George L. Shoup

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George Shoup
United States Senator
from Idaho
In office
December 18, 1890 – March 3, 1901
Preceded by (none)
Succeeded by Fred Dubois
1st Governor of Idaho
In office
October 1, 1890 – December 18, 1890
Lieutenant N. B. Willey
Preceded by himself
(Governor of Idaho Territory)
Succeeded by N. B. Willey
12th Governor of Idaho Territory
In office
April 30, 1889 – July 3, 1890
President Benjamin Harrison
Preceded by Edward A. Stevenson
Succeeded by himself
(as Governor of Idaho)
Personal details
Born (1836-06-15)June 15, 1836
Kittanning, Pennsylvania
Died December 21, 1904(1904-12-21) (aged 68)
Boise, Idaho
Resting place Pioneer Cemetery, Boise
Nationality United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Magdalena "Lena" Darnutzer Shoup (1844–1927)
(m. 1868–1904, his death)
Children 3 sons, 3 daughters [1]
Residence Salmon, Boise
Profession Miner, merchant, rancher
Military service
Allegiance Union
Service/branch Union Army
Years of service 1861–1864 [2]
Rank Union Army colonel rank insignia.png Colonel
Unit 3rd Colorado Cavalry
Battles/wars American Civil War
Indian Wars

George Laird Shoup (June 15, 1836 – December 21, 1904) was the first Governor of Idaho, and also its last territorial governor. He served several months after statehood in 1890 and then became one of the state's first United States Senators.[1][2][3]


Lena Shoup
Laura and Margaret Shoup

Born in western Pennsylvania at Kittanning, northeast of Pittsburgh, Shoup was educated in the public school system.[1] He moved to Galesburg, Illinois, in 1852 and farmed with his father. He married Magdelena "Lena" Darnutzer of Iowa on June 15, 1868, and they had three sons and three daughters, Lena, Laura and Margaret.[1][2]


After being devastated financially in the Panic of 1857, Shoup moved to Colorado Territory in 1859 to engage in mining and merchandising near Pikes Peak and later in Denver.

During the Civil War he enlisted with the independent scouts working in New Mexico Territory, Colorado Territory, and Texas. Shoup was commissioned as a second lieutenant when the Third Colorado Cavalry was formed in 1861 and was mustered out as a colonel in December 1864.[2] He took part in the Battle of Apache Canyon in New Mexico Territory during the Civil War and the Sand Creek massacre during the Colorado War.[4]

After the war, Shoup moved to Virginia City, Montana Territory, and then settled across the continental divide in Salmon,[5] a city in Idaho Territory that he helped found.[3] He owned general merchandise stores in both locations. Shoup was appointed commissioner to organize Lemhi County, and in 1874 he was elected to the territorial legislature. With few interruptions, he served on the Republican National Committee for Idaho from 1880 to 1904.[1]

In April 1889, President Benjamin Harrison appointed Shoup governor of Idaho Territory, a position he held until July 1890, when Idaho became a state and Idaho Territory ceased to exist.[6] Shoup was elected the state's first governor in October. He served as governor of the new state for only a few weeks. In November 1890 the Idaho Legislature elected him to the U.S. Senate. Shoup resigned as governor in December to take his Senate seat and was succeeded by lieutenant governor N. B. Willey.

In the U.S. Senate for over a decade, from 1890 to 1901,[7] Shoup had many interests, including pensions, education, and military affairs. He was chairman of the Committee on Territories. In that position he advocated liberal and just treatment of the Native Americans. Shoup was reelected to a full six-year term in the Senate by the state legislature in January 1895, but was defeated in January 1901 by Democrat Fred Dubois,[8][9] and retired from public life and resided in Boise.[1]

Two years later at age 66, Shoup made a final attempt to return to the U.S. Senate, but bowed out of the four-man race for the Republican nomination in the legislature in January 1903.[10][11] He gave his support to fellow Pennsylvania native Weldon Heyburn of the Silver Valley, who defeated Boise attorney William Borah for the nomination and Democrat James Hawley of Boise for the seat.[12][13][14] Four years later, Borah easily won the other U.S. Senate seat,[15][16][17] and served for nearly 33 years.


Shoup died in Boise at age 68 on December 21, 1904, and was given a state funeral in Idaho.[1][18] He is interred in Boise's Pioneer Cemetery, alongside his wife Lena, who died at Salmon in 1927.[19][20]


George Shoup (NSHC)

In 1910, the state of Idaho donated a marble statue of Shoup to the National Statuary Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol.[2][3][21][22][23] It was joined by a statue of Senator Borah (1865–1940) in 1947.[24]

The unincorporated community of Shoup on the Salmon River, northwest and downstream of Salmon, was named for him in 1882.[25][26] During World War II, a Liberty ship named S.S. George L. Shoup (hull #2004) was launched at the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation in Portland in May 1943.[27] A new men's dormitory at the University of Idaho in Moscow was named for him in 1958.[28][29][30][31]

Earlier that year, Shoup's papers were given to the university, having been gathered by his son William and presented by his grandson, G. Elmo Shoup of Salmon.[2][32][33]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "George L. Shoup passes away". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. December 22, 1904. p. 2. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "George L. Shoup". University of Idaho Library. Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Baily, Joe, Jr. (February 26, 1950). "Giant of the early West". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. This Week section. p. 7. 
  4. ^ Page 148 and pages 162 and 163, Life of George Bent: Written From His Letters, by George E. Hyde, edited by Savoie Lottinville, University of Oklahoma Press (1968), hardcover, 390 pages; trade paperback, 280 pages (March 1983) ISBN 0-8061-1577-7 ISBN 978-0806115771
  5. ^ "Masonic temple to be preserved as monument". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. (photo). September 27, 1939. p. 10. 
  6. ^ "George L. Shoup". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 14, 2012. 
  7. ^ "George L. Shoup". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved September 14, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Dubois lands the prize". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. January 16, 1901. p. 1. 
  9. ^ "Dubois chosen on first ballot". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. January 16, 1901. p. 1. 
  10. ^ "Caucus tonight on Senator". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. January 7, 1903. p. 1. 
  11. ^ "Heyburn to be Senator from Idaho". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. January 9, 1903. p. 1. 
  12. ^ "Elect Heyburn U.S. Senator". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. January 14, 1903. p. 3. 
  13. ^ "Weldon Brinton Heyburn, 1852-1912, Papers, 1889-1911". University of Idaho Library. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  14. ^ "How Heyburn got it". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. January 17, 1903. p. 4. 
  15. ^ "Borah wins long fight". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. January 16, 1907. p. 3. 
  16. ^ "Joint session ratifies Borah". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. January 17, 1907. p. 1. 
  17. ^ "Idaho bestows toga on Borah". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. January 18, 1907. p. 1. 
  18. ^ "Veterans' tribute to Shoup". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. December 29, 1904. p. 4. 
  19. ^ "Mrs. George L. Shoup dead". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. Associated Press. June 19, 1927. p. 1. 
  20. ^ "She dwelt in Idaho for 60 years". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. June 21, 1927. p. 4. 
  21. ^ "Plan statue to Shoup". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. July 17, 1907. p. 1. 
  22. ^ "Idaho honors pioneer". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. August 1, 1909. p. 8. 
  23. ^ "Idaho's tribute to Geo. L. Shoup". Deseret News. Salt Lake City, Utah. January 21, 1910. p. 9. 
  24. ^ "Statue of Borah unveiled today". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. June 6, 1947. p. 1. 
  25. ^ Barrette, Keith (November 23, 1958). "Historic town has new owner". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 20. 
  26. ^ "Shoup and Ulysses" (PDF). Idaho State Historical Society. Reference Series #386. 1980. Retrieved October 14, 2015. 
  27. ^ "New ship named for first governor of Idaho". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. May 3, 1943. p. 2. 
  28. ^ "Hansen & Parr bid low on repair of Gault Hall". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. July 2, 1957. p. 6. 
  29. ^ "Work started on Shoup Hall". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. November 30, 1957. p. 5. 
  30. ^ "Dorm to open". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. (photo). August 14, 1958. p. b3. 
  31. ^ "Shoup Hall". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1959. p. 167. 
  32. ^ "First governor's papers given Idaho". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. January 11, 1958. p. 6. 
  33. ^ "Gift rich in lore of Idaho's past". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. January 13, 1958. p. 6. 

External links[edit]

United States Congress. "SHOUP, George Laird (id: S000382)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. 

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Idaho
Served alongside: William J. McConnell, Fred T. Dubois, Henry Heitfeld
Succeeded by
Fred T. Dubois
Political offices
Preceded by
Office created
Governor of Idaho
Succeeded by
N. B. Willey