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List of Mayors of St. Louis

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Subject: St. Louis, William Carr Lane, John Fletcher Darby
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List of Mayors of St. Louis

Mayor of the City of St. Louis
Flag of St. Louis, Missouri
Term length
Four years
Inaugural holder William Carr Lane
Formation 1821
Salary $120,250[1]
Website Office of the Mayor

The Mayor of the City of St. Louis is the chief executive officer of St. Louis' city government. The mayor has a duty to enforce city ordinances and the power to either approve or veto city ordinances passed by the board of alderman.[2]

Forty-five individuals have held the office of mayor of St. Louis, four of whom—William Carr Lane, John Fletcher Darby, John Wimer, and John How—served non-consecutive terms. The most terms served by a mayor was by Lane who served 8 full terms plus the unexpired term of Darby. The current mayor is Francis G. Slay, who took office April 17, 2001, and who won a fourth four-year term on March 5, 2013. As of April 27, 2013, he is the longest-serving mayor of St. Louis. The second-longest serving mayor was Henry Kiel, who took office April 15, 1913 and left office April 21, 1925, a total of 12 years and 9 days over three terms in office. Two others—Raymond Tucker, and Vincent C. Schoemehl—also served three terms as mayor, but served seven fewer days. The shortest serving mayor was Arthur Barret who died 11 days after taking office.

Duties and Powers

St. Louis was incorporated as a city on December 9, 1822, shortly following the state of Missouri's admission to the Union four months prior. In accordance with its new charter, the city changed its governance to a mayor-council format and elected its first mayor, William Carr Lane, April 7, 1823.[3]


The mayor is elected for four years during the general municipal election, which is held every two years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in April. Primary elections are held in March prior to the general municipal election. The mayor is usually sworn during the first session of the Board of Alderman two weeks after the election. The next election for mayor will be in 2013.

Under the original city charter, the mayor was elected to a one-year term. The mayor served a two-year term after the adoption of a new city charter in 1859.[4] The mayor's office was extended to its present four-year term after passage of the Charter and Scheme in 1876 which separated the City of St. Louis from St. Louis County.[5] The mayor is not term limited.


If the office of mayor becomes vacant through death, resignation, recall, or removal by the board of alderman, the president of the board of alderman becomes mayor until a special mayoral election can be held; if the office is only temporarily vacant due to disability of the mayor, the president only acts out the duties of mayor. Should both offices be vacant, the vice-president of the board of alderman becomes mayor.[2]

Five people have acted as mayor: Wilson Primm following the resignation of John Darby; Ferdinand W. Cronenbold following the resignation of Chauncey Filley; Herman Rechtien following the death of Arthur Barret; George W. Allen following the resignation of David Francis; Aloys P. Kaufmann following the death of William Becker.

List of Mayors and Gallery

# Mayor Took office Left office   Party Terms[B]
1 William Carr Lane Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Independent 6
2 Daniel Page Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Independent [C]
3 John W. Johnson Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Whig [C]
4 John Fletcher Darby Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Whig [D]
Wilson Primm Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Whig [E]
1 William Carr Lane Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Whig
4 John Fletcher Darby Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Whig 1
5 John D. Daggett Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Whig 1
6 George Maguire Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 1
7 John Wimer Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic/Workingmen's 1
8 Bernard Pratte Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Whig 2
9 Peter G. Camden Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Know Nothing 1
10 Bryan Mullanphy Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 1
11 John Krum Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 1
12 James G. Barry Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 1
13 Luther Martin Kennett Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Whig 3
14 John How Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 2
15 Washington King Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Know Nothing 1
14 John How Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 1
7 John Wimer Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Emancipation 1
16 Oliver Filley Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Republican 2[F]
17 Daniel G. Taylor Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Union Anti-Black Republican 1[G]
18 Chauncey Filley Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Republican ½[H]
Ferdinand W. Cronenbold Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 [I]
19 James Thomas Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Republican
20 Nathan Cole Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Republican 1
21 Joseph Brown Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 War Democrat 2
22 Arthur Barret Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic [J][K]
Herman Rechtien Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 [L]
23 James H. Britton Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic [M]
24 Henry Overstolz Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Independent 1⅓[L][N]
25 William L. Ewing Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Republican 1
26 David R. Francis Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 1[O]
George W. Allen Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic [P]
27 Edward A. Noonan Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 1
28 Cyrus Walbridge Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Republican 1
29 Henry Ziegenhein Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Republican 1
30 Rolla Wells Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 2
31 Frederick Kreismann Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Republican 1
32 Henry Kiel Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Republican 3
33 Victor J. Miller Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Republican 2
34 Bernard F. Dickmann Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 2
35 William D. Becker Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Republican ½[I]
36 Aloys P. Kaufmann Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Republican [Q]
37 Joseph Darst Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 1
38 Raymond Tucker Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 3
39 Alfonso Cervantes Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 2
40 John Poelker Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 1
41 James F. Conway Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 1
42 Vincent C. Schoemehl Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 3
43 Freeman Bosley, Jr. Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 1
44 Clarence Harmon Template:Dts/out1 Template:Dts/out1 Democratic 1
45 Francis G. Slay Template:Dts/out1 Incumbent Democratic 4


  • A. ^ 45 people have served as mayor, four twice; the table includes these non-consecutive terms as well.
  • B. ^ The fractional terms of some mayors are not to be understood absolutely literally; rather, they are meant to show single terms during which multiple mayors served, due to resignations, deaths and the like.
  • C. a b Samuel Merry was elected mayor of St. Louis in April 1833, however, his eligibility was questioned by the City Council as he was a federal officer—United States Receiver of Public Moneys in St. Louis. Merry filed suit to force the council's compliance and in October 1833, he was ruled ineligible by the Missouri Supreme Court.[6] Johnston was elected mayor in a special mayoral election held a month later on November 9. Page continued to serve as mayor until the case was settled and Johnston elected.[7][8]
  • D. ^ Darby resigned from office. William Carr Lane was later elected to fill the vacancy.[9]
  • E. ^ As president of the Board of Alderman, Primm acted as mayor following the resignation of Darby.[10]
  • F. ^ Oliver Filley's second term was the first mayoral term to last 2 years.[4]
  • G. ^ Daniel G. Taylor was the candidate of a one-time coalition of traditional Missouri Democrats, pro-slavery activists, and secessionists calling itself the "Union Anti-Black Republican" ticket. The coalition was suspicious of the Abolitionist platform of the Republican party, and argued that St. Louis should not be governed by "Black Abolitionists" who would support newly elected President Lincoln in acting, including the use of military force, to prevent secession of southern states. Mayor Taylor worked in concert with Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson, until Jackson fled the state capitol to establish a Confederate aligned state government-in-exile. Mayor Taylor then cooperated with the new conservative-Unionist Governor, Hamilton Gamble.
  • H. ^ Chauncey Filley resigned after serving one year of his two-year term as mayor due to poor health.[11][12]
  • I. ^ As president of the Board of Common Council, Cronenbold acted as mayor following the resignation of Chauncey Filley.
  • J. a b Died in office.
  • K. ^ Barret became suddenly ill and died after only 11 days in office.[13][14]
  • L. ^ As president of the City Council, Rechtin acted as mayor following the death of Arthur Barret.[14][15]
  • M. a b Henry Overstolz was declared defeated by James Britton in the 1875 election, but contested the election and was seated as mayor nine months later after a recount of the ballots.[16]
  • N. ^ Per the new city charter of 1876, Overstolz became the first mayor of St. Louis elected to a four-year term.[5]
  • O. ^ Resigned from office to become Governor of Missouri.[17]
  • P. ^ As president of the City Council, Allen acted as mayor following the resignation of David Francis.[17][18]
  • Q. ^ As president of the Board of Alderman, Kaufmann became mayor following the death of William Becker. He was later elected mayor, in a special mayoral election in November 1944, to fill Becker's unexpired term.[19]

Other high offices held

This is a table of governorships, congressional and other federal offices, and ranking diplomatic positions in foreign countries held by St. Louis mayors. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Missouri.

Denotes those offices that the mayor resigned to take.
† Denotes those offices that the mayor resigned to be mayor.
Mayor Mayoral term Other offices held Sources
William Carr Lane 1823–1829
Missouri State Representative (1826–1828, 1830–1834)
Governor of New Mexico Territory (1852–1853)
John Fletcher Darby 1835–1837
Missouri State Senator (1838–1840)
U.S. Representative (1851–1853)
Luther Martin Kennett 1850–1853 U.S. Representative (1855–1857) [23]
Nathan Cole 1869–1871 U.S. Representative (1877–1879) [24]
Joseph Brown 1871–1875 Missouri State Senator (1868–1871) [25]
James H. Britton 1875–1876 Missouri State Representative (1852–1856) [25]
David R. Francis 1885–1889 Governor of Missouri* (1889–1893)
U.S. Secretary of the Interior (1896–1897)
Ambassador to Russia (1916–1917)
Henry Ziegenhein 1897–1901 Missouri State Representative (1876–1878); [26][27]
James F. Conway 1977–1981 Missouri State Representative (1966–1974)
Missouri State Senator† (1974–1977)

Living former mayors

As of September 2008, four former mayors were alive, the oldest being James F. Conway (1977–1981, born 1933). The most recent death of a former mayor was that of John H. Poelker (1973–1977), on February 9, 1990.

Name Mayoral term Date of birth
James F. Conway 1977–1981 June 22, 1933 (his page has diff. b-date)
Vincent C. Schoemehl 1981–1993 October 30, 1946
Freeman Bosley, Jr. 1993–1997 July 20, 1954
Clarence Harmon 1997–2001 March 18, 1955


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