Born: December 30, 1825 in Salem, IN
Died:July 14, 1892 in Sacramento, CA
Married: Ocativine C. Glover on February 9, 1892
Political Party: Republican (“Dolly Vardens”)
Newton Booth was raised in Indiana. He graduated from Asbury College in 1846 and then studied law. Booth moved to California in 1850 where he enjoyed success as a merchant and wholesale grocer before beginning his political career. Described as “above average in height, the slender and angular Booth had dark brown hair, blues eyes and wore a full beard. He dressed faultlessly and possessed agreeable and winning manners.”
In 1863, Booth served one year as State Senator. He was sworn into office as Governor on December 8, 1871. Construction of the state capitol completed and the state debt decreased during his term as Governor. In 1873, Booth helped organize a new independent republican political party, the "Dolly Vardens." The name, Dolly Vardens, came from a calico pattern of the time that was composed of many different colors and figures. Since this new political party was made up of a mix of “sore heads from any party or by any name,” the name seemed appropriate. With the support of the Dolly Vardens, Booth was elected to the U.S. Senate. He controversially remained in office as Governor until his swearing-in ceremony as Senator 18 months later. This questionable move prompted an attempt to amend the state constitution to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future.
A bachelor while in office, Booth married the widow of his former business partner in 1892. He died only five months later. Booth, considered one of the great public speakers of his day, died of cancer of the tongue.
Father: Beebe Booth
Mother: Hannah Pitts
Wife: Octavine C. Glover
Governor Booth was the uncle of Booth TarkingtonGovernor Booth had proclaimed Berkeley the "Athens of the West”
Books and Articles
Melendy and Gilbert. The Governors of California: From Peter H. Burnett to Edmund G. Brown, Talisman Press, 1965.
Schaechtele. The Governors of California and their Portraits, California State Capitol Museum Volunteer Association, 1995.
Tinkham. California Men and Events: Time 1769 – 1890, Record Publishing, 1915.FLASHES FROM THE WIRES. Los Angeles Times; Feb 10, 1892
Find out more about the time period and interests of Newton Booth
Speeches given by Governor Booth