Governor #6, Latham

Milton S. Latham’s five day tenure as governor remains the shortest in California history. Latham was a Le Compton (pro-slavery) Democrat who came West on the wave of the Gold Rush in 1850. He briefly served as Court Clerk Recorder in San Francisco, then as District Attorney for Sacramento 1850-1851, and as Customs Collector for the Port of San Francisco 1855-1857. Inaugurated as governor on January 9, 1860, within hours Latham began proposing to the state legislators, who at that time elected federal senators, that they select him to replace the late U. S. Senator from California David Broderick. This the legislature did, and Latham resigned as governor on January 14, 1860, although he lost his bid for reelection to the U.S. Senate after Broderick’s original term expired in 1862. Following this defeat, Latham joined the London and San Francisco Bank, residing first in Europe and later, in San Francisco. Throughout the late 1860s and into the 1870s, Latham earned recognition as a railroad baron when he helped finance the California Pacific and North Pacific Coast railroads. In 1879, he moved to New York City to assume the presidency of the New York Mining and Stock Exchange.  Milton Slocum Latham died in New York in 1882, aged 54.


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