William C. McDonald (governor)

William Calhoun McDonald ( born July 25, 1858 in Jordanville, Herkimer County, New York, † April 11, 1918 in Santa Fe, New Mexico ) was an American politician and from 1912 to 1917 the first governor of the state of New Mexico.

Early years

William McDonald attended Cazenovia Seminary in New York. After a subsequent law degree, he was admitted to the bar in 1880. In the same year he moved to Lincoln County, New Mexico, which was still organized as a New Mexico Territory. There, he worked in various positions before he became ranchers with their own ranch. Previously, he had learned this craft in various other livestock farms.

Political rise

McDonald was a member of the Democratic Party. In 1881 he was commissioned on behalf of the Federal Government with the exploration of the mineral resources of the country. Between 1885 and 1887 he was assessor in Lincoln County. In 1891 he was elected to the Territorial Parliament; 1895 to 1897 he was employed by the district administration in Lincoln County. Between 1905 and 1911 he sat in the Veterinary Committee of the ranchers. Eventually, he became in 1910 chairman of the Democrats in his territory in the year. On November 7, 1911, he was elected with 51:46 percent of the vote to Republican Holm O. Bursum the first governor of the new state of New Mexico.

Governor of New Mexico

McDonald took office on January 6, 1912. His first task was to build a new government structure for his state. At the same time he had to deal with unrest on the border with Mexico. Mexico was deeply divided by revolutionary struggles inside in those years; Bandits took advantage of this for their criminal activities and crossed the border frequently to New Mexico and thus the United States. In 1916, the federal government even sent regular troops to protect the border.

After the end of his governorship McDonald was appointed during the First World War with the fuel management (Fuel Administrator) of New Mexico. He remained in this position until his death. William McDonald was married to Francis McCourt Tarbell, with whom he had five children.