Luren Dickinson
Michigan Governor 1939-1941

Hon. Luren D. Dickinson, fifty-fourth governor of Michigan, has figured prominently in the State’s political history for many years and has wielded a wide influence in the promotion of beneficial legislation and in the advancement of those interests which maintain high civic standards. Born in Niagara County, New York, April 15, 1859, he is of the eighth generation of the Dickinson family represented in America, tracing his ancestry back to William Dickinson, whose son, Nathaniel Dickinson, was born at Ely, Cambridge County, England, in 1600. Bidding adieu to his native land, he braved the dangers of ocean travel in that day to establish his home in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1630 and thus became the founder of the family in the new world. Noah Dickinson, the great-great-grandfather of Luren D. Dickinson, was born in 1729 and served as a lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. His son, Philemon Dickinson, was born in Dutchess County, New York, where the family home had been established, and he in turn was the father of Hosea Dickinson, who was born in Bolton, Warren County, New York, February 9, 1803. Daniel Dickinson, father of Luren D. Dickinson, was born in the Empire State, December 1, 1828, and married at Albion, New York, Hannah E. Leavens, whose birth occurred April 17, 1830. Removing westward, they settled in Illinois but later returned to New York, and when they again started westward their destination was Eaton County, Michigan. Daniel Dickinson died January 4, 1903, while his wife survived until July 11, 1916. They were parents of four children: Joseph Hosea, who died in infancy; R. Marvin, a resident of Charlotte, Michigan; Luren D., of this review, who makes his home on a farm near Charlotte; and Emma Deone, the widow of Frank Mickesell, of Charlotte.

Luren D. Dickinson was but a year old when in 1860 his parents settled in Eaton County, where he has since lived. He supplemented his early educational training, received in the dis­trict schools, by study in the Charlotte high school and for nine­teen years he engaged in teaching during the winter seasons and at one time was principal of the Potterville high school. On the 16th of October, 1888, he married Zora D. Cooley, daughter of William T. and Catherine (Nissley) Cooley, who had come to Michigan from Ohio. They reared an adopted daughter, now deceased.

Mr. Dickinson has long been interested in farming, fruit grow­ing and stock raising and is also associated with business interests of the city as a stockholder in the First National Bank of Charlotte and the Duplex Truck Company of Lansing and Charlotte. He resides on the home farm near the latter city and is a member the Charlotte Grange. Public interests and activities have always shared his time with personal affairs. Long an earnest member in the Eaton Methodist Episcopal Church, he is serving as one of its trustees and has eight times been elected to the General or World’s Conference of the church and was a member of the Inter-Church Commission of the Two Methodisms. He is likewise vice president of the Men’s Work Commission of the Methodist Episcopal Church of America and was for four years president of the Laymen’s Association of the Methodist Church of the World. His humanitarian spirit has found expression in his service as state chairman of the Near East Relief work since the World War.

In political circles he has long been an outstanding figure. He was a member of the Republican county committee for twenty-four years and for four years chairman of the representative committee. For eleven years he was assessor of the school district, has also been town clerk, was superintendent of schools under the old system and several times filled the office of supervisor. Elected to the State Legislature, he served during the sessions of 1897-98, 1905-06 and 1907-08 and was then elected to the Senate for the term covering 1909-10. He received the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor at the primary election August 25, 1914, and at the general election on November 3, 1914, the popular vote placed him in office, where he continued through three successive terms. He then withdrew to private life for a period but at the general election of November 2, 1926, was again chosen for the office, was reelected in 1928 and also in 1930, having the unusual record of being six times chosen for that position. One of the Michigan papers, writing of his candidacy for lieutenant governor, said: “Luren Dickinson has spoken in nearly every schoolhouse and church in the state in behalf of his principles against the use of liquor. He is a strict prohibitionist and as such commands the vote that believes as he does almost solidly. As presiding officer of the Michigan Senate he always lent dignity and poise to that august body.” It is a recognized fact throughout the State that Mr. Dickinson’s position is never an equivocal one. He stands firmly in support of the principles in which he believes and has worked untiringly and effectively for the promotion of higher standards of citizenship. He finds his recreation in travel and has visited points of interest in every section of the country.

Mr. Dickinson was nominated lieutenant governor on the Republican ticket in the campaigns of 1932 and also in 1936, but went down to defeat with the rest of the ticket because of the Roosevelt landslides. He was again nominated lieutenant governor in 1938 and elected by the largest majority of any candidate on the ticket. On the death of Governor Fitzgerald on March 16, 1938, who was elected at this same election, Mr. Dickinson succeeded to the office of governor the following day.

A Centennial History of the State and its People Edited by George N. Fuller Lewis Publishing Co 1939

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