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Territorial Governor Herbert Hagerman

Born on December 15, 1871 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of James John, a mining executive, and Anna Hex (Osborne) Hagerman. Of German ancestry, Hagerman never married.

Hagerman attended school in Milwaukee and studied for a time at Colorado College. He received a B. Litt. degree in 1894 and an LL.B. degree in 1895 from Cornell University. After practicing law in Colorado Springs, Colorado, he served from July 1898 to March 1901 as Second Secretary of the United States Embassy in St. Petersburg, Russia. He engaged in ranching and fruitgrowing at Roswell, New Mexico from 1901 to 1905.

Hagerman was appointed Governor of New Mexico Territory on November 24, 1905, and took office on January 22, 1906. Among the achievements of his governorship were an anti‑gambling law, an irrigation law, and a land law. The revenue laws of the territory were also compiled and revised during his administration. Despite these achievements, the politically naive Hagerman alienated prominent Republicans in the territory, when he became engaged in a conflict with HoIm O. Bursum, Chairman of the Territorial Republican Committee and Superintendent of the Penitentiary. Hagerman eventually removed Bursum from his territorial position.

His opponents were soon quick to seize upon a controversy in which Hagerman became involved. The territory’s extractive industries had circumvented the 160-acre limitation on land grants by having workers acquire adjoining 160‑acre plots. Employees of the Pennsylvania Development Company, the Santa Fe Central Railway, and the New Mexico Fuel and Iron Company, had purchased thousands of acres of valuable timberland in Valencia County in this manner. After Hagerman ratified the purchases by turning over deeds to these corporations, President Theodore Roosevelt, hoping to improve the political situation in the territory, used the incident to demand Hagerman’s resignation in April 1907. From May 3 to August 8, 1907, Territorial Secretary J. W. Raynolds served as Acting Governor.

Following his period as chief executive, Hagerman returned to manage his Roswell ranch. He did resume public service from 1919 to 1921, when he served as Chairman of the Special Revenue Commission of New Mexico, and from 1923 to 1932, when he was Special Commissioner in negotiations with various tribes in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. Hagerman died on January 28, 1935 at Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Sources Used:

Herbert J. Hagerman, A Statement in Regard to Certain Matters Concerning the Governorship and Political Affairs in New Mexico in 1906‑1907 (Roswell, N.M., 1908);

Herbert J. Hagerman, Letters of a Young Diplomat (Santa Fe, 1937);

Howard R. Lamar, The Far Southwest, 1846‑1912: A Territorial History (New Haven, 1966);

Robert W. Larson, "The Profile of a New Mexico Progressive," New Mexico Historical Review, 45 (July 1970), 233‑44.

 

The Hagerman Papers are in the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives in Santa Fe and the National Archives in Washington, D.C.