Kentucky Governor, Judge. Born in Madisonville, Kentucky, he attended the Columbia Law School and graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1890. He was admitted to the bar and began to practice as a lawyer in Madisonville, Kentucky. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the office of State Treasurer in 1907 and for State Auditor in 1911. In 1912, he was appointed as the first Chairman of the State Insurance Rating Board. He became a judge for the Hopkins County Circuit Court from 1921 to 1931. Elected as a Democrat, he served as the 43rd Governor of Kentucky from 1931 to 1935. While Governor, he created a state sales tax, implemented a new public school code, and limited some of the powers of the Lieutenant Governor. He is best remembered for setting a state record for granting the highest number of pardons, which totaled 560, mostly issued to relieve prison crowding. He also set the record for the number of Kentucky colonels commissioned by a governor, including an honorary colonelcy granted to Harland Sanders, the founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain. He resumed his legal practice in Madisonville in 1940. Laffoon was also a member of the Democratic National Convention in 1932 and 1940 and a member of the Democratic National Committee in 1936. A member of the Freemasons, Shriners, Elks, and Woodsmen, he died at his residence in Madisonville in 1941 when he was 72 years old. He was the nephew of U.S. Congressman Polk Laffoon. The cabin where he was born has been restored, furnished to period, and is open to the public as a museum.
Bio by: K Guy
Mary Nisbet Laffoon