1877 : William Alfred Comstock, 33rd Governor of Michigan, is Born

July 2, 2018 all-day

Comstock was born on July 2nd 1877 in Alpena, Michigan. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1899. While at the University of Michigan he joined the fraternity Zeta Psi. Within the fraternity he created something known as “The Vision of Bill Comstock.” His vision was to unite all of the Zeta Psi chapters across the country by creating a newsletter called the Circle. He started the paper in 1909.

After graduating from the University of Michigan he began began building his non-political career which included real estate, banking and railroad construction.

In 1911 Comstock entered politics as an alderman of Alpena and as the Democratic county chairman. From 1913 to 1914 he was the Mayor Alpena. He became a member of the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee, an affiliate of the Democratic National Committee. He served as the chairman from 1920 to 1924. From 1924 to 1930 he served as a member of the Democratic National Committee.

Starting in 1924 Comstock served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. He voted for the Democratic nominee for the 1924, 1928 and 1932 conventions. The nominees in 1924 and 1928 were unsuccessful, the 1932 nominee, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the only one of the three nominees who were successful.

Comstock’s attempts to become Governor of Michigan mirrored the Presidential nominees he voted for at the conventions. In the 1926, 1928 and 1930 Gubernatorial elections in Michigan, Comstock was unsuccessful in his campaigns. In 1932 he successfully beat the incumbent governor to become the 33rd Governor of Michigan. During his time as Governor he established an old age pension system which would later fail. He also established an eight-day bank holiday, similar to the Emergency Banking act that was signed into law by President Roosevelt. The “holiday” closed the banks to prevent a run on the banking institutions in Michigan.

After leaving office Comstock served as a member of Michigan Civil Service Commission from 1939 to 1940, and as a member of the Detroit City Council from 1942 to 1949.

Comstock passed away on June 16th, 1949.

Source : Today in Masonic History, July 2, 1877

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