List of Governors of Michigan

List of Governors of Michigan
The Seal and Flag of the Governor of Michigan

The Governor of Michigan is the chief executive of the U.S. state of Michigan. His/her powers and responsibilities are provided for under Article V of the Constitution of Michigan. Rick Snyder is the incumbent governor, having taken office on January 1, 2011.


Courtesy title

The governor of Michigan traditionally receives the courtesy title of His/Her Excellency, though it has fallen out of use in recent years. [1] More commonly, the governor, as with other elected state office-holders, is addressed as The Honorable (abbreviated The Hon. or Hon.).

Territorial governors

Prior to becoming its own territory, parts of Michigan were part of Northwest Territory (see List of Governors of Ohio), Indiana Territory (see List of Governors of Indiana) and Illinois Territory (see List of Governors of Illinois).

The following are governors of the Territory of Michigan and the State of Michigan.

Name Dates served
William Hull March 1, 1805 to October 29, 1813
Lewis Cass October 29, 1813 to August 6, 1831
George Bryan Porter August 6, 1831 to July 6, 1834
Stevens T. Mason[1] July 6, 1834 to September 15, 1835
John S. Horner[2] September 15, 1835 to July 3, 1836

State governors

From statehood until the election of 1966, governors were elected to two-year terms. Elections are held in November and the governor assumes office the following January, except in the case of death or resignation. From statehood until 1851, elections were held in odd-numbered years. A new state constitution was drafted in 1850 and took effect in 1851. As part of the process bringing the constitution into effect, there was a single one-year term of governor in 1851. Thereafter elections were held on even years.

The constitution adopted in 1963 changed the governor's term to four years, starting in 1967. Since then, gubernatorial elections have been offset by two years from U.S. Presidential elections (e.g., Presidential elections were in 2000 and 2004, gubernatorial elections were in 1998 and 2002). The winner of the gubernatorial election takes office at noon on January 1 of the year following the election.

In 1992, an amendment to the Constitution of Michigan imposed a lifetime term limit of two four-year terms for the office of governor. Prior to this, they were not limited as to how many terms they could serve. John Engler, who was in the midst of his first term as Governor when the governor at the time, was allowed to run for two more terms in 1994 and 1998 before being prevented from running again in 2002.

# Name Took office Left office Party Lt. Governor Notes
1 Stevens T. Mason[2] October 6, 1835 January 7, 1840 Democratic Edward Mundy
2 William Woodbridge January 7, 1840 February 23, 1841 Whig J. Wright Gordon [3]
3 J. Wright Gordon February 23, 1841 January 3, 1842 Whig Thomas J. Drake [4]
4 John S. Barry January 3, 1842 January 5, 1846 Democratic Origen D. Richardson
5 Alpheus Felch January 5, 1846 March 3, 1847 Democratic William L. Greenly [3]
6 William L. Greenly March 4, 1847 January 3, 1848 Democratic Charles P. Bush [4]
7 Epaphroditus Ransom January 3, 1848 January 7, 1850 Democratic William M. Fenton
8 John S. Barry January 7, 1850 January 1, 1852 Democratic William M. Fenton
9 Robert McClelland[5] January 1, 1852 March 7, 1853 Democratic Calvin Britain [6]
Andrew Parsons
10 Andrew Parsons March 8, 1853 January 3, 1855 Democratic George Griswold [4]
11 Kinsley S. Bingham January 3, 1855 January 5, 1859 Republican George Coe
12 Moses Wisner January 5, 1859 January 2, 1861 Republican Edmund B. Fairfield
13 Austin Blair January 2, 1861 January 3, 1865 Republican James M. Birney
Joseph R. Williams
Henry T. Backus
Charles S. May
14 Henry H. Crapo January 3, 1865 January 6, 1869 Republican Ebenezer Grosvenor
Dwight May
15 Henry P. Baldwin January 6, 1869 January 1, 1873 Republican Morgan Bates
16 John J. Bagley January 1, 1873 January 3, 1877 Republican Henry H. Holt
17 Charles Croswell January 3, 1877 January 1, 1881 Republican Alonzo Sessions
18 David Jerome January 1, 1881 January 1, 1883 Republican Moreau S. Crosby
19 Josiah Begole January 1, 1883 January 1, 1885 Democratic Moreau S. Crosby
20 Russell Alger January 1, 1885 January 1, 1887 Republican Archibald Buttars
21 Cyrus G. Luce January 1, 1887 January 1, 1891 Republican James H. MacDonald
William Ball
22 Edwin B. Winans January 1, 1891 January 1, 1893 Democratic John Strong
23 John T. Rich January 1, 1893 January 1, 1897 Republican J. Wight Giddings
Alfred Milnes
Joseph R. McLaughlin
24 Hazen S. Pingree January 1, 1897 January 1, 1901 Republican Thomas B. Dunstan
Orrin W. Robinson
25 Aaron T. Bliss January 1, 1901 January 1, 1905 Republican Orrin W. Robinson
Alexander Maitland
26 Fred M. Warner January 1, 1905 January 2, 1911 Republican Alexander Maitland
Patrick H. Kelley
27 Chase Osborn January 2, 1911 January 1, 1913 Republican John Q. Ross
28 Woodbridge Nathan Ferris January 1, 1913 January 1, 1917 Democratic John Q. Ross
Luren Dickinson
29 Albert Sleeper January 1, 1917 January 1, 1921 Republican Luren Dickinson
30 Alex Groesbeck January 1, 1921 January 1, 1927 Republican Thomas Read
George W. Welsh
31 Fred Green January 1, 1927 January 1, 1931 Republican Luren Dickinson
32 Wilber Marion Brucker January 1, 1931 January 1, 1933 Republican Luren Dickinson
33 William Comstock January 1, 1933 January 1, 1935 Democratic Allen E. Stebbins
34 Frank Fitzgerald January 1, 1935 January 1, 1937 Republican Thomas Read
35 Frank Murphy January 1, 1937 January 1, 1939 Democratic Leo J. Nowicki
36 Frank Fitzgerald January 1, 1939 March 16, 1939 Republican Luren Dickinson [7]
37 Luren Dickinson March 16, 1939 January 1, 1941 Republican Matilda Dodge Wilson [4]
38 Murray Van Wagoner January 1, 1941 January 1, 1943 Democratic Frank Murphy
39 Harry Kelly January 1, 1943 January 1, 1947 Republican Eugene C. Keyes
Vernon J. Brown
40 Kim Sigler January 1, 1947 January 1, 1949 Republican Eugene C. Keyes
41 G. Mennen Williams January 1, 1949 January 1, 1961 Democratic John W. Connolly
William C. Vandenberg
Clarence A. Reid
Philip A. Hart
John B. Swainson
42 John Swainson January 1, 1961 January 1, 1963 Democratic T. John Lesinski
43 George W. Romney January 1, 1963 January 22, 1969 Republican T. John Lesinski [8]
William Milliken
44 William Milliken January 22, 1969 January 1, 1983 Republican Thomas F. Schweigert [9]
James H. Brickley
James Damman
James H. Brickley
45 James Blanchard January 1, 1983 January 1, 1991 Democratic Martha Griffiths
46 John Engler January 1, 1991 January 1, 2003 Republican Connie Binsfeld [10]
Dick Posthumus
47 Jennifer Granholm January 1, 2003 January 1, 2011 Democratic John D. Cherry, Jr.
48 Rick Snyder January 1, 2011 Incumbent Republican Brian Calley

See also


  1. ^ George Bryan Porter died in office on July 6, 1834. Territorial Secretary, Stevens T. Mason, was authorized to become Acting Governor, though there was no formal succession and he was never officially named as Territorial Governor.
  2. ^ a b On August 29, 1835, in order to appease Ohio over the Toledo War border dispute, President Andrew Jackson appointed Charles Shuler, a judge in Pennsylvania, to replace Stevens T. Mason as Secretary and Acting Governor. Shuler declined the appointment. On September 15, Jackson appointed John S. Horner as Secretary and Acting Governor to replace Mason, though Horner did not commence his duties until September 21, 1835. In October 1835, Michigan authorized a state constitution and elected Mason as governor of the new state, although the U.S. Congress did not recognize the state until 1837. Horner was mostly ignored by the people of Michigan and he became Secretary of Wisconsin Territory in July 1836.
  3. ^ a b Resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate.
  4. ^ a b c d As lieutenant governor, acted as governor for unexpired term.
  5. ^ After a new state constitution was drafted in 1850, McClelland was elected to a single one-year term in 1851. He was then re-elected to a full two-year term in 1852.
  6. ^ Resigned to become United States Secretary of the Interior.
  7. ^ Died in office.
  8. ^ Resigned to become United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
  9. ^ As lieutenant governor, acted as governor for unexpired term, and was later elected in his own right.
  10. ^ Binsfeld served during the first two terms; Posthumus served the third term.

Other high offices held

This is a table of congressional and other federal offices held by governors. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Michigan. * denotes those offices which the governor resigned to take.

Name Gubernatorial term U.S. Congress Other offices held
House Senate
Lewis Cass 1813–1831 (territorial) S President pro tempore of the Senate, Ambassador to France, U.S. Secretary of War, U.S. Secretary of State
William Woodbridge 1840–1841 S* Territorial Delegate
Alpheus Felch 1846–1847 S*
Robert McClelland 1852–1853 H U.S. Secretary of the Interior*
Kinsley S. Bingham 1855–1859 H S
Austin Blair 1861–1865 H
Henry P. Baldwin 1869–1873 S
Josiah Begole 1883–1885 H
Russell A. Alger 1885–1887 S U.S. Secretary of War
Edwin B. Winans 1891–1893 H
John Tyler Rich 1893–1897 H
Aaron T. Bliss 1901–1905 H
Woodbridge Nathan Ferris 1913–1917 S
Wilber Marion Brucker 1931–1933 U.S. Secretary of the Army
Frank Murphy 1937–1939 Recorders' Court Judge, Mayor of the City of Detroit, High Commissioner to the Philippines, U.S. Attorney General, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Governor-General of the Philippines
G. Mennen Williams 1949–1961 Ambassador to the Philippines, Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court
George W. Romney 1963–1969 U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development*
James Blanchard 1983–1991 H Ambassador to Canada

Living former governors

As of April 2011, four former governors were alive, the oldest being William Milliken (1969–1983, born 1922). The most recent governor to die was George W. Romney (1963–1969), on July 26, 1995.

Name Gubernatorial term Date of birth Age
William Milliken 1969–1983 March 26, 1922(1922-03-26) 89
James Blanchard 1983–1991 August 8, 1942(1942-08-08) 69
John Engler 1991–2003 October 12, 1948(1948-10-12) 63
Jennifer Granholm 2003–2011 February 5, 1959(1959-02-05) 52

External links

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