William Stratton

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William Grant Stratton
32nd Governor of Illinois
In office
January 12, 1953[1] – January 9, 1961
Lieutenant John William Chapman
Preceded by Adlai E. Stevenson II
Succeeded by Otto Kerner, Jr.
Illinois Treasurer
In office
January 8, 1951 – January 12, 1953
Preceded by Ora Smith
Succeeded by Elmer J. Hoffman
In office
January 11, 1943 – January 8, 1945
Preceded by Warren Wright
Succeeded by Conrad F. Becker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's at-large district
In office
January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1949
Preceded by Emily Taft Douglas
Succeeded by At-large seat abolished
In office
January 3, 1941 – January 3, 1943
Preceded by John C. Martin & Thomas V. Smith
Succeeded by Stephen A. Day
Personal details
Born (1914-02-26)February 26, 1914
Ingleside, Illinois
Died March 2, 2001(2001-03-02) (aged 87)
Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois
Resting place Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Shirley Stratton
Residence Chicago, Illinois
Alma mater University of Arizona
Occupation Politician
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1945–46[2]
Rank Lieutenant
Battles/wars World War II

William Grant Stratton (February 26, 1914 – March 2, 2001),[3][4] known as "Billy the Kid", was the 32nd Governor of Illinois from 1953 to 1961, succeeding Adlai Stevenson II in that office.

Born February 26, 1914 in Ingleside, Lake County, Illinois, the son of William J. Stratton, an Illinois politician, and Zula Van Wormer Stratton, he served two non-consecutive terms as an at-large Congressman from Illinois, elected in 1940 and 1946. He was elected State Treasurer in 1944 and 1950. He won the Republican nomination for Governor in 1952, then defeated Lt. Governor Sherwood Dixon to become the youngest governor in America at that time.

Stratton was re-elected Governor in 1956. In 1960 he ran for an unprecedented third consecutive term, but was defeated by Democrat Otto Kerner, Jr.

Stratton was acquitted on charges of tax evasion in 1965.[5] In 1968, he ran in the Republican primary for Governor and was defeated by Richard B. Ogilvie.

In retirement, Stratton resided in Chicago. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Illinois Civil Service Commission.

He died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago on March 2, 2001, aged 87. Among his pallbearers were his successors as Governor, James R. Thompson, Jim Edgar, and George Ryan.

The following are named in his honor:


  1. Illinois Blue Book 1959–60. Springfield, Illinois: Illinois Secretary of State.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "STRATTON, William Grant, (1914–2001)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "William G. Stratton, 87, Illinois' 32nd governor..." Chicago Tribune. March 11, 2001. Retrieved June 29, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "William Stratton; Illinois Governor, 87". The New York Times. March 5, 2001. Retrieved June 29, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Stratton cleared of tax dodge
  6. William G. Stratton State Park, Illinois DNR
  7. Cavanagh, Bob (July 15, 2004). "The Stratton Building's midlife crisis". Illinois Times. Retrieved March 1, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Political offices
Preceded by
Adlai E. Stevenson II
Governor of Illinois
Succeeded by
Otto Kerner, Jr.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John C. Martin & Thomas Vernor Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's at-large congressional district

January 3, 1941 – January 3, 1943
Succeeded by
Stephen A. Day
Preceded by
Emily Taft Douglas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's at-large congressional district

January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1949
Succeeded by
At-large seat abolished