Andrew Longino was the first governor elected after the Civil War who was not a Confederate veteran, and he was the last governor nominated by a state party convention. In 1903 the state adopted the popular primary system of nominating all candidates for public office.
Longino was born in Lawrence County on 16 May 1854 and went on to graduate from Mississippi College in Clinton, making him the first governor to hold a degree from one of the state’s institutions of higher learning. After studying law at the University of Virginia, he was admitted to the Mississippi state bar in 1881. Longino served in the state legislature, as a district attorney, and as chancellor of the 7th Judicial District before winning election to the governorship in 1899.
As the first governor of the twentieth century, Longino warned the people of the state to brace themselves for enormous changes. He especially urged Mississippians to embrace the new age of technology that could revolutionize the state’s economy and provide thousands of new jobs. In his inaugural address, Longino condemned lynching, proposed that counties compensate the families of lynching victims, and suggested that law enforcement officials who allowed lynching be held accountable. Political opponents later used these words against him.
Longino’s administration was noted for several major achievements. A bill authorizing a new capitol was passed, and the cornerstone was laid on 3 June 1903. In addition, a new state penitentiary was built at Parchman, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History was established, a constitutional amendment providing for the election of state judges was passed, and a textile school was started at Mississippi A & M College (now Mississippi State University) in Starkville.
Longino ran for the US Senate in 1903 but was defeated by Hernando DeSoto Money. After leaving the governor’s office in January 1904, Longino maintained a law practice in Jackson. In 1919 he again sought the state’s highest office but lost in the runoff election to Lee Russell. Longino subsequently retired from public life and died in Jackson on 24 February 1942.
- Stephen Cresswell, Rednecks, Redeemers, and Race: Mississippi After Reconstruction, 1877–1917 (2006)
- Thomas E. Kelly, Who’s Who in Mississippi (1914)
- Mississippi Official and Statistical Register (1912)
- Dunbar Rowland, Encyclopedia of Mississippi History, vol. 2 (1907)