MICHIGAN TRAILS
GENEALOGY and HISTORY
 

Alexander J. Groesbeck
Governor (1921 - 1927)

 


Michigan has placed the stamp of her approval upon the public record of Alexander J. Groesbeck, having three times elected him to the office of chief executive. As governor of the State he made valuable contribution to the up-building and development of the commonwealth, his entire administration being characterized by a most progressive spirit.

Governor Groesbeck was born in Warren township, Macomb County, Michigan, November 7, 1873, his parents being Louis and Julia (Coquillard) Groesbeck. After attending the public schools of Mount Clemens he continued his education in the University of Michigan as a law student and won his LL. B. degree in 1893. The same year he was admitted to practice at the Michigan bar and made his initial step in a calling that has brought him to prominence and success.  Working his way steadily upward, it was not long before he had gained a large and distinctively representative clientele and was acknowledged one of the strong and forceful members of the Michigan bar. His recognized ability led to his election to the office of attorney general of the State and in 1918 he entered upon a four-year term in that position, carrying him through the year 1920. He was then the choice of the Republican party for the nomination for governor, his election followed and twice he was re-elected, his incumbency continuing from 1921 until 1927. The history of the State bears evidence of what he accomplished as its chief executive. In the administration of the office he looked beyond the exigencies of the moment to the opportunities of the future and built not only for the present but for the coming years. With his retirement he resumed the practice of law in Detroit and is a valued member of the Detroit, Michigan State and American Bar associations.  He is also associated with many of the business enterprises in the city, being president of the Michigan Life Insurance Company, Stuart Foundry Company, Monroe Paper Products Company, as well as receiver of the Guardian Detroit Union Group, Inc., and trustee of the Detroit Harbor Terminals, Inc. He has his offices in the Dime Bank Building and his practice is of an extensive and important character.

Governor Groesbeck belongs to the Detroit Athletic Club and the Detroit Club. The prominent part which he has played in public affairs has made him widely known throughout the State the consensus of public opinion ranks him with the leading men who have had much to do with shaping Michigan's history.

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

GROESBECK DIES AT 79 IN DETROIT
Former Michigan Governor Succumbs To Heart Congestion; Server Three Terms as Executive

DETROIT, March 10 (AP) -- Former Gov. Alex J. Groesbeck, who served three terms as Michigan's chief executive, died shortly after noon today.

The 79-year-old Groesbeck entered Jennings Memorial hospital Friday. His physician said Groesbeck suffered a turn for the worse yesterday.

Groesbeck had suffered from a chronic heart condition for some time.

A Republican, Groesbeck was elected governor in 1920. He served three terms. Prior to entering the governor's office, Groesbeck served as Michigan's attorney general for two terms.

After his retirement from public life, the former governor devoted himself to a law practice and a variety of private interests in which he amassed a fortune.

Groesbeck, a bachelor, lived with a sister here.

He served three consecutive terms, longer than any other governor in Michigan with the single exception of Fred M. Warner, who also was chief executive for six straight years.

His father, Louis Groesbeck, was of both Dutch and French ancestry while his mother was a French woman, Julia Coquillard.

Mr. Groesbeck was born in 1873, in Warren township, Macomb county, and went to school in Mt. Clemens and later in Wallaceburg, Ont., where his parents lived for two years.

WORKED IN SAW MILL

When he was 13 years old the boy started to work in a saw mill, continuing until he was 17 when he began to study law in Port Huron with the firm of Stevens and Merriam. He entered the law school of the University of Michigan in 1892, graduating a year later. He then went to Detroit to practice his profession.

Mr. Groesbeck entered the political scene in 1916 when he was elected attorney general of Michigan on the Republican ticket. He was re-elected two years later. In the August primary of 1920 he was nominated for governor and in the following November was elected with more than twice as many votes as his Democratic opponent, Woodbridge N. Ferris.

Michigan history points to this ex-governor as one of the state's outstanding administrators. He was aggressive, progressive and dynamic.

BUILT ROADS

His regime is remembered for having "pulled Michigan out of the mud." The slogan was used in promoting passage of a huge bond issue to finance the building of a modern highway in the state, a program in which Groesbeck as a newly elected governor played a leading part.

After leaving Lansing re returned to Detroit where he continued to take an active interest in political affairs. He was formerly on the state civil service commission.  In addition to practicing as an attorney at law, he was president of teh Michigan Life Insurance company.

 

 

 

Published in Lansing State Journal (Lansing, Michigan) 10 Mar 1953

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