Ernest Lister

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Ernest Lister
Governor Ernest Lister.jpg
8th Governor of Washington
In office
January 11, 1913 – February 13, 1919
Lieutenant Louis F. Hart
Preceded by Marion E. Hay
Succeeded by Louis F. Hart
Personal details
Born (1870-06-15)June 15, 1870
Halifax, England
Died June 14, 1919(1919-06-14) (aged 48)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Alma Thornton

Ernest Lister (June 15, 1870 – June 14, 1919) was the eighth Governor of the state of Washington.


Born in Halifax, England, Lister immigrated with his family in 1884, to be near his uncle, who was mayor of Tacoma, Washington.


Lister began working as an iron-molder in his brother's foundry in Tacoma. He operated a foundry and woodworking shop as well as working in real estate and insurance. He owned Lister Construction Company from 1903 to 1912, and President of Lister Manufacturing Company.[1] He married Mary Alma Thornton on February 28, 1893, and they had two children, Florence and John Ernest. He was elected to the Tacoma City Council in 1894 as a Populist. After a successful management of Governor John Rankin Rogers' campaign in 1896, Lister was appointed chairman of the State Board of Control.

Lister became the only elected Democrat (but the first to be elected outright into the office as a member of that party) in Washington's executive branch of government when he was elected in 1912. He was sworn into the office on January 11, 1913, re-elected in 1916, and remained in it until his death six years later. As governor, he supported agricultural aid, irrigation and reclamation projects, and state industrial accident insurance. He vetoed legislation that would have denied civil rights to members of the Industrial Workers of the World. And his efforts helped bring the eight-hour work day to the Pacific Northwest. He became ill during his second term and relinquished his office to the Lieutenant Governor.[2]


Lister died one day before his forty-ninth birthday,[3] on June 14, 1919, from heart and kidney disease, in Seattle, Washington. He is interred at Tacoma Cemetery, Tacoma, Washington.[4]

See also


  1. ^ "Ernest Lister". Washington Secretary of State. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  2. ^ "Ernest Lister". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  3. ^ "Ernest Lister". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  4. ^ "Ernest Lisster". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved October 11, 2012.

Further reading

  • Meany, Edmond S (1915). Governors of Washington : territorial and state. University of Washington. Available online through the Washington State Library's Classics in Washington History collection

External links

  • Washington Secretary of State
  • Ernest Lister at Find a Grave
  • The Political Graveyard
  • National Governors Association

Political offices
Preceded by
Marion E. Hay
Governor of Washington
Succeeded by
Louis F. Hart
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