Luther Hess was born on a farm near Milton, Ill., in 1865 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Illinois College. He was licensed to practice law in Alaska in 1901 and served as assistant U.S. District Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Division until 1905. He then helped organize the First National Bank of Fairbanks. He was its first cashier and served many years as director and vice president.
He served nine sessions of the Alaska Territorial Legislature as a Democrat and was speaker of the House in 1917 and president of the Senate in 1931 and 1935. Hess was the chairman of the divisional Selective Service Board in World War I and directed the Alaska Rural Rehabilitation Corp. for six years. He died in 1954.