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Roadside Historical MomentTM

THE SIMEON WILLIS HOME located at 1612 Bath Avenue, Ashland, KY. The home was originally built in 1891 and remodeled in 1954 by Simeon Willis, the only resident of Ashland ever to be honored by election as governor. Home is entered on the National Register of Historical Places.
Simon S. Willis was born in Ohio, one of nine children and moved to Greenup County as a child. Willis took a teacher-training course in a local private school, and before age 20 was selected principal of Springsville (now known as South Portsmouth), Kentucky schools. In 1901, he was admitted to the bar and established a law practice in Ashland.

On December 31,1927, he was appointed judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals by Governor Flem D. Sampson. He was elected to that same position, representing the court until 1933. Willis returned to his private practice. In 1943, he was elected Governor over the Democratic candidate, J. Lyter Donaldson. He was the only Republican elected governor for 20 years in either direction of his term.

During his term, five state tuberculosis hospitals, at London, Madisonville, Paris, Ashland and Glasgow were initiated and nearly 80 percent completed. He created a Commission on Negro Affairs and appointed the first African-American to the state Board of Education. He returned to his private practice in Ashland. During 1956-60 he served as a member of the Public Service Commission. Willis died on April 2,1965 and is buried in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Photgraphs and historical research courtesy of the combined 7th and 8th grade Academic Class of Fairview Junior Senior High School under the direction of Mrs. Linda Stephens, Ashland, Ky.



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