Nellie Tayloe Ross
First Female Governor —
MISSOURI HAS NEVER HAD a woman governor. However, in 1925, a Missouri woman became governor of Wyoming.
Nellie Tayloe Ross was born in St. Joseph, Mo. in 1876. Her husband, William Ross, became governor of Wyoming in 1922. When he died after serving only two years of his term, the Democrats nominated Nellie to run in his place. Her campaign was nonexistent. She remained in mourning, in the governor’s mansion but she won by 8,000 votes.
While governor, she urged the legislature to continue shifting the tax burden to larger property owners; to improve mine safety regulations; to increase state investments for farm loans to struggling farmers; to restrict work hours for women as some progressive states had already done; and she urged the legislature to ratify the federal child labor amendment. She also called for a sound banking law, noting that 35 of the 120 banks in Wyoming had failed in the past year.
Her Missouri heritage and her Southern roots were evident in her home. Wyoming House Speaker J.G. Underwood noted that, "in my experience, no governor has handled these duties with greater courtesy, with greater accuracy or with more ability."
President Franklin Roosevelt, shortly after taking office, named her the first woman director of the United States Mint.