Harold J. Arthur, Governor

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Harold John Arthur

Birthdate: (67)
Birthplace: Whitehall, Washington County, New York, United States
Death: July 19, 1971 (67)
Plattsburgh Air Force Base, Plattsburgh, Clinton County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Roma Sholes Arthur and Lamina Calista Wells

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Immediate Family

About Harold J. Arthur, Governor


Harold John Arthur (1904–1971) was the 68th Governor of Vermont from 1950 to 1951. He also served as the 62nd Lieutenant Governor of Vermont from 1949 to 1950.


Arthur was born in Whitehall, New York on February 9, 1904 and raised in Addison County and Rutland County, Vermont. He graduated from Albany Business College and worked for the Brandon National Bank and in other businesses before settling in Burlington. He was married to Mary C. (Alafat) Arthur (1904–2004), with whom he practiced law. They were the parents of a daughter, Portia.


From 1927 to 1929 Arthur worked as an assistant to Governor John E. Weeks. From 1928 to 1940 Arthur was associated with Warren R. Austin, working as a clerk and stenographer and then studying law in Austin's office. He obtained a law degree from La Salle Extension University, and then became an attorney in Burlington.

Arthur also worked for the Vermont House of Representatives for more than twenty years, rising to the position of chief clerk and parliamentarian, where he served from 1939 to 1949.

A member of the Vermont National Guard beginning in the 1920s, Arthur served in World War II and attained the rank of Major as a Judge Advocate General before retiring in 1964.

Arthur was the successful Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 1948, and served from 1949 to 1950.

Arthur became Governor when Ernest W. Gibson, Jr. resigned to become a federal judge. He did not seek election to a full term in 1950, running unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives and losing the Republican primary to Winston L. Prouty, whom Arthur had defeated for the Lieutenant Governor nomination in 1948.

Governor Arthur ran again for Congress in 1958, winning the Republican nomination and losing the general election to William H. Meyer, who became the first Democratic candidate to win a statewide or national office in Vermont since the founding of the Republican Party in the 1850s.

Death and legacy

Arthur died of cancer at Plattsburgh Air Force Base Hospital on July 19, 1971. He was a Unitarian, and is interred at a mausoleum in Burlington's Lakeview Cemetery.

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Harold J. Arthur, Governor's Timeline

February 9, 1904
Whitehall, Washington County, New York, United States
July 19, 1971
Age 67
Plattsburgh, Clinton County, New York, United States