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Washington Bartlett

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Washington Bartlett
Bartlett c. 1883–1887
16th Governor of California
In office
January 8, 1887 – September 12, 1887
LieutenantRobert Waterman
Preceded byGeorge Stoneman
Succeeded byRobert Waterman
20th Mayor of San Francisco
In office
January 8, 1883 – January 2, 1887
Preceded byMaurice Carey Blake
Succeeded byEdward B. Pond
Personal details
Washington Montgomery Bartlett

(1824-02-29)February 29, 1824
Savannah, Georgia, U.S.
DiedSeptember 12, 1887(1887-09-12) (aged 63)
Oakland, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic

Washington Montgomery Bartlett (February 29, 1824 – September 12, 1887) was an American politician who served as the 16th governor of California from January 1887 until his death in September of that year, as well as the 20th mayor of San Francisco from 1883 to 1887. He was the first Jewish governor of any U.S. state and – to date – the only Jewish governor of California.[1][2] Bartlett converted to Congregationalism on his deathbed and was buried as a Christian.[3]


Washington Bartlett's tomb at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California.

Bartlett was born in Savannah, Georgia on February 29, 1824, the son of Sarah E. Melhado and Cosam Emir Bartlett.[4] His mother was a Sephardic Jew. Unlike the second elected Jewish governor, Moses Alexander of Idaho, Bartlett was not particularly religious and did not participate in Jewish observances while in California.

A lifelong bachelor and a printer by trade, he became a lawyer as well. During his lifetime Bartlett was a San Francisco newspaper publisher, San Francisco County Clerk, California state senator, mayor of San Francisco from 1883-87, and finally governor, elected in 1886.

Bartlett was sworn in as governor and gave his inaugural address on January 8, 1887.[5] He died of Bright's disease barely eight months into his term, on September 12, 1887.[6] His service as governor was the second shortest in California's history as a state; only Milton S. Latham, who served just five days in 1860, had a shorter tenure.

Bartlett's funeral was conducted at Trinity Episcopal Church in San Francisco.[7] He is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California.[6]


  1. ^ "Washington Bartlett". California State Library. Retrieved July 9, 2009.
  2. ^ "Washington Bartlett: California's Pioneer Jewish Governor". Jewish Museum of the American West.
  3. ^ Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly July, 1973, page 287
  4. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. Vol. IV. James T. White & Company. 1893. p. 113. Retrieved December 3, 2020 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Washington Bartlett (January 8, 1887). Inaugural Address (Speech). State of California. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  6. ^ a b "In Peace". San Francisco Examiner. September 13, 1887. p. 1. Retrieved December 3, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Governor Bartlett". San Francisco Bulletin, San Francisco, California. September 13, 1887.

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Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of San Francisco
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of California
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of California
Succeeded by