Publication 216, The First 100 Years


State Controller

D. M. Kenfield


Born in Massachusetts in 1828, Kenfield came to California in 1853. He settled in Sonora and became an agent for Wells Fargo and Company Express. He was elected five times Treasurer of Tuolumne County. Kenfield became California’s State Controller in 1879 and served one term. He died in San Francisco September 29, 1883, at age 55.

John P. Dunn


Born in Ireland in April 1852, John Dunn came to Cohoes, Albany County, New York in July of that year. He attended the public schools of Cohoes, and Bryant, Stratton’s Business College in Troy, and Cornell University in Ithaca. Dunn came to San Francisco in 1875 and entered the produce business. He was elected San Francisco City Auditor in 1879 but was defeated for reelection in 1881. On November 7, 1882 he was elected to the first of two terms as State Controller. Afterward, he returned to San Francisco where he served for a time as registrar of the land office in San Francisco. Dunn moved to Southern California in 1900. He died May 29, 1906 at age 54.

Edward P. Colgan


Edward P. Colgan was born in Santa Rosa, California on June 10, 1856. He was a blacksmith for 13 years. He was twice elected Sheriff of Sonoma County. In 1890, he was elected State Controller. Colgan died in office November 20, 1906 shortly after winning reelection to his fifth term of office.

A. B. Nye


Alfred Bourne Nye was born in Stockton in 1853. He was educated in the Wareham and Falmouth, Massachusetts public schools and at Falmouth Academy. He began a newspaper career in the east and became editor of the Oakland Enquirer around 1884. In January, 1903, Nye became private secretary to Governor George C. Pardee. He was appointed Controller on November 23, 1906 and was reappointed on January 7, 1907. Nye was elected to two more terms, but he died in office August 19, 1913 at age 59.

John S. Chambers


John Shearer Chambers was born in Covington, Kentucky, November 4, 1867. He was educated in Kentucky and later moved to California. For a time he served as managing editor of the Sacramento Bee. He was also President of the Napa State Hospital Board. Chambers was appointed Controller August 28, 1913 after the death in office of A. B. Nye. He was elected to two more terms in 1914 and 1918 but resigned in 1921, before completing his final term. He died November 20, 1923.

Ray L. Riley


Born in Vicksburg, Michigan on July 20, 1874, Ray Riley came to Colton, California in 1907 and engaged in the drug business. He served on the Colton Board of Trustees and the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. In 1918, Riley was appointed State Water Commissioner and in 1919 he was appointed State Real Estate Commissioner. He was appointed State Controller in July 1921 after the resignation of John Chambers. Riley was elected to four more terms, but resigned in 1936 before finishing his final term, when he was appointed to the Railroad Commission. He served on the Railroad Commission until 1944. Later, he ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate. Ray Riley died May 19, 1953 in New York. He was co-author of the Riley-Stewart Amendment which changed the concept of taxation in California.

Harry B. Riley


Harry B. Riley was born in Orange County, California on December 24, 1888. He was educated in the public schools of Long Beach and was later graduated from the University of Southern California Law School. At age 21, Riley was elected City Clerk of Long Beach and was reelected to a second term. He was also elected to two terms as Long Beach Commissioner of Finance. Riley served as Assemblyman representing Long Beach from 1931 to 1937. Harry Riley was appointed Controller in January of 1937 when Ray Riley (no apparent relation) was appointed to the Railroad Commission. Riley was elected to two more terms as Controller. He died in office February 4, 1946.

Thomas Kuchel


Thomas Kuchel was born in Anaheim, California August 15, 1910. His father, Henry Kuchel was publisher of the Anaheim Gazette for 48 years; his grandfather was among the original founders of Anaheim. A lawyer by profession, Thomas Kuchel earned his doctorate in law from the University of Southern California and was admitted to the State Bar in 1935. He was elected Assemblyman from Anaheim in 1937 and 1939. Although Kuchel served as State Senator from 1941 to 1945 he was called to active duty in the United States Naval Reserves in 1942. On February 8, 1946, he was appointed State Controller. He was elected to two more terms as Controller but resigned his office in January 1953 to accept appointment by Governor Earl Warren as United States Senator. He served in the Senate until 1968.

Robert C. Kirkwood


Robert Kirkwood was born in Mountain View, Santa Clara County, on August 30, 1909. He attended the Palo Alto public schools and was graduated from Stanford in 1930. He earned his law degree at Harvard in 1933, the same year he was admitted to the California Bar. In 1939, Kirkwood moved to Saratoga where he was elected a member of the Saratoga Elementary School Board. He later served on the Santa Clara County Planning Commission. He was elected Assemblyman for Santa Clara, the 28th District, in 1946, and was reelected three times. He resigned when he was appointed Controller by Governor Earl Warren on January 6, 1953. After serving another term as Controller, Kirkwood went to work for Pacific Gas and Electric Company. He died May 5, 1964.

Alan Cranston


Alan Cranston was born in Palo Alto, Santa Clara County June 19, 1914. He graduated from Stanford University and Pomona College. Following his graduation he was a foreign correspondent in Europe and Africa. Cranston entered the Army in 1944 and served in the Office of War Information. He was elected Founding President of the California Democratic Council in 1953, 1955, and 1957, but resigned to become Controller in 1958. Prior to his election as Controller, he operated a real estate, investment and property management business. He lost the 1966 election to Houston Flournoy, but he was elected in 1968 to the United States Senate. He was reelected in 1974 and again in 1980.

Houston L. Flournoy


Born in New York in 1929, Houston Flournoy attended New York and New England public schools. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University, and he earned masters and doctorate degrees in government at Princeton University. Flournoy, who served in the Air Force in Korea as an intelligence officer, came to California to accept a position as associate professor of government at Pomona College and Claremont Graduate School, where he taught for nine years. He was elected to the California Assembly in 1960 as a representative from the 49th Assembly District and was reelected in 1962 and 1964. Flournoy was elected Controller in 1966 and reelected in 1970. In 1974 he ran for Governor of California but lost narrowly to Edmund G. Brown Jr.

Kenneth Cory


Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Kenneth Cory moved to southern California with his parents in 1939 when he was one year old. He graduated from Huntington Beach High School and attended Orange Coast College, the University of California at Berkeley and at Los Angeles. Before becoming Controller, Cory was elected to four consecutive terms in the California State Assembly, representing the 69th District in Orange County. Earlier he had served as Chief Consultant to the Assembly Education Committee and as Chief Administrative Officer of the Assembly. He also engaged in farming and the insurance business. In 1974, Cory was elected Controller and was reelected in 1978.