About Roy Elmer Ayers
Roy Elmer Ayers (November 9, 1882 – May 23, 1955) was a U.S. Democratic politician. He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives and as the 11th Governor of Montana. He was the first governor of Montana to be born in what became the state of Montana.
Ayers was born on a ranch near Lewistown, Montana and attended the rural schools in the area. He attended Lewistown High School and graduated from the law department of Valparaiso University in 1903. He was admitted to the bar the same year and commenced practice in Lewistown, He also became engaged in ranching and the raising of livestock. On June 7, 1905 he married Ellen Simpson and the couple had three children.
Ayers served as attorney of Fergus County, Montana from 1905 to 1909, and Judge of the Tenth Judicial District of Montana from 1913 to 1921. He was the Justice of the State supreme court from January 1922 until his resignation on November 22, 1922, when he resumed ranching and the private practice of law in Lewistown.
During the First World War, Ayers served as chairman of the Fergus County Exemption Board. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1920 and 1940, and to every State Democratic Convention from 1906 to 1940. Ayers was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Montana and served from March 4, 1933 to January 3, 1937.
After securing the Democratic nomination, Ayers was elected as the 11th Governor of Montana. He was sworn into office on January 4, 1937, and served to January 6, 1941. During his administration, he oversaw the expansion of the state bureaucracy, signed a bill to give the governor new powers in directing state government, the state deficit was eliminated, and state bond interests were lowered.
After ending his political career, Ayers returned to ranching. He died in Lewistown, Montana, and was interred at the Lewistown City Cemetery in 1955