THOMAS REYNOLDS was born in Bracken County, Kentucky on March 12, 1796. His early education was attained in the common schools of his native state. He later studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1817. Reynolds first entered politics as clerk of the Illinois House of Representatives, a position he held from 1818 to 1822. He also was chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court from 1822 to 1825, and served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1826 to 1828. After moving to Missouri, Reynolds was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1832 and was immediately chosen Speaker of the House. He next served as circuit judge of the Second Judicial District in 1837. He was elected governor on August 3, 1840. During his tenure, Missouri University enrolled its first class, the debt imprisonment law was eliminated, fifteen new counties were formed, and voting requirements were improved. With ten months left in his term, Governor Thomas Reynolds committed suicide on February 9, 1844. He was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.