Open main menu

John Henry Gear (April 7, 1825 – July 14, 1900) served as the 11th Governor of Iowa, a United States Representative and a member of the United States Senate.

John Henry Gear
John Henry Gear - Senator.jpg
United States Senator
from Iowa
In office
March 4, 1895 – July 14, 1900
Preceded byJames F. Wilson
Succeeded byJonathan P. Dolliver
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1887 – March 3, 1891
Preceded byBenton J. Hall
Succeeded byJohn J. Seerley
In office
March 4, 1893 – March 3, 1895
Preceded byJohn J. Seerley
Succeeded bySamuel M. Clark
11th Governor of Iowa
In office
January 17, 1878 – January 12, 1882
LieutenantFrank T. Campbell
Preceded byJoshua G. Newbold
Succeeded byBuren R. Sherman
Member of the Iowa House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1825-04-07)April 7, 1825
Ithaca, New York
DiedJuly 14, 1900(1900-07-14) (aged 75)
Washington, D.C.
Political partyRepublican


Born in Ithaca, New York, he attended the common schools and moved to Galena, Illinois, in 1836, to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, in 1838, and to Burlington, Iowa, in 1843, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits. He was elected mayor of Burlington in 1863 and as a member of the Iowa House of Representatives from 1871 to 1877, serving as Speaker for two terms.

Gear was Governor of Iowa from 1878 to 1882. He was elected as a Republican to represent Iowa's 1st congressional district in the U.S. House for the Fiftieth and Fifty-first Congresses, serving from March 4, 1887, to March 3, 1891. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1890, but was appointed by President Benjamin Harrison as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, serving from 1892 to 1893. He returned to the U.S. House for one final term, winning the 1892 1st district election, then serving in the Fifty-third Congress, from March 4, 1893, to March 3, 1895.

In 1894, Gear was elected by the Iowa General Assembly to the United States Senate. He was reelected in 1900. He served from March 4, 1895, until his death on July 14, 1900, before the start of his second term. He had been chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Pacific Railroads in the Fifty-fourth through Fifty-Sixth Congresses.

He died, aged 75, in Washington, D.C., and his interment was in Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington.

See alsoEdit


  • United States Congress. "John H. Gear (id: G000110)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  •;view=1up;seq=5 Memorial addresses on the life and character of John Henry Gear late a senator from Iowa delivered in the Senate and the House of Representatives frontispiece 1901
Political offices
Preceded by
Joshua G. Newbold
Governor of Iowa
Succeeded by
Buren R. Sherman
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Benton J. Hall
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 1st congressional district

March 4, 1887 – March 3, 1891
Succeeded by
John J. Seerley
Preceded by
John J. Seerley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 1st congressional district

March 4, 1893 – March 3, 1895
Succeeded by
Samuel M. Clark
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
James F. Wilson
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Iowa
Served alongside: William B. Allison
Succeeded by
Jonathan P. Dolliver