) was an American Democratic politician, and was the 52nd governor of Virginia from 1934 to 1938. He became the second governor to be selected, at least partially, by the soon to be very powerful "Byrd Organization", led by Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Peery was born in Cedar Bluff, in Tazewell County, Virginia, in the far southwest portion of the state. His father Dr. James Peery, has been a surgeon in Derrick's Battalion of the Confederate States Army. He attended local schools while working on his father's farm and at the family store as well as the Tazewell County Clerk's office. He graduated from Emory & Henry College in 1894, winning medals in oratory and science. Peery then became principal of Tazewell High School for two years, before resigning and trveling to earn his Juris Doctorate degree from Washington & Lee University in 1897 after a single year's study.

In 1907 he married Nancy Bane Gillespie, daughter of a prominent Tzewell attorney, Albert P. Gillespie, and they would have three children.

Career[edit]

Peery then returned to Southwestern Virginia to practice law, first setting up a practice in Tazewell, but after two years moving across the mountains to Wise, Virginia. he returned to Tazewell in 1915 to settle his father in law's estate and soon joined Gillespie's former partners A.C. Buchanan and Archibald C. Chapman to form Chapman, Peery and Buchanan. he also began political involvement, chosen as Democratic elector at large on teh Wilson-marshall ticket in 1916 and in 1920 became chairman of the Ninth District Democratic committee.[2]

Peery was elected to the Congress, representing the 9th Congressional district of Virginia in 1922. His victory was considered an early test of the Byrd Organization. Peery served from 1923 to 1929, and was a delegate to the Democratic Nation Convention in 1920 and 1924.

Peery resigned in 1929 to become a member of the State Corporation Commission, serving from 1929 to 1933. Then newly elected Senator Byrd approached him to run for governor in 1933. Peery accepted, and won the November election.

As governor, he created unemployment insurance and, after the repeal of prohibition, he created Virginia's Alcohol Beverage Control board. In 1936, Governor Peery signed into law the act that created the Virginia State Parks.

After his retirement as governor, Peery joined the board of trustees of both Washington and Lee University and Hollins College.

Peery died in 1952, at the age of 78, two weeks short of his 79th birthday, in Richlands, Virginia. He was buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Tazewell, Virginia.

Electoral history[edit]

1933; Peery was elected Governor of Virginia with 73.74% of the vote, defeating Republican Fred W. McWane, Prohibitionist Andrew J. Dunning, Jr., Socialist George C. White, and Independents John Moffett Robinson and W. A. Rowe.

Date Election Candidate Party Votes  %
U.S. House of Representatives, Virginia's 9th district
Nov 7, 1922[3] General George C. Peery Democratic 32,163 52.39
John H. Hassinger Republican 29,227 47.61
C. Bascom Slemp did not seek reelection; seat turned Democratic
Nov 4, 1924[4] General George C. Peery (inc.) Democratic 31,407 52.57
C. Henry Harman Republican 28,341 47.43
Nov 2, 1926[5] General George C. Peery (inc.) Democratic 28,305 53.42
S. R. Hurley Republican 24,684 46.58
Governor of Virginia
Nov 7, 1933[6] General George C. Peery Democratic 122,820 73.74
Fred W. McWane Republican 40,377 24.24
Andrew J. Dunning, Jr. Prohibition 1,112 0.67
George C. White Socialist 1,107 0.66
John Moffett Robinson Independent 877 0.53
W. A. Rowe Independent 274 0.16
John G. Pollard unable to seek reelection; seat stayed Democratic

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joseph A. Fry, "George C. Peery; Byrd Regular and Depression Governor" in Younger and Moore (eds), The Governors of Virginia 1860-1978 (Charlottesville, University Press of Virginia 1978) p. 261
  2. ^ Fry p. 263
  3. ^ "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 1922" (PDF). Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved June 7, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Statistics of the Congressional and Presidential Election of November 4, 1924" (PDF). Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved June 7, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 1926" (PDF). Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved June 7, 2016. 
  6. ^ "1933 Governor General Election". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved June 6, 2016. 

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
C. Bascom Slemp
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 9th congressional district

1923–1929
Succeeded by
Joseph Shaffer
Political offices
Preceded by
Louis S. Epes
Member of the State Corporation Commission
1929–1933
Succeeded by
Thomas W. Ozlin
Preceded by
John Pollard
Governor of Virginia
1934–1938
Succeeded by
James Price
Preceded by
Paul V. McNutt
Chair of the National Governors Association
1936–1937
Succeeded by
Robert Leroy Cochran
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Pollard
Democratic nominee for Governor of Virginia
1933
Succeeded by
James Price