Weeks, John W. (John Wingate), 1860-1926

Alternative names
Birth 1860-04-11
Death 1926-07-12

Biographical notes:

John Wingate Weeks (April 11, 1860-July 12, 1926) was an American politician in the Republican Party. He served as a United States Representative for Massachusetts from 1905 to 1913, as a United States Senator from 1913 to 1919, and as Secretary of War from 1921 to 1925. Weeks was born and raised in Lancaster, New Hampshire. He received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, graduating in 1881, and served two years in the United States Navy. Weeks made a fortune in banking during the 1890s, after co-founding the Boston financial firm Hornblower and Weeks in 1888. With his financial well-being assured, Weeks became active in politics, first at a local level in his then-home of Newton, Massachusetts (he served as alderman in 1899-1902 and as mayor in 1903-04), then on the national scene. As a member of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate, Weeks was notable mostly for his contributions to banking and conservation legislation, including the Weeks Act in 1911 that created the foundation for the United States National Forest system. Despite his defeat for re-election to the Senate in 1918, Weeks remained an active and influential participant in the national Republican Party. He was an early supporter of the nomination of Warren G. Harding for President in 1920, and when Harding became President, he named Weeks to his cabinet. As Secretary of War, Weeks was a competent, honest, and respected administrator and adviser, who guided the Department of War through its post-World War I downsizing. Weeks' hard work and long hours led to a stroke in April 1925, which led in turn to his resignation as Secretary in October of that year. Weeks died several months later, at his summer home on Mount Prospect in Lancaster, New Hampshire. That building is now open for tours as part of the Weeks State Park.

From the description of Weeks, John W. (John Wingate), 1860-1926 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10574064

Weeks was born in 1860 in Lancaster, N.H. He was graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1881 and was discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1883. He was an Assistant Land Commissioner for the Florida Southern Railroad, 1886-1888, and a partner in the firm, Hornblower & Weeks, 1888-1912. From 1890 to 1898 he commanded the 2nd Division, Auxiliary U.S. Naval Force on the Atlantic Coast. He served as a member of the Military Advisory Board of Mass. and the Military Board of Examiners, 1894-1900, and as a member of the Board of Visitors, U.S. Naval Academy during 1896.

Weeks was an Alderman in Newton, Mass., 1900-1902, and Mayor of Newton, 1903-1904. In 1905 he became chairman of the Republican State Convention in Mass. and was elected U.S. Congressman from the 12th District, Mass.; he was elected U.S. Senator from Mass. in 1913. He was a candidate for the presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in Chicago in 1916 but served as a senator until 1919. From 1921 to 1925 he was Secretary of War in the cabinets of President Harding and President Coolidge. He died in Lancaster, N.H. in 1926.

From the description of Papers, 1877-1926. (Dartmouth College Library). WorldCat record id: 237352373


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