Foster M. Voorhees was the 30th Governor of New Jersey and served from 1899 to 1902. He was a Republican and had served in the New Jersey Senate from 1895 to 1898 representing Union County. During his tenure he was elected unanimously to the presidency of the NJ Senate and that led to him becoming Acting Governor of New Jersey on February 1, 1898. He became eligible for the acting governorship when John W. Griggs, the former governor resigned to become Attorney General of the United States.
Voorhees served as Acting Governor until October 18, 1898 when he resigned in order to run for election to Governor of New Jersey. He won the gubernatorial election and served as Governor of New Jersey from January 17, 1899 until January 21, 1902. Since NJ governors could serve for only one term he was not electable to another term.
During his governorship Voorhees was instrumental in establishing several organizations to improve the care of institutionalized children by placing them with families, possibly the beginning of what is now known as foster care. He also became a driving force to have US Senators elected by the popular vote instead of by the State Legislatures.
Three New Jersey entities are named after Voorhees and that undoubtedly has contributed to his fame. While in the NJ Senate or as governor he was instrumental in having a township in New Jersey named Voorhees Township. It is located in Camden County and received its name in 1899. The population of Voorhees Township was about 29,000 in the 2010 Census.
New Jersey also has a Voorhees High School and a Voorhees State Park. The latter two are located across the road from each other on County Road 315 in Hunterdon County. Voorhees High School in 2013 had about 1,000 students. Voorhees Park is about 1,400 acres and within the Park is Voorhees' former 325 acre farm which he had donated for the establishment of the Park.
Voorhees was a graduate of Rutgers College and graduated in 1876. Four years later in 1880 he was admitted to the New Jersey Bar, and began the practice of law.
During his life Voorhees was a representative of New Jersey to the Republican National Convention held in Philadelphia, PA. He also served as governor during the Spanish American War.
Foster M. Voorhees was born on November 5, 1856 in Clinton, NJ and passed away on June 14, 1927. He died of chronic myocarditis on his farm in High Bridge, NJ. He was 70 at the time of his death and was interred at Riverside Cemetery in Clinton, NJ.
Biography of Foster McGowan Voorhees, New Jersey State Library
Foster McGowan Voorhees, Wikipedia
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