Julius C. Gunter, Governor from 1917 to 1919, was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas on October 31, 1858. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1879, he moved to Colorado, was admitted to the Colorado Bar, and opened a legal practice in Trinid ad. Within seven years Julius Gunter's legal expertise was renowned which influenced his election to the bench of the Third Judicial District. By 1901 Judge Gunter was promoted to the Colorado Court of Appeals, and three years later to the Colorado Supr eme Court. Judge Gunter was also elected to the presidency of the Colorado State Bar Association in 1907, although he did not receive his LLD from the University of Colorado until 1926.
Besides his interest in the law, Julius Gunter was also a great supporter of education in Colorado. In 1886 Judge Gunter was elected president of the private Tillotson Academy in Trinidad. Gunter also served concurrent terms as president of both Clayto n College in Denver and Colorado University in Denver.
Judge Gunter was elected to the Colorado governorship just before all eyes turned to Europe as America entered the battlefields of WWI on April 6, 1917. Under Gunter's leadership Colorado became a major leader in the war effort. Even before the war was officially declared Colorado appropriated funds for the mobilizing of its National Guard Troops, making it the first state to do so. Colorado also showed its patriotism when the legislature was first to pledge loyalty to the nation and President Woodrow Wilson on March 6, 1917. Colorado's patriotic zeal also infused the citizenry to ration and raise food, clothing, and war supplies. At the State government level, Governor Gunter organized the Colorado Home Guard, Colorado Wartime Council, and Council o f Defense to meet the needs of the American troops. As Governor, Gunter's compassion was evident as he wrote personalized letters to families that had a Colorado soldier fall in battle.
With the unified spirit of patriotism often comes the ugliness of discrimination, however. Several organizations such as the Committee on Americanization and America First Society were created whose membership believed that foreign-born German and Easte rn European citizens were plotting against and threatening the American industrial complex and the American way of life. German was no longer allowed to be taught in public schools, and German-American citizens were routinely persecuted. George Norlin, Chairman of the Committee on Americanization and President of the University of Colorado, wrote "The average foreign born laborer, unable to read English, is at the present time shut off from influences which make for loyalty to our country. His ears are open mainly to agitators who...seek to enlist him in the war of class against class."(March 27, 1918). While Gunter supported the development of educational programs for the foreign born, he did not support discrimination. He believed that the unity th at came out of this patriotic zeal used the German-Americans as the scapegoats for its emotional fuel. When he appointed Ernest Morris, a Prussian-American, to the State Council of Defense many people protested and most newspapers came out against Gunter 's decision. When businessmen asked him for military supervision of their foreign-born laborers, Gunter refused explaining that an American could be born anywhere.
As a result, Gunter was labeled Pro-German by the media, which effectively ended his political career and he was not even considered for reelection by his own Democratic Party. After many years of public service Judge and Governor Julius Caldeen Gunter died in Denver on October 26, 1940, and is buried in Fairmont Cemetery.