Last week, four local Pike County women paid tribute to former Missouri Governor Elliot Woolfolk Major, who served as the Governor of Missouri from 1913-1917. Pictured above at Governor Major’s gravemarker in the City Cemetery is Patti Crane, Melissa Kempke, Donna Prior and Nina Long. During his four years as Governor, Major would launch what would become the Missouri Department of Transportation; enact legislation that created the state’s board of pardons, the commission for the blind, and the state’s public service commission.
By all accounts, former Missouri Governor Elliot Woolfolk Major was a trailblazer.
During his tenure as Governor, there is a old-tale that says that in order to determine the location of highway maintenance sheds for the newly-formed state highway department, he sent a pair of men with a team of Missouri mules in every direction from Jefferson City. The men were ordered to mark on a map, how far they could travel in one day. The locations would later become the sites of highway maintenance sheds.
Pike County Treasurer Patti Crane loves that story about Governor Major.
“I just am amazed that in 1913, he had the vision to see that we needed an organized system of highways and roads in our state,” Crane said in an interview with the Bowling Green Times. Crane was one of four women who gathered last week to pay tribute to the late Governor, who ended his term as Governor 100 years ago this year. “I just think of how intelligent and caring he had to have been, to not only create our state’s first highway department, but to also ensure that Missourians understood that we have a commitment to care for and to educate blind Missourians.”
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