Clarence Joseph Morley (February 9, 1869 – November 15, 1948) was the 24th Governor of Colorado from 1925 to 1927, serving one two-year term. He was a Republican. Before becoming governor he was a judge in Denver, Colorado. He was a member of the Ku Klux Klan which was an important force in Colorado politics during the 1920s and largely responsible for the division of the Republican and Democratic votes that enabled him to take office.[1]

Clarence Joseph Morley
24th Governor of Colorado
In office
January 13, 1925 – January 11, 1927
LieutenantSterling Byrd Lacy
Preceded byWilliam E. Sweet
Succeeded byBilly Adams
Personal details
Born(1869-02-09)February 9, 1869
Dyersville, Iowa
DiedNovember 15, 1948(1948-11-15) (aged 79)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Political partyRepublican

Tenure as governorEdit

Morely took office on January 16, 1925, in a ceremony at the Municipal Auditorium in Denver.[2]

Virulently anti-Catholic, Morley was one of the most extreme governors in Colorado history.[3] The Center for Colorado & the West at the Auraria Library wrote:

His vitriol toward all things un-American was thinly veiled as an attack on Catholics, and further, on immigration. His goal wasn’t simply to eliminate the use of demon alcohol by banning the use of sacramental wine; it was to stop key elements of Catholic practice, thus the religion itself. Morley espoused the view that if public schools weren't good enough for Catholic children, then Catholics should not teach in public schools. He agitated for the University of Colorado to fire all non-Protestant (that is, Catholic and Jewish) professors.[3]

Morely's administration was marked by "scandals and ineptitude."[4]

Mail fraud convictionEdit

After leaving office, Morley established C.J. Morley & Company, a stock brokerage firm in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1935, Morley was arrested on charges from mail fraud; he was convicted for 21 counts of mail fraud and using political influences to defraud customers. Sentenced to five years in Leavenworth Prison, he died three years after being released. He is buried in Denver at Fairmount Cemetery.[5]


  1. ^ Colorado State Archives
  2. ^ Clarence J. Morley is Inaugurated Governor, Kiowa County Press (January 16, 1925).
  3. ^ a b Lynn Bartels, Bob Beauprez bypasses KKK member, attacks Hickenlooper as most "extreme" governor, Denver Post (March 4, 2014).
  4. ^ Ed Quillen, Welcome to Kolorado, Klan Kountry at Colorado Springs Independent (May 22, 2003).
  5. ^ Governor Clarence Morley, National Governors Association.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
William Ellery Sweet
Governor of Colorado
Succeeded by
William Herbert Adams