Oliver Ames

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Oliver Ames
Gov-Oliver Ames 1885.jpg
35th Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 8, 1887 – January 4, 1890
Lieutenant John Q. A. Brackett
Preceded by George D. Robinson
Succeeded by John Q. A. Brackett
33rd Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 4, 1883 – January 8, 1887
Governor Benjamin F. Butler
George D. Robinson
Preceded by Byron Weston
Succeeded by John Q. A. Brackett
Massachusetts Senate[1]
In office
Town of Easton
School Committee[1]
Personal details
Born (1831-02-04)February 4, 1831
Easton, Massachusetts
Died October 22, 1895(1895-10-22) (aged 64)
Easton, Massachusetts
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Anna Coffin Ray
Profession Financier
Signature Oliver Ames's signature

Oliver Ames (February 4, 1831 – October 22, 1895) was a U.S. political figure and financier. He was the 35th Governor of Massachusetts (1887–1890). He was the son of Oakes Ames (1804–1873), a railroad baron and United States Congressman who was censured in the Credit Mobilier scandal, and the nephew of Oliver Ames, Jr..

Life and career

Ames was born in North Easton, Massachusetts on February 4, 1831, to Oakes Ames and Eveline Orville (Gilmore) Ames. His father was the owner of a shovel factory, which became the largest such business in the country. Ames was educated in the local schools, and then attended private academies in North Attleborough and Leicester. He was briefly employed in the family's factory before enrolling in Brown University.

Ames then entered the family business, where he learned all aspects of its manufacturing processes and worked as a traveling salesman. When his grandfather died in 1863 he became a partner in the business. During these years his grandfather, uncle, and father greatly expanded the business, investing in railroads and other industrial concerns. For ten years, Ames superintended the mechanical business of the establishment, and on his father's death assumed control of his numerous financial trusts, including shares in the Union Pacific Railroad.[2]

As his father's heir, Ames spent several years in paying off the obligations of millions of dollars incurred by the Union Pacific Railroad and other undertakings. He entered public life avowedly to vindicate his father's memory: he was lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts 1882-86, in 1883 obtained the vindicatory resolution he sought, and from 1886 to 1888 was governor.[3]

Together with his brother Oakes Angier Ames, Oliver created many important buildings and landscapes in North Easton with architect H. H. Richardson and landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted.


His son Oakes Ames (1874–1950) was a well-known American botanist and orchid expert.


Ames was elected an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity in 1917, by the fraternity's Alpha Chapter at the New England Conservatory in Boston. He is the only known honorary member known to be elected after his death.

The Easton, Massachusetts public high school is named Oliver Ames High School (OAHS).

He is the namesake of the small community of Oliver, Nebraska.[4]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Clarke, James W. (1885). "The Bay State Monthly A Massachusetts Magazine of Literature, History, Biography and State Progress Vol. II". Boston, Massachusetts: John N. McClintock and Company: 187<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Wikisource-logo.svg Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Ames, Oakes". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Ames, Oliver (son)". Encyclopedia Americana.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Fitzpatrick, Lillian L. (1960). Nebraska Place-Names. University of Nebraska Press. p. 87. ISBN 0-8032-5060-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> A 1925 edition is available for download at University of Nebraska—Lincoln Digital Commons.


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Byron Weston
Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
Succeeded by
John Q. A. Brackett
Preceded by
George D. Robinson
Governor of Massachusetts
Succeeded by
John Q. A. Brackett