About George Franklin Fort
George Franklin Fort (June 30, 1809 – April 22, 1872) was a physician, politician, judge, and a Democrat who served as the 16th Governor of New Jersey from 1851 to 1854.
He was born near Pemberton, New Jersey. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1828, began to practice medicine, and in 1830, in Imlaystown, New Jersey, married Anna Marie Bodine, they had four children.
Fort's public career began when he was elected to the 1844 New Jersey Constitutional Convention as a Democrat from Monmouth County. At the convention, Fort supported universal suffrage, open eligibility for office, and popular election of all state and county officials. Later that year, he was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly, and, upon finishing a term, was elected to the New Jersey Senate, serving from 1846 through 1848. In 1850, he captured his party's nomination for Governor, and defeated the Whig candidate, John Runk (who had previously been a Congressman in the Twenty-ninth United States Congress). At that time, the Whigs were somewhat splintered, as some were adamantly opposed to the Fugitive Slave Law, while others were more aligned to the Democratic position that supporting the law was necessary in order to support the Union. Whigs also attacked Fort, with some justification, as being aligned too closely with the powerful railroad interests in the state. Nevertheless, the Whigs were not united, and Fort won the election fairly soundly.
During his gubernatorial term, major reform legislation passed, including the ten-hour work day, and child protection. At the end of his term, his Democratic successor, Rodman M. Price, appointed him as a judge. From 1863 to 1868 he served on the Court of Errors and Appeals. After that term, he resumed the practice of medicine. He lived close to the railroad office in New Egypt. He died on April 22, 1872, at his home in the New Egypt section of Plumsted Township. He was buried in the United Methodist Church Cemetery in Pemberton.
His nephew, John Franklin Fort was a Republican Governor of New Jersey, who served from 1908 to 1911.