About James O. Davidson, Governor
James Ole Davidson (February 10, 1854 – December 16, 1922) was the 21st Governor of the U.S. state of Wisconsin.
Jens Ole Davidson was born in Årdal, Sogn og Fjordane County, Norway. He immigrated in 1872 to the United States when he was 18 years old. He began a successful mercantile business and established his own tailor business in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin.
Davidson was twice elected village president there, which led him to the Wisconsin State Assembly, serving three terms as a Republican from 1893 to 1899. He was elected Wisconsin state treasurer in 1898 and 1900. In 1902, and again in 1904, Davidson was elected the 19th Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin alongside governor Robert M. La Follette, Sr. On January 1, 1906, La Follette resigned to join the United States Senate, making Davidson acting governor. He was elected governor in 1906 and reelected in 1908. During Davidson's tenure, state regulation of the railroads was extended to include public utilities, telegraph, telephone, electricity, water companies, and the insurance industry.
After retiring from office, he was appointed by his gubernatorial successor to a five-year term as president of the State Board of Control. Davidson died in Madison, Wisconsin, at age 68 due to pneumonia and heart complications.