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Joseph Kemp Toole
1st & 4th Governor of Montana
In office
November 8, 1889 – January 1, 1893
LieutenantJohn Rickards
Preceded byBenjamin F. White
Succeeded byJohn Rickards
In office
January 7, 1901 – April 1, 1908
LieutenantFrank G. Higgins
Edwin L. Norris
Preceded byRobert Smith
Succeeded byEdwin Norris[1]
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from Montana Territory's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1885 – March 3, 1889
Preceded byMartin Maginnis
Succeeded byThomas H. Carter
Personal details
BornMay 12, 1851
Savannah, Missouri, U.S.
DiedMarch 11, 1929(1929-03-11) (aged 77)
Helena, Montana, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materWestern Military Institute, New Castle, Kentucky

Joseph Kemp Toole (May 12, 1851 – March 11, 1929) was a Democratic politician from Montana.[3] He served as the first and fourth Governor of Montana.


Toole was born in Savannah, Missouri and attended public school in St. Joseph, Missouri. In 1868, he graduated from the Western Military Institute in New Castle, Kentucky with honors.[4] He moved to Helena, Montana in 1870; studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1871 and commenced practice in Helena. Toole was district attorney of the third judicial district of Montana 1872–1876 and a member of the Montana Territorial House of Representatives from 1879 to 1881; member and president of the Territorial council 1881–1883. He married Lily Rosecrans and they had three children.


Toole was a delegate to the State Constitutional Convention at Helena in 1884 and 1889 and elected as a Democrat to the Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Congresses (March 4, 1885 – March 3, 1889);[5] he did not seek renomination in 1888.

Toole was the first Governor of Montana,[6] (the only Democrat on the ticket that year to be elected) serving from November 8, 1889, until January 1, 1893. He resumed the practice of law in Helena. Toole was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1892 and 1904.

He served as the fourth Governor of Montana from January 7, 1901 until April 1, 1908, when he resigned because of ill health. During his tenure, county treasurers were authorized to collect taxes on personal property, and there was legislation to ensure mine safety and mineworker protection.[7]


During retirement, Toole divided his time between his home in Helena and San Francisco, California until his death on March 11, 1929, at the age of 77. He is interred at Resurrection Cemetery in Helena, Lewis and Clark County, Montana, US.


  1. ^ "Former State Governors". Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  2. ^ Stout, Tom (1921). Montana, Its Story and Biography – Vol I. Chicago: American Historical Society. p. 444.
  3. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Joseph K. Toole". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  4. ^ "Montana Governor Joseph Kemp Toole". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  5. ^ "Joseph Toole". The Encyclopedia of Montana. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  6. ^ "A Brief History of Montana". The Official Website for the State of Montana. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  7. ^ "Joseph Toole". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 9, 2012.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Martin Maginnis
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Montana Territory's at-large congressional district

March 4, 1885 – March 3, 1889
Succeeded by
Thomas H. Carter
Political offices
Preceded by
Benjamin F. White
Governor of Montana
Succeeded by
John Rickards
Preceded by
Robert B. Smith
Governor of Montana
Succeeded by
Edwin Norris
This page was last edited on 17 April 2019, at 06:12
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