Washington Territory Governor. The son of United States Senator James Semple, he was born when his father was Charge d'Affaires in Columbia. Eugene Semple graduated from the Cincinnati College Law School in 1863, moved to Oregon, and became Editor and Publisher of the Portland Daily Herald. From 1870 to 1873 he was Oregon's State Printer. Having lost his investments and savings in the Panic of 1873, he moved to eastern Oregon, where he farmed until 1887, when President Grover Cleveland nominated him to be Governor. He served until 1889, a period when the territory's population doubled, and during his term he dealt with labor unrest and the expansion of Washington's government and school system. He also signed a bill enabling women to vote, which was overturned by the territory's Supreme Court. In 1889 Washington attained statehood, and Semple was the Democratic nominee for Governor, losing to former territorial Governor Elisha Ferry. After leaving office, he was involved in the unsuccessful promotion of canals from Shilshole Bay to Lake Washington and Astoria to Seaside, Oregon. He moved to a San Diego, California hotel in early 1908 in an attempt to improve his health, and died there of pneumonia.
Bio by: Bill McKern
Ruth Adalaide Blanchard Hoyt