John W Weeks

John W Weeks

Spanish-American War · US Navy

John W Weeks

    John Wingate Weeks was born on April 11, 1860 in New Hampshire. Weeks grew up on his family farm on Mount Prospect, near the town of Lancaster. He likely developed a lasting appreciation for the outdoors during a childhood surrounded by the lakes, rivers, forests, and mountains of rural New Hampshire.

    Weeks entered the United States Naval Academy in 1877, and graduated in 1881. After graduation he spent two years serving in the Navy before eventually marrying and establishing a permanent home in Newton, Massachusetts. There he helped found and served as partner in a prominent banking and securities firm in Boston.

    After great success in the financial sector Weeks became involved in local politics, serving as Alderman and then mayor of the town of Newton. In 1905 he was elected to U.S. Congress, serving the 12th Congressional District of Massachusetts.

    Weeks' most notable accomplishment as Congressman came four years later in 1909 when he introduced a bill in the House of Representatives concerning the federal purchase of forest reserves. This bill would eventually pass both the House and Senate and be signed into law by President Taft on March 1, 1911. The Weeks Act authorized the government to purchase lands for stream-flow protection, and to maintain the lands as national forests. This made it possible for the national forest system to expand into the eastern United States.

    Weeks served in the House of Representatives until 1913 when he was elected to Senate. During the Republican National Convention of 1916, Weeks received 105 votes for the Presidential nomination. His service in the Senate ended in 1919, but he remained active in national politics. In March 1921, Weeks was appointed as Secretary of War by President Harding. Weeks remained in this position into Coolidge administration, when health issues forced him to resign in late 1925. After returning to New Hampshire Weeks died on July 12, 1926.

        Santa Cruz Evening News (Santa Cruz, California) 12 Jul 1926, Mon • Page 1

          John Wingate Weeks

            WEEKS, John Wingate, (father of Sinclair Weeks, great nephew of John Wingate Weeks), a Representative and a Senator from Massachusetts; born near Lancaster, N.H., April 11, 1860; attended the common schools; taught school; graduated from the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., in 1881; served in the United States Navy as a midshipman 1881-1883; resigned from the Navy in 1883 and took up the profession of civil engineering and surveying; relocated to Florida and served as first chief of the Orlando fire department 1885-1888; land commissioner of Florida Southern Railroad in Jacksonville 1886-1887; returning to Massachusetts, engaged in the banking and brokerage business in Boston 1888-1914; served in the Massachusetts Naval Brigade 1890-1900, acting as commander the last six years; moved to Newton, Mass., in 1893; member of the Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy in 1896; served in the Spanish-American War as a lieutenant in the Volunteer Navy 1898; member of the board of aldermen of Newton 1899-1902; mayor of Newton 1902-1903; elected as a Republican to the Fifty-ninth and to the four succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1905, until his resignation effective March 4, 1913, to become United States Senator; chairman, Committee on Expenditures in the Department of State (Fifty-ninth and Sixtieth Congresses), Committee on Post Office and Post Roads (Sixty-first Congress); elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1913, to March 3, 1919; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1918; chairman, Committee on the Disposition of Useless Executive Papers (Sixty-fifth Congress); appointed Secretary of War by President Warren G. Harding in 1921, and again by President Calvin Coolidge, and served until 1925, when he resigned due to ill health; died in Lancaster, N.H., July 12, 1926; remains were cremated and the ashes interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.