Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: 1887-1890

Oliver Ames came to the Massachusetts governorship with remarkable personal wealth and family connections to political power. Ames' father, Oakes Ames represented Massachusetts in Congress from 1862-1873 and was a founding member of Massachusetts' Republican Party.

The family's well-known shovel factory in Easton, Massachusetts boomed filling the needs of Midwestern farmers and Western gold diggers. Oakes and his brother Oliver invested these profits aggressively, gaining controlling interests in the Union Pacific Railroad. During his last year in Congress, Oakes Ames was censured for his role in the Crédit Mobilier scandal of 1872.

Oliver Ames briefly attended Brown University, but returned to work in the family business. He served as Lieutenant Colonel in the Massachusetts Militia prior to the Civil War, during which he managed the family's manufacturing operations. He was made president of several banks, railroads, and other companies. He was elected to the Senate, serving 1881 to 1883 and was Lieutenant Governor from 1883, until his election as Governor in 1887.

During Ames' administration, a prohibition amendment to Massachusetts' Constitution was defeated. He also advocated banking reforms and public funding of education. After three terms as Governor, Ames declined to run for a fourth term and returned to family and business concerns.