I’ll be around

(This is the fifth in our series recounting the history of inaugurations.  It includes a lengthy list that is here for the historical record.)

When Eric Greitens becomes Governor of Missouri, there will be six living former governors: Nixon, Blunt, Holden, Wilson, Ashcroft, and Bond.

In 2009, when Jay Nixon took office for his first term there were seven living former governors: Blunt, Holden, Wilson, Ashcroft, Bond, Teasdale, and Hearnes.  Hearnes died later that year and Teasdale died in 2014.  The last time there were that many living former governors was when Arthur M. Hyde was inaugurated in 1921.

But has there been a time when there were more than seven?

We’ve combed some records to see if there ever was a time there were more than seven living former governors at the start of a new administration.  And the answer is yes.

John Sappington Marmaduke (inaugurated in 1885) had eight living former governors when he took office, including John Cummins Edwards, who was the youngest governor in state history when he took office in 1844.  His predecessor, Thomas Crittenden, also had eight living predecessors when he was sworn in in 1881.  Charles Hardin (1875) had eight living predecessors.  When Hamilton Gamble took over at the start of the Civil War after Claiborne Jackson fled to the Confederacy, there were eight predecessors including Jackson.

In 2009, when Jay Nixon took office there were seven living former governors: Blunt, Holden, Wilson, Ashcroft, Bond, Teasdale, and Hearnes.  Hearnes died later that year and Teasdale died in 2014.  The last time there were that many living former governors was when Arthur M. Hyde was inaugurated in 1921.

Here’s some miscellaneous information about governors as we get closer to getting a new one

Governors before age 40:

Bond (first term) 33 years 10 months 2 days   Born 3/6/1939   Inaugurated 1/8/73

Blunt  34 years 1 month 21 days    Born 11/20/1970  Inaugurated 1/10/2005

Folk 35 years 2 months 12 days     Born 10/28/1869  Inaugurated 1/9/1905

Hadley  36 years 10 months 20 days   Born 2/20/1872 Inaugurated 1/9/1909

Fletcher  37 years 11 months 11 days  Born 1/22/1827  Inaugurated 1/2/1865

Stephens  38 years 22 days      Born 12/21/58   Inaugurated  1/11/1897

Edwards  38 years 4 months 26 days   Born 6/24/1806   Inaugurated 11/20/1844

Bond, Blunt, Folk, and Fletcher are the only governors to complete a term before they were 40.  Fletcher’s term was only two years under the constitution then in effect and Bond was defeated in his first re-election before winning a second term four years later.

Most Living Governors at time of governor’s inauguration:

8–John Marmaduke 1885, Crittenden 1881, Hardin 1875, Gamble 1861, C. F. Jackson 1861

7—Nixon 2009, Hyde 1921, Gardner 1917, Phelps 1877, Woodson 1873, Brown 1871, McClurg 1869, Hall 1864

Fewest living governors at time of inauguration:

0—McNair 1820 (first state governor)

1—Bates 1825, Williams 1825, Miller 1828

2—Bond 1973, Bond 1981. Dunklin 1832, Miller 1825

Governors living to see the most successors:

*15–Edwards 1844

10—Fletcher, 1865, McClurg 1869

9—MM Marmaduke 1885, King 1848, Major 1913

8—Polk 1857, Crittenden 1881, Park 1933, Hearnes 1965 (Greitens will be the eighth successor to Christopher Bond’s first term)

*Edwards’ remarkable record included 1857 when Trusten Polk resigned to go to the U.S. Senate after less than two months in office and Lt. Gov. Hancock L. Jackson served long enough to call the special election that put Robert Stewart in office; Claiborne F. Jackson’s abdication when he fled to the Confederacy after a year in office, the post-Civil War period when Governors had only two-year terms, the death of John Marmaduke and the succession of Albert Morehouse

Here’s a complete list if you’re up to reading all the way to the end:

Living Former Governors at each inauguration:

Greitens 2017—Nixon, Blunt, Holden, Wilson, Ashcroft, Bond  6

Nixon 2013—Blunt, Holden, Wilson, Ashcroft, Bond, Teasdale (d. 2014)   6

Nixon 2009—Blunt, Holden, Wilson, Ashcroft, Bond, Teasdale, Hearnes (d. 2009)   7

Blunt 2005—Holden, Wilson, Ashcroft, Bond, Teasdale, Hearnes  6

Holden 2001—Wilson, Ashcroft, Bond, Teasdale, Hearnes   5

Wilson 2000—Ashcroft, Bond, Teasdale, Hearnes  4

Carnahan 1997—Ashcroft, Bond, Teasdale, Hearnes  4

Carnahan 1993—Ashcroft, Bond, Teasdale, Hearnes   4

Ashcroft 1989—Bond, Teasdale, Hearnes   3

Ashcroft 1985—Bond, Teasdale, Hearnes  3

Bond 1981—Teasdale, Hearnes  2

Teasdale 1977—Bond, Hearnes, Donnell (d. 1980)  3

Bond 1973—Hearnes, Donnell  2

Hearnes 1969—Dalton (d. 1972), Donnell, Stark (d. 1972)  3

Hearnes 1965—Dalton, Donnell, Caulfield (d. 1966), Stark  4

Dalton 1961—Blair (d. 1962), Donnelly (d. 1961), Smith (d. 1962), Caulfield, Stark   5

Blair 1957—Donnelly, Smith, Caulfield, Stark   4

Donnelly 1953—Smith, Donnell, Stark, Caulfield  4

Smith 1949—Donnell, Stark, Caulfield, Major (d. 1949)    4

Donnelly 1945—Stark, Caulfield, Park (d. 1946), Major, Hyde (d. 1947)   5

Donnell 1941—Stark, Caulfield, Park, Major, Hyde    5

Stark 1937—Caulfield, Park, Major, Hyde  4

Park 1933—Caulfield, Major, Hyde, Gardner (d. 1933), Baker (d. 1933)    5

Caulfield 1929—Major, Hyde, Baker, Gardner      4

Baker 1925—Major, Hyde, Hadley (d.1927), Dockery (d. 1926), Francis (d. 1927), Gardner  6

Hyde 1921—Major, Hadley, Dockery, Francis, Folk (d. 1923), Stephens (d. 1923), Gardner   7

Gardner 1917—Major, Hadley, Dockery, Francis, Folk, Stephens Stone (d. 1918)  7

Major 1913—Hadley, Dockery, Francis, Folk, Stephens, Stone   6

Hadley 1909—Dockery, Francis, Folk, Stephens, Stone, Crittenden (d. 1909)  6

Folk 1905—Dockery, Francis, Stephens, Stone, Crittenden   5

Dockery  1901—Francis, Stephens, Stone, Crittenden  4

Stephens 1897—Francis, Stone, Crittenden, McClurg (d. 1900), Fletcher (d. 1899)   5

Stone 1893—Francis, Crittenden, McClurg, Woodson (d. 1896), Fletcher    5

Francis 1889—Morehouse (d. 1891) Crittenden, McClurg, Woodson, Hardin (d.1892) Fletcher   6

*Morehouse 1887—Crittenden, McClurg, Woodson, Hardin, Fletcher, Edwards (d. 1888)  6

John Marmaduke 1885—Crittenden, McClurg, Woodson, Hardin, Fletcher, Phelps (d. 1886), Brown (d.1885) Edwards   8

Crittenden 1881—McClurg, Woodson, Hardin, Fletcher, Phelps, Brown, Hall (d. 1882), Edwards  8

Phelps 1877—McClurg, Woodson, Hardin, Fletcher, Brown, Hall, Edwards  7

**Hardin 1875—McClurg, Woodson, Fletcher, Brown, Hall, Edwards, Polk (d. 1876), H. Jackson (d. 1876)   8

**Woodson 1873—McClurg, Fletcher, Brown, Hall, Edwards, Polk, H. Jackson   7

**Brown 1871—McClurg, Fletcher, Hall, Edwards, Polk, H. Jackson, Stewart (d. 1871)  7

**McClurg 1869—Fletcher, Hall, Edwards, Polk, H. Jackson, Stewart, King (d. 1870)   7

Fletcher 1865—Hall, Edwards, Polk, H. Jackson, Stewart, King, Price (d. 1867)  7

*Hall 1864—Edwards, Polk, H. Jackson, Stewart, King, Price. MM Marmaduke (d. 1864) 7

*Gamble 1861—Edwards, Polk, H. Jackson, King, Price, C. F. Jackson (d. 1862), MM Marmaduke, Stewart  7

C. F. Jackson 1861—Edwards, Polk, H. Jackson, Stewart, King, Price, MM Marmaduke, Boggs (d.1860) 8

Stewart 1857—Edwards, Polk, H. Jackson, King, Price, Boggs, MM Marmaduke   7

*Hancock Jackson 1857—Edwards, Polk, King, Price, Boggs, MM Marmaduke   6

Polk 1857—Edwards, King, Price, Boggs, MM Marmaduke   5

Price 1853—Edwards, King, Boggs, MM Marmaduke 4

***King 1848—Edwards, Boggs, MM Marmaduke 3

Edwards 1844—Boggs, MM Marmaduke, Dunklin (d. 1844), Miller (d. 1846)   4

*MM Marmaduke 1844—Boggs, Dunklin, Miller  3

Reynolds 1840—Boggs, Dunklin, Miller   3

Boggs 1836—Dunklin, Miller, Williams (d. 1839)  3

Dunklin 1832—Miller, Williams   2

Miller  1828—Williams   1

*Miller 1825—Williams, McNair (d. 1826)  2

*Williams—1825—McNair  1

Bates—1824—McNair   1

McNair—1820—First state governor (Missouri admitted to the Union August 10, 1821)

*Morehouse succeeded John Marmaduke, who died in office

*Hall succeeded Hamilton Gamble, who died in office

*Gamble was installed in office July 31 1861 after Governor Jackson fled to the Confederacy

*Hancock Lee Jackson was Lt. Governor when Polk resigned in 1857 after serving the shortest term of any Missouri Governor to become a U. S. Senator. Jackson served until October, 1857 when Robert M. Stewart was sworn in after a special election.

*Meredith Miles Marmaduke succeeded Thomas Reynolds, who committed suicide Feb. 9, 1844.

*John Miller succeeded Frederick Bates, who died in office, and Abraham J. Williams, who became acting governor because Bates’ Lt. Governor, Benjamin Reeves, had resigned to join a surveying party for the Santa Fe Trail.

*Senate President pro Tem Abraham J. Williams served only long enough to call a special election to replace Frederick Bates, who had died.

**The 1865 Missouri Constitution limited governors to two years in office. The 1875 Constitution restored four-year terms

***King was elected on November 7, 1848 and sworn in thirteen days later, serving more than four years before Price’s term began with the now customary January inauguration.

The governors club

(This is the fourth in our series—we don’t know how many there will be eventually—leading to the inauguration of the state officials.)

January 20, 1953 was the day the nation’s most prestigious club was founded.  One claim says it’s the WORLD’s most exclusive group.  It has no clubhouse. No golf course.  No tennis courts. No swimming pool.  Today it numbers only four members.  A potential fifth member is weeks away from becoming qualified.

The club’s founding began on the day Dwight Eisenhower was inaugurated President.  Harry Truman met former President Herbert Hoover on the inaugural platform and Hoover said, “I think we ought to organize a former presidents club.”  Truman responded, “Fine.  You be the President of the club and I will be the Secretary.”

Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy have written in The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity, “Truman was a mortal enemy of Hoover’s, but he also knew that only Hoover had the experience and stature to overhaul the executive branch to meet the challenges of the nuclear age. As a result of their partnership, the Hoover Commission, which Congress created, Truman sanctioned, and Hoover chaired, produced the greatest transformation of the presidency in history…Every president who followed would have reason to thank them.”

When President Trump takes office in less than two months, there will be only five people alive who bore the burdens of leading the world’s greatest nation.  They are bound together by history.

Today the club includes two Bushes, a Carter, and a Clinton.  The most members it has ever had is six, when it had two Bushes, a Carter, a Clinton, a Ford, and a Reagan. Congress has passed legislation giving the Presidents Club formal recognition, with certain privileges.

Presidents, regardless of their differences with their predecessors, often have called on members of the club for advice and sometimes for specific missions. Some have grown close—Clinton and George H. W. Busch, for example.  Truman and Hoover for another.

When Eric Greitens becomes Governor of Missouri, there will be six living former governors: Nixon, Blunt, Holden, Wilson, Ashcroft, and Bond.

A Missouri Governors Club exists only as a list of men who have held the office.  We know of no suggestion that the six living former governors would be interested in some kind of formal recognition of their shared executive experience. But they share a great deal in common.  Leading Missouri government, whether it has been for a few weeks, or for eight years has given them a perspective on power, opportunity, and obligation that no one else has. Would Governor Greitens profit from recognizing them, even calling them together from time to time, or simply calling them individually?   Only he will know if such a thing would be useful.  Only he will decide if there is value in a Missouri Governors Club, unofficial though it might be.

Our recollection is that it’s a tradition for the incoming governor to invite all former governors to take part in the inauguration but we do not recall a time when all of them did.  One special inauguration does come readily to mind—when Christopher Bond was sworn in for his first term in 1973, he invited the last previous Republican governor to be part of the event. And Forrest C. Donnell, who was sworn in later than usual in 1941 because of a dispute about the certification of the election, was there and stayed up real late for the celebration.  He was 88 by then, 95 when he died in 1980.

History awaits the governor Missouri will inaugurate on January 9.  But history remains in six men who have sat behind the desk Eric Greitens will sit behind.  And history is a useful thing to call upon in making decisions that will shape the future.

The learning curve of the newbies

(Part three of our series leading up to inauguration day looks at the loss of experience Missouri faces in its top offices and ponders what fresh attitudes might mean.)

College students used to call it “cramming.”  Maybe they still do.  “All-nighters,” some said, referring to last-day, around-the-clock studying for finals, sometimes trying to make up for leisure approaches to the books during the semester.

It occurs to us that several of our elected people are having something of an equivalent experience in these weeks leading up to their assumption of office.  We’re trading a lot of experienced leaders for a new group that has a lot to learn before inauguration day and will learn a lot in the first year afterwards.


Jay Nixon is leaving the governorship after eight years in that office, sixteen years as Attorney General, and six years in the Missouri Senate.  Thirty years of experience in state government.  Replacing him is Eric Greitens who has never held elective office.

Peter Kinder holds the record as the longest-serving Lieutenant Governor in Missouri history and is just the second person elected to three terms.  Frank Harris, first elected in 1933, died during his third term in 1944, a few days before he would have finished twelve years.  Before becoming Lieutenant Governor, Kinder was a state senator for twelve years.   To illustrate how times have changed, remember this: Kinder was the only Republican elected to statewide office in 2008.  Next month, the only people on the inauguration platform who will raise their right hands in the chill January air will be Republicans. Kinder will be replaced by Mike Parson, a sheriff in Polk County for twelve years before serving six years in the Missouri House, and six years in the Missouri Senate.  Kinder leaves with 24 years in state office.  Parson comes in with 24 years in elective office, half of that time in the legislature.  Although a newbie in statewide office, he’s no stranger to elective positions or to the state government process.

Jason Kander leaves the Secretary of State’s office after four years there and four years at a state representative.  He’s made it clear we haven’t seen the last of him although what that means is open to some speculation that has been fueled recently by a trip to Iowa for a major speech.  His replacement is Jay Ashcroft, who has never held elective office before—although he knows some of the pressures and pleasures of doing so by growing up as his father served as Missouri Auditor, Attorney General, Governor, and U. S. Senator. Looking ahead, we should note that there has been only one time in Missouri history when the son of a former governor was elected to that position.  John Sappington Marmaduke (elected in 1885, died in office in 1887) was the son of Meredith Miles Marmaduke (who became governor in 1844 after Thomas Reynolds committed suicide).

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel became Missouri’s youngest State Treasurer in more than a century when he took office eight years ago at the age of 35.  He was in the House for six years before that. He decided fourteen years in state politics is enough, at least for now.  His successor, Eric Schmitt, won’t be the youngest but is likely to lay quick claim to being the tallest.  He leaves the state senate after eight years.  He was a city alderman in Glendale for four years before that.  Schmitt has enjoyed claiming that he is the tallest person ever to serve in the state senate although our research suggests there was a senator early in the last century who might have been just as tall.  For more on that controversy, you can check our investigative piece on the old Missourinet Blog, http://blog.missourinet.com/2014/04/04/bmis/.

Chris Koster steps down after eight years as Attorney General, four years in the Missouri Senate, and ten years as a county prosecutor.  He’ll be replaced by Josh Hawley who has not held elective office before.

All of this means that three of the five statewide offices that will be filled on inauguration day will be taken over by people who have never served in elective office. We will leave it to another person to determine if this is unique in Missouri history.  It certainly seems to be in our experience.

The raw numbers, which are interesting if not particularly meaningful in terms of measuring capability to do a job, look like this:  Missouri is losing 88 years of experience in state-level office experience and getting twenty years of state-level office experience.

To round things out, we note that State Auditor Nicole Galloway, whose office comes up for election in the off-year of 2018, was the Boone County Treasurer for four years before becoming Auditor less than two years ago.

This is the first time since 1993 that new people will be sworn into these five offices on inauguration day. Mel Carnahan became Governor in ‘93. Roger Wilson was Lt. Governor.  Judy Moriarty became Secretary of State. Bob Holden became Treasurer.  Jay Nixon became Attorney General.

This is only the fifth time in sixty years that we’ve had a turnover of all five offices.  It has happened only seven times in the last 88 years.

The five relative newbies who will take office next month know they will assume a state with a lot of problems, as their predecessors knew they were inheriting the state’s problems. This will be an interesting, maybe an exciting, time for Missouri as we see how government is viewed through fresh eyes and shaped with new hands.

Rookie camp

Newly-elected state representatives have finished a week of rookie camp.  There’s a more formal name for it, but that’s what it is—a week getting to know state institutions and facilities, names and places, finding out where their offices are and where the bathrooms are in the capitol, learning the protocols of being a state rep including how to address one another during debate, how to introduce legislation, and who are some of the people in the hallways who will be their new best friends.

The House has asked your correspondent to come in at the end of rookie camp and talk about the capitol press corps and their relationship to it, the history of the capitol and the legislature, and to admonish these new folks to do nothing that would embarrass themselves, the legislature, or their families back home while they’re serving.

Afterwards we split the group into two segments for behind the scenes tours.  Dana Miller, the Assistant Chief Clerk of the House (also Chairman of the State Capitol Commission) took one group and I took the other, then we switched.  She led her group through some of the hidden spaces of the building and I took my group into the public areas.

The tours gave both of us a chance to talk about the condition of the Capitol—and there’s a lot to talk about these days.  More than a year ago the legislature set aside forty million borrowed dollars to make long-delayed repairs to critical parts of the building’s substructure. The first part of that work was completed during rookie camp, the rebuilding of the south front steps, the east steps, the terraces and the carriage entrance.  For years water has leaked through increasingly chipped steps into the Capitol basement, weakening the entire area and contributing to mold problems in the basement where a lot of people work, eat, and hold hearings.  Several other much-needed repairs also have been made.

Next summer will see the start of phase two that will include repairs to the building’s exterior stone work, rebuilding the plaza on the river side of the building, repairs to the Fountain of the Centaurs, and more terrace work.

My part of the tour involved showing the folks some of the architectural features and decorations on the interior.  While the exterior of the building is getting the repairs and restorations it deserves, the interior continues to deteriorate.  We looked at several places of peeling paint, unrestored paintings by great artists, and poorly-lighted areas that keep visitors from enjoying and learning Missouri history from the artwork that makes our capitol unique.  We talked about the plans that began almost two decades ago to restore the interior of the building, plans that were stopped with the terrorist attacks in 2001 that forced diversion of the millions of dollars set aside for that work to make up for state government’s revenue loss in the wake of the economic drop after the attacks.

It’s hard to know where the restoration of our state’s greatest symbol will go next as it moves through its centennial era to the 100th anniversary of its dedication in 2024.  The bonding money will be used up by the second phase of superstructure work. The state budget is unlikely to grow, or grow very much, in coming years because of the current tax structure while financial demands for basic services and operations are expected to keep growing.  Given priorities such as education, health, mental health, prisons, and social services, it’s hard to think there will be much left over to make the inside of the Missouri Capitol the jewel its designers and builders wanted it to be.

The new people that voters elected to represent them in the legislature got a taste of the enormity of their obligations, possibilities, and responsibilities—as well as the possible pitfalls that await them—during rookie camp.

It has dawned on this observer that he covered his first story in the capitol in 1967, fifty years after the ancestors of today’s legislators held a one-day meeting in the unfinished House and Senate chambers so lawmakers who would not be back for the next session two years later could say they had served in the new capitol.  That means that I have covered and watched people like these rookies for half of the building’s history.  So I took the liberty to sermonize:

State capitols are intended to be grand representations of the greatness of their states. They are intended to be inspirations to citizens, statements of democracy, and symbols of the permanence, the stability, and the power of a state to care for and to protect its people.  The very motto of our state is carved in Latin on the south front: “Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law.”  Not a few people.  ALL of the people.

Understanding that you are here to protect and care for ALL of the people, not just the powerful few who have the capacity to make you feel important will be one of your greatest challenges.

It is easy to speak in phrases of nobility and inspiration, statements of democracy and so forth because it is always easier to speak of nobility and dignity and greatness than it is to recognize shortcomings, deterioration, and decay.

So I urge you to see your capitol in its entirety and be unafraid to acknowledge that it suffers from inattention; that it is easy to say, “My office is fine” while ignoring a cracked column at the top, the quick and easy slathering-on of coat after coat of paint that covers problems but robs the building of its beauty and character, to ignore the cracked and peeling paint, the mold and leakage problems in the basement.  Notice your capitol and reflect on what else it says about government’s attitude toward its people—and whether you will spend your career just slathering on a coat of paint that covers, but will not solve, problems and masks a dingy reality that is easily ignored.  For in truth, this building also represents Missouri in ways too many choose to ignore.  Its deteriorating structure, its peeling paint, and its unrestored great works of art carry a message of needs unmet, problems uncorrected, responsibilities avoided, and obligations covered over. 

So welcome to OUR capitol.  But it is YOUR responsibility.  And it is not just the capitol; it is the entire state that is your responsibility.

There will be thirty-nine new members of the House and one person in the Senate who has not served in the legislature before when the General Assembly convenes under new state leadership in a few days.  While some see glasses half empty, we choose to see them half full—of opportunities that come with the fresh eyes of those who went through legislative rookie camp and those who are still going through their own rookie camps called transition.

So we lift our half-full glass.  Here’s to the rookies!

Protecting the guv

(Editor’s note:  We are now less than a month away from inaugurating a new governor.  We’ve gone back through the notes we have used to cover the dozen inaugurals we’ve covered and we’ve looked at some things we didn’t include in our coverage manuals to assemble several pieces that focus on the new governor and the ceremony that will put him in office. Our “Transitions” entry on November was the first in the series.  This is the second):

My old friend “Cutter” Short, who used to hang around reporters at the Capitol years and years ago, back when the reporters were in Rooms 200 and 318, sent an email after reading the “Transition” entry a few days ago and reading the mention of the security arrangements the new governor will have to deal with.  “Dalton told Amos and me in ’66 that until ’63 he had no protection.  After that, a trooper rode with him but that was about it as I recall,” he wrote.

He was talking about Governor John Dalton (1961-65) and United Press International bureau chief Rael Amos.  Until then, Missouri Governors walked around and drove around pretty much as they pleased, with a couple of exceptions.   

Governor Thomas T. Crittenden (1881-85), who persuaded railroad interests to post $5,000 reward for arrest of Jesse James, kept his .44 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver in his desk.  The pistol is now held by the state museum. 

Governor Lloyd Stark (1937-41) didn’t carry a gun as far as we know, but the Highway Patrol assigned troopers to escort him and to protect the Governor’s Mansion because Stark was working with federal authorities to prosecute a big fraud case in the Insurance Department that ultimately brought down Kansas City boss Tom Pendergast—and several death threats had been received.

Otherwise, governors didn’t have security details.  

The Highway Patrol’s history recounts that Superintendent Hugh Waggoner one day early in 1963 summoned Trooper Richard Radford to his office and told him to report for duty the next morning in civilian clothes.  They went to Governor Dalton’s office where Waggoner introduced Radford to Dalton as his full-time security officer.  Waggoner took the steps because Dalton had gotten death threats.  There was no training available for Radford so he made things up as he went along. 

The security for Dalton’s successor Warren Hearnes, was increased.  Hearnes liked to fly, so the Patrol provided a plane and a pilot who doubled as a security officer.  As time went by, the duties were separated so there was a pilot and a security officer when Hearnes wanted to fly. 

Christopher Bond got a death threat not long after he was elected as the youngest governor in Missouri history.  He issued an executive order not long after taking office in 1973 establishing a special unit within the Highway Patrol to provide protection around the clock. 

Joseph Teasdale increased security at the Governor’s Mansion because prison inmates worked there and he, as a former prosecutor, wanted to make sure he and his family were safe.

There is at least one time when a governor traveled without a security officer—well, twice, that we know of.  One is a personal story. 

Governor Carnahan got his own pilot’s license and one night showed up at the Columbia Flying Service office wanting to fly to Hermann.  Somebody had to fly the plane back to Columbia because Carnahan was going to meet his wife, Jean, and their security officer, have dinner in Hermann and fly on to a fundraiser in St. Louis.  Your correspondent’s son, Rob, was a flight instructor at the time so he flew to Hermann with the Governor.  The Carnahans had him join them for dinner before he flew back.   

Another time Governor Carnahan flew without a Highway Patrol security officer was October 16, 2000.  The security division, as the Patrol puts it, had been “pressed to the limit of its manpower” and chose not to put an officer on the plane but have someone meet the governor when he arrived in New Madrid for a fund-raising event.  Later that evening a Highway Patrolman on duty at the mansion had to tell Jean Carnahan what had happened.  

It was difficult to identify the remains in the wreckage which is why, today, Governor Greitens and his family members will be fingerprinted and will give DNA samples. 

Security was stepped up after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  The legislature passed a law in 2005 creating the Governor’s Security Division to protect the Governor and his immediate family and to provide transportation. 

What began with one trooper whose only equipment was “a suit, a concealed weapon, and an unmarked car,” is now a corps of specially-trained Highway Patrolmen whose job for at least the next four years is to keep Missouri’s human state SEAL and his family safe. 

The survivors who weren’t at Pearl Harbor

On this 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I want to tell you about two people who were at the other end of that story.

In 1974, I met an old man who ran a sandwich shop and pinball arcade in Jefferson City.  He had been the first news director of the local radio station I was working for then (just before the creation of The Missourinet) and I had gone to interview him about the days when the station went on the air twenty years earlier.  After we talked about those times, I asked him how he wound up in Jefferson City and for the better part of an hour, Bud Wills and his wife, Phyllis, told me life stories that were jaw-dropping.

Phyllis was born in Canada, raised Japan by English missionary parents, and returned to what was then called Formosa when it was in Japanese hands in the early 1930s.  Bud had gone to Japan about 1928 to work for an English-language newspaper for three years and had stayed after the contract ran out.  In 1938 he and an unidentified American “with money” founded another English-language newspaper, Japan News Week, about the time the increasingly nationalistic Japanese government was putting other English-language newspapers out of business.  About the same time, Bud became the CBS correspondent in the Far East.

In that role, he covered the Japanese war with China, which many consider the real beginning of World War II when it started with the Japanese invasion in 1932. The same year that Bud founded his newspaper, CBS began its World News Roundup program that is best known for building the reputations of the Murrow Boys because of their reports as Europe disintegrated into war.   Forgotten in the telling of the story of the Murrow Boys is the non-Murrow Boy who often concluded the Roundup with his report “from halfway around the world” describing Japan’s increasing threat to peace in the Pacific, W. R. Wills.

Bud and Phyllis were at the home of a Tokyo friend, as usual, on Sunday night, December 7 (Tokyo time) for dinner and evening card-playing.  But instead of card-playing that night the group of people sat around the fire and somberly discussed when they thought war would begin with the United States.

A month, two months, said the others.  “Sooner than you think,” forecast Bud.

A heavy knock on his door at 5:30 next morning awakened him. He found officers of the Kempeitai, the Japanese Gestapo, there to arrest him.  As the bombs were falling at Pearl Harbor, Bud, Phyllis, and about sixty other American and British citizens were being arrested.  Bud and Phyllis were among those taken to the high-security Sugamo Prison (those who have read the Louis Zamperini story, Unbroken, will recognize the place).

They were held in small cells where they had to sleep on mats that would be rolled to the side during the day so they had some small space in which to pace.  They were forced to be in a squatting position for hours each day during interrogation.  Bud lost some teeth from being slapped repeatedly.  Phyllis suffered eye problem to her dying days because of the lights that were always on.  Both suffered from the cold in their unheated cells during the Japanese winter.

She didn’t learn about Pearl Harbor until about Christmas.  He didn’t learn about it until later.

Finally, in June, they were convicted of espionage—Phyllis being the first white woman convicted in a Japanese court of that charge.  He faced two years of hard labor; she, one.  But the sentences were stayed because the Swiss government at last had arranged an exchange of Japanese diplomats for American and British prisoners.  They left Tokyo by ship in June and didn’t land in New Jersey until August. They were married in Canada in September.


A few years later they wound up in Steeleville, Missouri running a weekly newspaper. In 1954, they came to Jefferson City where Bud worked in radio for a brief time and eventually ran his sandwich and arcade shop. Phyllis became a journalism teacher at Lincoln University, and the foreign student advisor.

I interviewed them in 1974, the year Bud turned 81.  Phyllis, more than fifteen years younger, still spoke with her English accent.

Both died in 1977. Few people, if any, in Jefferson City remember Bud and Phyllis Wills today.  Fewer, perhaps nobody, ever heard them tell their story about being some of the first American POWs of World War II.  They were at the other end of the geography of the Pearl Harbor story.   And the interview that day in that little cubbyhole business at 626 East High Street in Jefferson City is the only recording ever made of them relating their experiences.

When I left the radio station to put a news department together for the Missourinet, I left that interview and many others I had done for the station’s 20th anniversary in one of two boxes of material gathered for a series of commemorative programs that were never produced because of my exit.  As the years went by and the station moved a few times and was sold a few times, old files and old boxes of recordings went into dumpsters.  The Bud and Phyllis interview is in a landfill somewhere now.

BUT:  Not long after I did that interview, their son, Bill, asked for a copy of  the recording and a few months later as I was passing through Indianapolis on a trip, I stopped by his house and gave it to him.  Shortly before my retirement two years and five days ago, a friend—Steve Morse, the chief engineer at Missourinet affiliate KWOS—dropped by my newsroom with a manila folder that had the typed transcripts I had made of all the interviews I had done more than forty years earlier.  The transcript of the Bud and Phyllis interview was in it. Steve and a friend had rescued one of the boxes from the dumpster but the other was gone before they got there.

I wondered if Bill Wills was still around and if he still had the dub of that lost interview.  I tracked him down through the internet, dropped by his home in Carmel, Indiana a few weeks later, and he arranged to provide a copy of the interview.  And he has provided me with a lot more.  I’ve been digging around since then for even more of their story. Someday I’ll be able to tell it to you, I hope.

The CBS World News Roundup is America’s longest-running network newscast. The Murrow Boys are legends in broadcast journalism history.  But there was somebody else who was there at the beginning.  And he and his wife told me their story that day long, long ago.

Bud & Phyllis, taken mid 70's

(Thanks to Bill Wills for the clipping and for the photograph of Bud and Phyllis about the time they told me their stories)