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Joseph Poindexter

Joseph Poindexter
8th Territorial Governor of Hawaii
In office
March 2, 1934 – August 24, 1942
Appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt
Preceded by Lawrence M. Judd
Succeeded by Ingram Stainback
Personal details
Born Joseph Boyd Poindexter
April 14, 1869
Canyon City, Oregon
Died December 3, 1951(1951-12-03) (aged 82)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Spouse(s) Margaret Conger
Children Everton
Alma mater Wesleyan University
Washington University in St. Louis

Joseph Boyd Poindexter (April 14, 1869 – December 3, 1951) was the eighth Territorial Governor of Hawaii and served from 1934 to 1942.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Gubernatorial accomplishments 2.1
  • Later life 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Fraternal memberships 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7

Early life

Joseph Boyd Poindexter was born in Canyon City, Oregon to Thomas W. and Margaret Pipkin Poindexter. He attended Wesleyan University and earned his LL.B. degree from Washington University in St. Louis. He was admitted to the Montana Bar in 1892,[1] and served as County Attorney of Beaverhead County, Montana from 1897 to 1903. He later served as a district judge in Montana from 1909 to 1915, and as Attorney General of Montana from 1915 to 1917.[2][3]


In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Poindexter as Judge on the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. Poindexter served in that capacity from May 14, 1917 to February 16, 1924. He then practiced law in Hawaii until 1934. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Poindexter the eighth governor of Hawaii on January 30, 1934.[4][5]

A joint Congressional Committee visited Hawaii in 1937 and submitted a report in February 1938 recommending a plebiscite for Hawaii statehood. The plebiscite, held on November 5, 1940, resulted in the voters recommending statehood for Hawaii.

Poindexter was reappointed to the governorship by Roosevelt in March 1938; he became only the second governor to that point to serve more than one term of office.

In the immediate aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Poindexter placed the territory under martial law and allowed the U.S. military to form a military government.[6][7] The military government would continue until 1943. After his term expired, Poindexter remained in office until August 24, 1942, when his successor, Ingram Stainback, was confirmed.

Gubernatorial accomplishments

An editorial at his death credited Poindexter with a balanced budget, improved civil service and wage laws that regulated child labor and improved public health and welfare. During his administration the Hawaii Housing Authority was established, and projects such as the "Mayor Wright homes" (named for

Political offices
Preceded by
Lawrence M. Judd
Territorial Governor of Hawaii
1934 - 1942
Succeeded by
Ingram Stainback
  • Dyer, C.Y. (editor), Biographical Sketches of Hawaii's Rulers, 8th ed. (Honolulu: Bishop National Bank of Hawaii, 1957), p. 34-35.

Further reading

  1. ^ "TERRITORIES: Poindexter in Paradise". Time. 12 February 1934. 
  2. ^ "Political Graveyard". Lawrence Kestenbaum. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Siddal, John William (1917 orig, reprint 2010). Men of Hawaii: Being a Biographical Reference Library, Complete and Authentic, of the Men of Note and Substantial Achievement in the Hawaiian Islands, Volume 2. Nabu Press. p. 214.  
  4. ^ Krauss, Bob (1994). Johnny Wilson: First Hawaiian Democrat. University of Hawaii Press. p. 236.  
  5. ^ Rayson, Ann (2004). Modern History Of Hawaii. Bess Press. p. 122.  
  6. ^ Whitehead, John S; Cronon, William; Lamar, Howard R;  
  7. ^ Chambers, John (2006). Hawaii (On the Road Histories). Interlink Publishing Group. pp. 243–245.  
  8. ^ "An Elk for Governor: J. B. Poindexter". Honolulu Elks Lodge No. 616. Retrieved December 6, 2010.  credited to Honolulu Advertiser December 7, 1951


Fraternal memberships

Poindexter married Margaret Conger in Dillon, Montana on April 22, 1897. The couple had two children, Everton and Helen.[3]

Personal life

Poindexter resumed his law practice after leaving the governorship. In July 1943, the Hawaii Supreme Court appointed him a trustee of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate (now Kamehameha Schools), in which capacity he served until his death in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 3, 1951.

Later life


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