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William Claflin


In office
January 7, 1869 – January 4, 1872
Lieutenant Joseph Tucker
Preceded by Alexander H. Bullock
Succeeded by William B. Washburn

In office
1866 – 1869
Governor Alexander H. Bullock
Preceded by Joel Hayden
Succeeded by Joseph Tucker

In office
1868 – 1872
Preceded by Marcus L. Ward
Succeeded by Edwin D. Morgan

Born March 6, 1818(1818-03-06)
Milford, Massachusetts
Died October 5, 1905 (aged 87)
Newton, Massachusetts
Political party Republican

William Claflin (March 6, 1818 – January 5, 1905) was an industrialist and philanthropist who served as Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1869-1872 and as a member of the United States Congress from 1877-1881.

Born in 1818 in Milford, Massachusetts, after some education at Brown University, Claflin returned to his father Lee Claflin's shoe manufacturing company. He opened his own boot and shoe manufacturing firm in St. Louis, but became a partner in the family's Massachusetts business five years later.

Claflin had a significant political career in Massachusetts. He was a founder of the Free Soil Party, served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1849-1853, and was elected to the Senate in 1859. By this time he had switched to the United States Republican Party and later served on its national committee. He became Senate President in 1861. After serving as Lieutenant Governor for Alexander Hamilton Bullock, Claflin was elected to the Governor's office in 1868.

While Governor, Claflin promoted women's suffrage and extended women greater rights under the law. During his administration, he advocated prison reform and established the state's first board of public health. Claflin also created the Massachusetts Indian Commission with social activists Wendell Phillips and Helen Hunt Jackson. In 1869, Claflin chartered Boston University, a Methodist institution, which his father co-founded. He served for three terms, each one year in length, but declined to run for a fourth.

Claflin returned to business and supported philanthropic activities. Along with his father, Claflin donated funds to purchase land for Claflin University, the historically black, Methodist university in South Carolina. The University was founded in 1869. He later served two terms as a member of Congress. He died in 1905 in Newton, Massachusetts.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Joel Hayden
Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
1866–1869
Succeeded by
Joseph Tucker
Preceded by
Alexander H. Bullock
Governor of Massachusetts
January 7, 1869 – January 4, 1872
Succeeded by
William B. Washburn
Party political offices
Preceded by
Marcus L. Ward
Chairman of the Republican National Committee
1868-1872
Succeeded by
Edwin D. Morgan
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