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John Hugo Aronson (September 1, 1891 – February 25, 1978) was an American politician from the Republican Party and the 14th Governor of the State of Montana.[1]

J. Hugo Aronson
14th Governor of Montana
In office
January 4, 1953 – January 4, 1961
LieutenantGeorge Gosman
Paul Cannon
Preceded byJohn W. Bonner
Succeeded byDonald G. Nutter
Member of the Montana Senate
In office
Member of the Montana House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1891-09-01)September 1, 1891
Gällstad, Västergötland, Sweden
DiedFebruary 25, 1978(1978-02-25) (aged 86)
Columbia Falls, Montana, United States
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Matilda Langane (1919–1936)
Rose McClure (1944–1968)
OccupationOil-field worker, businessman


John Hugo Aronson was born in Gällstad, Älvsborg County, Sweden. He was one of five children born to Aron Johanson (1856–1927) and Rika Ryding Johannsen (1857–1940). His education was limited and attained in the public schools of his native country. In 1911 he immigrated to the United States, where he traveled to numerous states, working various odd jobs, arriving in Montana during 1914. Aronson was married twice, to Matilda Langane and then to Rose McClure.[2]


In 1915 Aronson filed for a 320-acre (1.3 km2) homestead in Elk Basin, Montana. He eventually settled in Sunburst, Montana and became established in the oil rigging business. In 1922 oil was discovered in the Kevin Sunburst Oil Field in Toole County, among the richest Montana's natural gas and oil fields. Aronson operated his own rig-building outfit. He soon added a trucking business to the rig-building company and started advertising as "The Galloping Swede".[3][4][5] Aronson first entered politics as alderman of the Cut Bank, Montana City Council, a position he held from 1934 to 1938. He served as a member of Montana House of Representatives in 1938 and the Montana Senate in 1944.

Aronson ran for Governor of Montana in 1952, challenging incumbent Democratic Governor John W. Bonner, whom he ended up narrowly defeating. When he ran for re-election in 1956, he was opposed by State Attorney General Arnold Olsen, whom he defeated by a slim margin to win his second and final term as governor. During his tenure, the state forestry office was restructured; a gasoline tax was initiated that funded the highway department; prison reform programs were instituted; a legislative council was founded. Aronson authorized the exclusive revenue for the state Highway Department with the creation of state gasoline user taxes. Governor Aronson also authorized the creation of the Legislative Council to assist the legislative branch in the creation of necessary law.[6]


After completing his term, Aronson stayed active in Republican politics. In 1968, he served as the honorary state campaign chairman for the presidential race of Richard Nixon. Aronson died in the Veterans Hospital at Columbia Falls, Montana, exactly ten years after his wife's death. He was buried in Pleasant View Cemetery, Mondovi, Lincoln County, Washington.


  1. ^ John Hugo Aronson. "J. Hugo Aronson". Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  2. ^ "J. Hugo Aronson". National Governors Association. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  3. ^ Helena, Montana. "J. Hugo Aronson papers". Montana Historical Society Research Center. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  4. ^ "The Kevin Sunburst oil fields". Montana Travel & Tourism Information. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  5. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: J. Hugo Aronson". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  6. ^ Montana Governor John Hugo Aronson (National Governors Association) Archived January 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine

Further readingEdit

  • Aronson, J. Hugo and L.O. Brockmann. The Galloping Swede. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Co., 1970

External linksEdit