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Portrait of Governor George Perkins

George Perkins

14th Governor, Republican

- Short Biography
- Administration
- Personal information
- This Time in California


Born in Maine in 1839, George Perkins ran away from home at age 12 and went to sea. At 16 he arrived in California, and by age 20 had established himself in business with a store that grossed $500,000 per year. A Republican, he served as State Senator, then campaigned successfully for Governor - his theme song was "The Good Ship George C. Perkins." While in office, he personally interviewed each of the many prisoners he pardoned, showing particular leniency toward juveniles. A new state constitution was developed during this time, shortening his term of office to allow future gubernatorial elections to be held in even-numbered years. The open support that Perkins showed for business monopolies prompted modern-day historians to joke that if Perkins ever got into deep water a Standard Oil tanker would have been sent to rescue him.

top Administration under Governor George Perkins

- Inaugural Address - January 8, 1880

top The Life of Governor George Perkins

August 23, 1839
Kennebunkport, Maine

February 26, 1923
Oakland, California

First Lady: Ruth Parker

top This Time in California, the Nation, the World
1880 1881 1882 1883
State population - 864,694


State Normal School in Los Angeles (later UCLA) founded

Southern Pacific Railroad transcontinental link completed


  Historical Society of Southern California chartered


  U.S. President James A. Garfield (1881) - Assassinated

U.S. President Chester A. Arthur (1881- 1885)


U.S. bans Chinese immigrants for 10 years



* All Biographies excerpted fromThe Governors of California and their Portraits (see credits)
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