Myron T. Herrick
Myron Herrick (1854-1919) was governor of Ohio from 1904 to 1906.
Ohio governor and American ambassador Myron T. Herrick was born in Huntington, Ohio, on October 9, 1854. His parents were Timothy Herrick and Mary Hulbert Herrick. Coming from a relatively poor background, Herrick worked his way through school. He attended Oberlin College for a time. He also taught school and worked as a newspaper journalist in St. Louis, Missouri. After saving several hundred dollars, Herrick returned to Ohio. He enrolled in Ohio Wesleyan University for two years, before moving to Cleveland to study law. Herrick gained admittance to the Ohio bar in 1878 and set up his legal practice in Cleveland.
Herrick soon became a prominent member of the community. He was involved in a number of business interests, including the Cleveland Hardware Company and the National Carbon Company. He also became the director of the Euclid Avenue National Bank. His business dealings caught the attention of prominent Republicans, such as Marcus Hanna, and Herrick became involved in local politics as well. In 1885, Herrick was elected to the Cleveland City Council. His service to the local Republican Party meant that Herrick became influential in the state party as well.
In 1903, Herrick successfully ran for governor against Tom L. Johnson, an influential Progressive reformer. Herrick won the election by more than 113,000 votes. His electoral success did not mean that his term as governor went smoothly. The Republican Party in Ohio was divided into a number of factions at this time, and it was impossible for Herrick to please all of them. The governor devoted significant attention to the state's fiscal resources, but these efforts were not enough to gain his reelection. He became unpopular after vetoing a bill that would have allowed betting at racetracks as well as Brannock Bill, which would have allowed communities to decide for themselves whether to allow alcohol sales. Ultimately, his stance on these issues, along with the divisions within the state Republican Party, led to his defeat in 1905. Democrat John M. Pattison unseated Herrick in the election. At this point, Herrick returned to Cleveland and began to pursue his business interests once again.
Because of his prominence within the Republican Party, Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt each offered Herrick the position as United States ambassador to Italy. Herrick had turned down both offers. In 1912, President William Howard Taft offered him the ambassadorship to France. This time, Herrick accepted the offer. Herrick remained as French ambassador until November 28, 1914. By this time, Woodrow Wilson had become president, and World War I had begun in Europe. During the war, Herrick continued to serve his country in less official capacities. He was greatly loved by the French people, and the French government awarded him the French Legion of Honor cross.
When World War I ended, Herrick returned to the United States. He ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate in 1920, before once again being appointed as American ambassador to France in 1921. Herrick died in France on March 31, 1929. Because of its appreciation for Herrick's devoted contributions to strengthening diplomatic ties between the United States and France and his efforts to help France rebuild after the war, the French government returned Herrick's remains to the United States on the cruiser Tourville.