William Spry

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William Spry
William Spry.jpg
Commissioner of the General Land Office
In office
March 22, 1921 – April 21, 1929
PresidentWarren G. Harding
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Preceded byClay Tallman
Succeeded byCharles C. Moore
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
August 24, 1915 – December 14, 1916
Preceded byDavid I. Walsh
Succeeded byArthur Capper
3rd Governor of Utah
In office
January 4, 1909 – January 1, 1917
Preceded byJohn Christopher Cutler
Succeeded bySimon Bamberger
Personal details
Born(1864-01-11)January 11, 1864
Windsor, England, UK
DiedApril 21, 1929(1929-04-21) (aged 65)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Mary Wrathall

William Spry (January 11, 1864 – April 21, 1929) was an American politician who was the third Governor of Utah. He is the namesake of the William Spry Agriculture Building that houses the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

Life and career[edit]

Spry was born at Windsor, Berkshire, England. He emigrated to Utah Territory with his parents at the age of eleven.

He served as governor of Utah from 1909 to 1917. He was a Republican. Spry was a strong opponent of Prohibition, and vetoed two bills that would have implemented this.[1] From 1921 to 1929 Spry served as commissioner of Public Lands.[2]

In 1885, Spry was called as an LDS Church missionary and went to serve in the Southern States Mission. From 1888 to 1891 (continuing his time from being a regular missionary), Spry served as president of the Southern States Mission.[3] In 1890, during his mission, Spry received permission from the leaders of the church to return briefly to Salt Lake City where he married Mary Alice Wrathall.[4]

In 1894, Spry was elected county collector in Tooele County, Utah. In 1902 Spry was elected to the Utah House of Representatives[5] and in 1905 he was appointed one of the members of the Utah state board of land commissioners.[4]

In 1915, Spry refused President Woodrow Wilson's request to reconsider the impending execution of Joe Hill and allowed the execution to take place on November 19.[6]

Spry died in Washington, D.C., in 1929 when he was still serving as the Federal Commissioner of Public Lands. He was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ludlow, Daniel H., ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism. p. 1158[full citation needed]
  2. ^ Ludlow, Daniel H., ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism. p. 634[full citation needed]
  3. ^ Jenson, Andrew. Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Press, 1941) p. 822[full citation needed]
  4. ^ a b Jenson, Andrew. LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Vol. 4, p. 381[full citation needed]
  5. ^ Utah Legislators roster
  6. ^ Rosemont, Franklin (2002). Joe Hill: The IWW & the Making of a Revolutionary Workingclass Counterculture. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr. p. 139. ISBN 088286-264-2.

External link[edit]

Media related to William Spry at Wikimedia Commons

Party political offices
Preceded by
John Christopher Cutler
Republican nominee for Governor of Utah
1908, 1912
Succeeded by
Nephi Morris
Political offices
Preceded by
John Christopher Cutler
Governor of Utah
Succeeded by
Simon Bamberger
Preceded by
David I. Walsh
Chair of the National Governors Association
Succeeded by
Arthur Capper
Preceded by
Clay Tallman
Commissioner of the General Land Office
Succeeded by
Charles C. Moore