William Lee Knous

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William Lee Knous
31st Governor of Colorado
In office
January 14, 1947 – April 15, 1950
Lieutenant Homer L. Pearson (1947–1949)
Walter W. Johnson (1949–1950)
Preceded by John C. Vivian
Succeeded by Walter W. Johnson
Personal details
Born (1889-02-02)February 2, 1889
Ouray, Colorado, U.S.
Died December 11, 1959(1959-12-11) (aged 70)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Colorado School of Law

William Lee Knous (February 2, 1889 – December 11, 1959) was a Colorado Democratic state legislator, state Supreme Court justice and the 31st Governor of Colorado, and a U.S. district judge.

He was born in Ouray, Colorado, the son of John Franklin Knous and Julia (Bain) Knous. He graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1911.

Political career[edit]

He moved to Montrose, Colorado, and subsequently became mayor, city attorney and deputy district attorney, and in 1929, was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives. He was elected to the Colorado Senate in 1931, where he served as president pro tempore in 1935 and 1936.

In 1936, he was elected to the Colorado Supreme Court and moved to Denver, Colorado. He was elevated to Chief Justice in 1946, and was elected governor of the state the same year. Running for re-election in 1948, he carried every county in the state but one.

Federal judicial career[edit]

In 1950, Knous was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. Knous was nominated by President Harry S. Truman on March 1, 1950, to a seat vacated by John Foster Symes. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 4, 1950, and received commission on April 7, 1950. He served as chief judge from 1954 until his death on December 11, 1959. He was entombed in the Fairmount Mausoleum at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver.

According to the Colorado state archives, "He became the only man in the state ever to have occupied the highest seat in the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government."

Family life[edit]

Knous was the son of John Franklin Knous and Julia (Bain) Knous. The elder Knous, a miner, had moved with his wife from Iowa to Colorado. William married Elsie Marie Grabow on July 1, 1915. They had three children, William John, Robert Lee, and Merle Ray.

His son, Robert Lee Knous, was subsequently a lieutenant governor of Colorado from 1959 to 1967.


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
John Charles Vivian
Governor of Colorado
Succeeded by
Walter Walford Johnson
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Foster Symes
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado
Succeeded by
Olin Hatfield Chilson