Faculty Research at Morehead State University


As Luck Would Have It: An Overview of Lawrence W. Wetherby as Governor, 1950-1955


John E. Kleber

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1986


Luck is an elusive quality that touches the lives of us all; yet, as a determining force, it has received slight attention from biographers. It was important certainly in the career of Lawrence W. Wetherby, forty-eighth governor of the Common wealth of Kentucky. While luck never pretends to explain the totality of events, it was fortunate both that he was associated with the Jefferson County organization when it selected him to run for lieutenant governor and that incumbent Earle Clements went to the Senate in 1950, thereby elevating Wetherby to the governorship. But luck is a two-headed coin, and it was unfortunate that Wetherby served between a dynamic Clements and a flamboyant Albert B. "Happy" Chandler, who together have eclipsed his achievements. And he could not have wanted a year worse than 1956 in which to run for the Senate as a Democrat, when he was swamped by the Eisenhower landslide. On balance, however, fortune served Wetherby well.