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John E. Erickson (Montana politician)

John Edward Erickson March 14, 1863 – May 25, 1946 was an American politician of the Democratic Party from Montana He served as the eighth Governor of Montana and as a United States Senator1


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Death
  • 4 References
  • 5 Sources
  • 6 Note
  • 7 External links


Erickson was born in Stoughton, Wisconsin He was the son of E Erickson and Olene Alma Erickson, both Norwegian immigrants He moved with his parents to Eureka, Kansas He graduated from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas in 18902 He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1891 at Eureka, Kansas3 He married Grace Vance in 1898 and they had three children4


Erickson began practicing law in Kansas in 1892 He moved to Choteau, Montana in 1893 and continued practicing in that town He served as county attorney of Teton County from 1897 to 1905, then judge of the eleventh judicial district of Montana from 1905 to 1915 He resumed the practice of law at Kalispell, Montana in 19165 A Democrat, Erickson was elected in 1924 as the eighth Governor of Montana He won reelection in 1928, and again in 1932, making him the only governor elected to three terms6 He served from January 4, 1925 to 1933 During his tenure, a new state income tax was sanctioned, a fund to financially equalize impoverished rural schools was established, a gasoline tax was implemented, a new banking law was authorized, and a tax on mining profits was initiated7

On March 13, 1933, Erickson resigned as governor whereupon Frank Cooney, formerly Erickson's lieutenant governor and now the acting governor, appointed Erickson to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Thomas J Walsh Although on the face of it, this appears to have been a rather brazen attempt on Erickson's part to establish himself in the senate, Montana Senator Burton K Wheeler tells a different story in his autobiography8 Apparently Montana's Democratic National Committeeman, J Bruce Kremer, was certain to be appointed to Walsh's seat Walsh very much disliked Kremer and worried that Kremer would succeed him if he Walsh accepted Franklin D Roosevelt's appointment to his cabinet, as Attorney General After Walsh's untimely demise, his daughter Genevieve Gudger asked Senator Wheeler if he would intercede with Governor Erickson to stop Kremer's appointment As Wheeler also disliked Kremer, he agreed to do so In Wheeler's telling9 it was he who talked a reluctant Erickson into getting himself appointed In the special election to fill the remainder of the vacancy, Erickson ran for election to the senate seat, but finished third in the primary, behind James E Murray, who went on to win the special election in November, and James F O'Connor He continued to serve in the Senate through November 6, 1934, the day that Murray was elected, at which point he resigned in favor of Murray, in order to give Murray seniority rights over other freshman senators, who didn't start their terms until 1935 Following his return from the Senate, he practiced law in Helena, Montana, until his death


Erickson died on May 25, 1946, and is entombed at Conrad Memorial Cemetery, Kalispell, Flathead County, Montana US


  1. ^ "Montana Governor John Edward Erickson" National Governors Association Retrieved October 10, 2012 
  2. ^ "Montana Governor John Edward Erickson" National Governors Association Retrieved October 10, 2012 
  3. ^ "John E Erickson" Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved 9 October 2012 
  4. ^ "John E Erickson papers 1883-1958" archiveswestorbiscascade Retrieved March 1, 2016 
  5. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum July 22, 2013 "Erickson, John Edward 1863-1946" politicalgraveyardcom Retrieved October 8, 2013 
  6. ^ "John E Erickson" Former Governors of Montana Archived from the original on 20 August 2012 Retrieved 9 October 2012 
  7. ^ "John E Erickson" National Governors Association Retrieved 9 October 2012 
  8. ^ Wheeler, p 300-301
  9. ^ Wheeler, p 301


  • Wheeler, Burton K with Paul F Healy 1977 Yankee From the West Octagon Books reprint 


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguidecongressgov

  • United States Congress "John E Erickson id: E000202" Biographical Directory of the United States Congress 

External linksedit

  • John Edward Erickson entry at the National Governors Association
  • John Edward Erickson entry at The Political Graveyard
  • John E Erickson at Find a Grave

Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph M Dixon
Governor of Montana
January 4, 1925 – March 13, 1933
Succeeded by
Frank Henry Cooney
US Senate
Preceded by
Thomas J Walsh
United States Senator from Montana
March 13, 1933 – November 6, 1934
Succeeded by
James Edward Murray

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John E. Erickson (Montana politician)

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