Born: December 25, 1852 in Geneva, NY
Died: August 28, 1924 in Los Angeles, CA
Married: Francisca V. Rains on July 15, 1880
Political Party: Republican
When Henry was a young man, his family moved from New York to Michigan where his father was an attorney and later a judge. Henry followed in his father’s footsteps and was admitted to the Michigan bar when he was 21. Around 1874, Henry moved to California. He worked as a sheep dealer before he returned to the practice of law. He had a very successful law practice. Henry represented several large corporations including the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1881, Henry was elected to serve as Los Angeles City Attorney.
Gage's term as Governor was rocky. When bubonic plague broke out in San Francisco, he publicly denied the existence of the plague, only to be proven wrong. Later, he negotiated a major labor strike by threatening to impose martial law if both sides did not compromise. Still later, Gage would go down to the waterfront dressed in a disguise and mingle with the stevedores in order to assure himself that no violence was brewing. When a newspaper printed a cartoon of railroad king C.P. Huntington leading Gage around on a leash, Gage retaliated by signing two pieces of legislation, the “anti-cartoon bill” and the “signature bill,” that required all articles that questioned the integrity or reputation of a politician to be signed. Gage was not nominated for a second term and left office on January 6, 1903.
On December 21, 1909 President Taft appointed Gage the U.S. Minister to Portugal, a post he held until November 19, 1910. Governor Henry Gage died on August 28, 1924, and is buried in a mausoleum at the New Calvary Cemetery.
Father: Dewitt C. Gage
Mother: Catherine A. Glover
Wife: Francisca V. Rains
Children: Fanita, Lucilla, Francis, Volney, Arthur, Henry
Gage traced his family history in American back to 1625 on his paternal side and to 1618 on his maternal side.
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.