Alexander Monroe Dockery, physician, banker and Congressman for many years, was Missouri’s 30th governor. He announced for Governor in 1899 and on June 5, 1900, he was nominated by acclamation. Elected over Joseph Flory, Republican, and four other opponents, he served from January 14, 1901, to January, 1905.
Several important laws marked his administration: A beer inspection law was revised; preference was given to Missouri stone in erecting public buildings; franchises of public utilities were taxed; the first law for the consolidation of school districts was passed; entire new election laws, both general and primary, were enacted; and the Legislature appropriated $1 million for the St. Louis Louisiana Exposition of 1904, the largest sum voted by any state.
In January, 1905, at the end of his term, he returned to his home at Gallatin. In 1906, he was given an honorary LL.D. degree by the University of Missouri. He was elected treasurer of the Democratic State Committee of Missouri in 1912 and 1914. On March 10, 1913, he was appointed third assistant Postmaster General, serving from March 17, 1913, to March 31, 1921. He died at Gallatin on December 26, 1926, and was buried in Edgewood Cemetery at Chillicothe.
Dockery was born near Gallatin on February 11, 1845, to the Rev. Willis E. and Sarah Ellen McHaney Dockery. He attended local public schools and an academy in Macon City, which was closed in the Civil War. He studied medicine at Keytesville and then entered St. Louis Medical College, graduating March 2, 1865. He began the practice of medicine at Linneus, MO, before moving to Chillicothe in 1868, where on April 14, 1869, he married Miss Mary E. Bird. He practiced medicine in Chillicothe seven years, and served as the appointed physician of Livingston County. In 1872 he was named to the board of curators at the University of Missouri, serving 10 years. He gave up medicine and on March 20, 1874, returned to Gallatin.
From 1878 to 1882 he was chairman of the congressional committee of his district. He served Gallatin as a city councilman from 1878 to 1881 and as mayor from 1881 to 1883. Thus, he was mayor of Gallatin when the county seat town hosted the nationally known trial of outlaw Frank James. He was elected as a Democrat to Congress in 1882, and served eight consecutive terms, from March 4, 1883, to March 3, 1899.
Tragedy marked Dockery’s children: Six died in infancy and two others at an early age — a daughter at seven, and a son at three. Mrs. Dockery died January 1, 1903, in the Mansion at Jefferson City and was buried January 3, 1903, with her children in Chillicothe. Mrs. Dockery’s death was the third in the Mansion: Governor John S. Marmaduke in December, 1887, and Carrie Crittenden, daughter of Governor Thomas T. Crittenden during his administration. Mrs. Dockery was the first wife of a Governor to die while he was in office. Mrs. Al M. (Kate S.) Morrow was hostess for the rest of Dockery’s term.
Reprinted from the Official Manual, State of Missouri, 1963-64, pp. 23-24.