Governor Takes A Wife


Governor Takes A Wife


Governor John Crepps Wickliffe Beckham (1869-1940) was the first Kentucky governor to marry while in office. In 1900 he wed Jean Raphael Fuqua (1879-1962) from Owensboro, KY. At the time, Beckham was the youngest Kentucky governor and was sometimes referred to as the “Boy Governor.” He was the 34th and 35th Kentucky Governor, though at that time Kentucky governors could not serve consecutive terms. But, it was determined by the courts that since Beckham, the Lieutenant Governor, had not been a candidate or won the office of Governor in 1899, but had completed the deceased Governor William Goebel’s term, therefore Beckham was eligible to run for the office as a candidate in 1903. Beckham had also served four terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives and would go on to serve as a U.S. Senator. February-April of 1904, Beckham County, KY, was named in honor of J. C. W. Beckham. However, the county was dissolved after the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that the boundaries of the county were out of compliance. So, Beckham County, Oklahoma was named in his honor in 1907.


Rosser & McCarthy




1. “Beckham Married,” Evening Bulletin (Maysville), 1900-11-22, front page.
2. Harris & Ewing, photographer. BECKHAM, JOHN CREPPS WICKLIFFE. SENATOR FROM KENTUCKY, -1921. United States Washington D.C. District of Columbia Washington D.C, 1915. Photograph.
3. Morrill, Samantha. “A Moment in Kentucky History: The Beckham and Fuqua Wedding,” a Think History audio recording online at EKU Here and Now, January 14, 2020.
4. “Governor John Crepps Wickliffe Beckham,” a National Governors Association website. 


Reinette Jones, University of Kentucky Librarian & African American Studies Academic Liaison


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