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Governor James Thomas

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Office Dates:  Jan 17, 1833 - Jan 14, 1836


Born:  Mar 11, 1785

Passed:  Dec 25, 1845

Birth State:  Maryland

Party:  Whig

Family:  Married Elizabeth Coates

School(s):  St. John's College; University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine


Military Service:  National Guard

JAMES THOMAS was born at "De La Brooke Manor" in St. Mary's County, Maryland on March 11, 1785. His education was attained at St. John's College, Charlotte Hall Academy, from which he graduated in 1804, and at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, from which he earned his medical degree in 1807. Thomas served during the War of 1812, as a major in the 4th Maryland Cavalry, and later earned the rank of major general for his heroic service. He went on to serve as justice of the peace in St. Mary's County from 1808 to 1812; justice of the Levy Court in St. Mary's County from 1810 to 1812; and a judge of the Orphan's Court in St. Mary's County from 1811 to 1812. He served as a member of the Maryland State Senate from 1824-1830. The Maryland Legislature elected Thomas governor of Maryland on January 7, 1833. He was reelected to a second term in 1834, and to a third term in 1835. During his tenure, railroad construction progressed throughout the state; a cholera epidemic was dealt with; the Bank of Maryland collapsed; a geological survey of the state was initiated; and appropriations for maintenance of public schools was advocated for. After completing his term, Thomas left office on January 14, 1836 and retired from public service. Governor James Thomas passed away on December 25, 1845, and was buried at "Deep Falls" in St. Mary's County, Maryland.


Eisenberg, Gerson G. Marylanders Who Served the Nation. Annapolis, MD: Maryland State Archives, 1992.

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978.

White, Frank F., Jr. The Governors of Maryland, 1777-1972. Annapolis, MD: Hall of Records Commission, 1970.

Maryland State Archives