THOMAS MACDONALD WALLER was born in New York, New York, to Irish immigrant parents who died before he turned eight. Robert Waller, a Connecticut merchant, later adopted him. Thomas graduated from Bartlett High School, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1861. During the Civil War, he recruited volunteers, and served in the Union army. Waller entered politics as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, a position he held in 1867, 1872, and 1876, when he also served as speaker. He also served as Connecticut's Secretary of State from 1870 to 1871, and was New London's mayor from 1873 to 1879. Waller won the 1882 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected Governor of Connecticut. During his tenure, he advocated for the augmentation of internal developments by expanding the budget and raising school taxes; however, he was unsuccessful in achieving this due to a Republican majority legislature. Waller ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1884. After leaving office, he was appointed as consul-general to London, England, a position he held from 1885 to 1889. Waller also attended and spoke at the 1896 Democratic National Convention. Governor Thomas M. Waller died on January 24, 1924, and he is buried at the Cedar Grove Cemetery in New London, Connecticut.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.