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Treasures of the Archives: Gov. Elisha P. Ferry’s Oath of Office, Oaths of Office Series, 1889

Gov. Elisha P. Ferry’s Oath of Office, Oaths of Office Series, 1854-2009, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives.

Gov. Elisha P. Ferry’s Oath of Office, Oaths of Office Series, 1854-2009, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov.

With another election year come and gone, it is good to reflect on the men and women who have taken up the reins of office in our state’s history. Elisha P. Ferry was sworn in on November 18th 1889 as the first Governor of the brand-new state of Washington, and above is his hand-written oath of office. A careful eye may notice subtle differences between the official constitutional oath of office and the one written by Ferry. In the state constitutional oath, the Governor is charged to “support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the state of Washington”. Ferry mistakenly reversed the order of wording, putting state before country. He also added “so help me God” to the oath. Ferry could perhaps be forgiven for flubbing the details of his oath, as the constitution of Washington was not yet two months old. This and many more oaths of office can be found within the Oaths of Office Series in the Digital Archives. For those seeking more information on our first governor, the Washington State Archives also possesses many records from his administration, a portrait photograph, photographs of his inauguration, and even his death records.