Horace F. Graham

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Horace F. Graham
Horace French Graham.jpg
Governor Horace Graham. Photo by A.W. Elson & Company, Belmont, Massachusetts.
56th Governor of Vermont
In office
January 4, 1917 – January 9, 1919
Lieutenant Roger W. Hulburd
Preceded by Charles W. Gates
Succeeded by Percival W. Clement
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born (1862-02-07)February 7, 1862
Brooklyn, New York
Died November 23, 1941(1941-11-23) (aged 79)
Craftsbury, Vermont
Political party Republican
Profession Attorney

Horace French Graham (February 7, 1862 – November 23, 1941) was an American politician who served as the 56th Governor of the U.S. state of Vermont from 1917 to 1919.

Early life[edit]

Graham received his early education in Vermont. He graduated from the College of the City of New York (now New York University) in 1882.[1][2][3] He received his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1888 and became an attorney in Craftsbury.[4][5][6][7]

Graham was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.[8]

Early political career[edit]

A Republican, he served as Craftsbury's Town Meeting Moderator from 1902 to 1932, and in the Vermont House of Representatives in 1892 and 1900. He was Orleans County State's Attorney from 1898 to 1902, and a Republican Presidential elector in 1900. Graham was Vermont's Auditor from 1902 to 1916, and a member of the state Education Commission in 1913.[9][10]

Election as Governor[edit]

In 1916 Graham was the successful candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor. In a state where only Republicans won statewide office from the 1850s to the 1960s, he easily won the general election. He served from 1917 to 1919, the one term then available to Vermont Republicans under the "Mountain Rule."[11]

(Under the provisions of the Mountain Rule, one U.S. Senator was a resident of the east side of the Green Mountains and one resided on the west side, and the governorship and lieutenant governorship alternated between residents of the east and west side. For nearly 100 years likely candidates for office in Vermont agreed to abide by the Mountain Rule in the interests of party unity.)[12][13]

Graham's governorship was notable for his advocacy of women's suffrage in local elections, and for his efforts to mobilize the Vermont National Guard and other state resources for World War I.[14][15]

Charges of embezzlement[edit]

While Governor, an investigation revealed that a large sum of state money (nearly $25 thousand, or $292 thousand in 2015 dollars) was unaccounted for during his term as Auditor. Graham repaid the missing funds, but was charged with embezzlement and convicted at trial. He was then pardoned by the new Governor, Percival Clement, who lauded Graham's integrity (his nickname was "Honest Horace")[16] and efforts as Governor during World War I. Graham always maintained his innocence, but stated that since the loss took place while he was Auditor, he felt personally obligated to reimburse the state for the missing money.[17][18][19][20][21][22]

Post gubernatorial career[edit]

His reputation for integrity was largely undamaged, and he served in the Vermont House again from 1924 to 1925, also taking part in revising Vermont's Statutes in 1933.[23][24][25][26][27]

Death and burial[edit]

Gravestone of Horace French Graham in Craftsbury's Crfatsbury Common Cemetery

Graham died in Craftsbury on November 23, 1941.[28] He was buried at Craftsbury Common Cemetery.[29]


Graham was a lifelong bachelor and lived with his sister Isabel.[30][31][32]

External resources[edit]


  1. ^ New York City College, Annual Register, 1878, page 109
  2. ^ Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, Directory of Members, 1898, page 123
  3. ^ Phi Gamma Delta magazine, Governor Horace F. Graham, March 1917, page 605
  4. ^ Manual of the Legislature of Vermont, published by Vermont General Assembly, 1902, page 54
  5. ^ Annual Register of the Officers and Students of Columbia College, published by the college, 1884, page 53
  6. ^ Successful Vermonters: A Modern Gazetteer of Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans Counties, y William Hartley Jeffrey, 1904, pages 263 to 265
  7. ^ Columbia University, Annual Register of the Officers and Students of Columbia College, 1888, page 53
  8. ^ Biography, Horace F. Graham, Phi Gamma Delta magazine, published by the fraternity, Volume 39, May, 1917, pages 605 to 606
  9. ^ Vermont Legislative Directory, published by Secretary of State, 1933, page 586
  10. ^ Magazine article, Republican Presidential Electors, The Vermonter magazine, October 1900, page 47
  11. ^ Vermont: The Green Mountain State, by Walter Hill Crockett, Volume 4, 1921, pages 471-472
  12. ^ Newspaper article, The Mountain Rule in Vermont, New York Times, February 12, 1895
  13. ^ Magazine article, Mountain Rule Revisited, by Samuel B. Hand, Vermont History Magazine, published by Vermont Historical Society, Summer/Fall 2003, pages 139 to 151
  14. ^ History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920, edited by Ida Husted Harper, published by National American Woman Suffrage Association, Volume 6, 1922, page 663
  15. ^ Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, edited by Robert Sobel and John Raimo, Volume 4, 1978, page 1603
  16. ^ Report of Proceedings of the Annual Meeting, published by Vermont Bar Association, 1922, page 66
  17. ^ Confirms Shortage in Graham's Books, New York Times, August 18, 1918
  18. ^ Newspaper article, A celebrated Case, New York Times, November 27, 1918
  19. ^ Newspaper article, Graham Denies Theft: Former Governor of Vermont Says he Repaid State Funds, New York Times, January 31, 1920
  20. ^ Newspaper article, Gov. Clement Gives Graham Full Pardon, Boston Daily Globe, November 5, 1920
  21. ^ Newspaper article, Ex-Governor Graham Convicted of Theft, New York Times, February 6, 1920
  22. ^ Untitled article, published in Moderator-Topic magazine, published by Michigan Education Company, Lansing, Michigan, November 18, 1920
  23. ^ Vermont Legislative Directory, published by Vermont Secretary of State, 1933
  24. ^ Newspaper article, H.F. Graham Dies; Ex-War Governor, New York Times, November 25, 1941
  25. ^ Who Was Who in America, published by Marquis Who's Who, Volume 2, 1950, page 217
  26. ^ American State Governors, 1776-1976], published by Oceana Publications, Dobbs Ferry, New York, Volume 3, 1977, page 486
  27. ^ Report of Proceedings of the Annual Meeting, published by Vermont Bar Association, 1942
  28. ^ Vermont Death Records, 1909-2008 entry for Horace French Graham
  29. ^ Horace F. Graham at Find a Grave
  30. ^ 1910 U.S. Census entry, Isabel S. Graham family
  31. ^ 1920 U.S. Census entry, Lucy F. Graham family
  32. ^ 1930 U.S. Census entry, Horace F. Graham family
Political offices
Preceded by
Orion M. Barber
Vermont Auditor of Accounts
Succeeded by
Benjamin Gates
Preceded by
Charles W. Gates
Governor of Vermont
Succeeded by
Percival W. Clement