William Goebel ran for Governor of Kentucky in 1899. He was one of the most controversial men to have ever run for office in the State of Kentucky. He won the Democratic Party nomination and on Election Day the race was too close to call. He and his Republication opponent, William S. Taylor, claimed victory and charged the other with fraud. The Board of Election Commissioners declared that Taylor had won the election and in December he was inaugurated. However, the Democratic majority in the General Assembly voted to investigate the election to determine whether fraud and illegal military force had been used.
During the debate Goebel was shot, mortally wounded from a rifle bullet that had passed through his body. The state legislators voted to throw out the results of the election and declared Goebel governor on January 31, 1900. He was sworn in and on February 3, 1900, William Goebel died of his wounds; the only governor in American history to die in office as a result of an assassin. He had been chief executive of the commonwealth for three days.Return to Goble Artifacts