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Josiah Begole

Josiah Begole
19th Governor of Michigan
In office
January 1, 1883 – January 1, 1885
Lieutenant Moreau S. Crosby
Preceded by David Jerome
Succeeded by Russell A. Alger
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1875
Preceded by Jabez G. Sutherland
Succeeded by George H. Durand
Personal details
Born January 20, 1815
Groveland, New York
Died June 5, 1896 (aged 81)
Flint, Michigan
Political party Republican; Democrat
Spouse(s) Harriet A. Miles
Religion Presbyterian

Josiah Williams Begole (January 20, 1815 – June 5, 1896) was a U.S. Representative and the 19th Governor of Michigan.


  • Early life in New York 1
  • Life and Politics in Michigan 2
  • Governor 3
  • Retirement and death 4
  • References 5

Early life in New York

Begole was born in Groveland, New York. His ancestors were French Huguenots who emigrated to the United States in the last quarter of the 18th century to escape religious persecution and settled in Hagerstown, Maryland. Josiah's father, William (1786–1862) was born there and moved to Livingston County, New York in 1802. William served in the War of 1812 and married the daughter of an American Revolutionary War veteran. Three of Williams sons, including Josiah, the eldest, eventually moved to Genesee County, Michigan. He attended the public schools in Mount Morris and Temple Hill Academy in Geneseo, New York.

Life and Politics in Michigan

Begole moved to American Civil War near Atlanta, Georgia in 1864, and was the greatest sorrow of his life.

He was a member of the Michigan Senate in 1870 and 1871, and a member of the Flint City Council for three years. During that time, he served on the Committees of Finance and Railroads, and was Chairman of the Committee on the Institute for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention at Philadelphia in 1872 to re-nominate U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant and to nominate Henry Wilson as the new Vice President.

Begole was elected as a Republican from Michigan's 6th congressional district to the United States House of Representatives for the 43rd Congress, serving from March 4, 1873 to March 3, 1875. During that time, he was a member of the Committee on Agricultural and Public Expenditures. He was an unsuccessful candidate for re-election in 1874 and resumed the lumber business. He later engaged in the manufacture of wagons and also engaged in banking.


In 1882, Begole was gubernatorial candidate of the Greenback and Democratic parties, defeating the Republican incumbent David Jerome by over 7,000 votes. He served one term from 1883 to 1885. As a former Republican who ousted a Republican incumbent, Begole faced many obstacles with a Republican-dominated legislature. As a result, the establishment of the state bureau of labor statistics was one of the few acts that was approved. He ran for re-election in 1884, but was defeated by Republican Russell Alger, after which he resumed his former business activities.

He was an early activist for women's suffrage, and in 1884 Begole became vice president of the first statewide suffrage organization, the Michigan Equal Suffrage Association.

Retirement and death

Begole died at the age of eighty-one in Flint and is interred in Glenwood Cemetery there.


  • Josiah Begole at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • The Political Graveyard
  • Begole's biography from the public domain Portrait & Biographical Album of Ingham and Livingston Counties, Michigan, published Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1891
  • National Governors Association
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jabez G. Sutherland
United States Representative for the 6th Congressional District of Michigan
1873 – 1875
Succeeded by
George H. Durand
Political offices
Preceded by
David Jerome
Governor of Michigan
Succeeded by
Russell A. Alger

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