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J. Millard Tawes

Gov. J. Millard Tawes

  • January 14, 1959 - January 2, 1967
  • Democratic
  • April 8, 1894
  • June 25, 1979
  • Maryland
  • Sadlers, Bryant and Stratton Business College
  • Married Helen Avalynne Gibson; two children


J. MILLARD TAWES was born in Crisfield, Maryland on April 8, 1894. His education was attained in public schools in Somerset County, Maryland, at Wilmington Conference Academy in Dover, Delaware, where he graduated in 1912, and at the Sadlers, Bryant and Stratton Business College, where he took accounting and banking courses. After establishing a successful career in the lumber, banking, and shipbuilding industries, Tawes entered politics. He served as the Somerset County Clerk of the Circuit Court from 1930 to 1938, was the Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland from 1938 to 1947 and 1950 to 1959, and served as a State Bank Commissioner from 1947 to 1950. Tawes secured the 1958 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and then went on to win the Maryland governorship on November 4, 1958. He was reelected to a second term in 1962. During his tenure, several new state agencies were launched that included the Department of Economic Development, the Agricultural Advisory Board, and the Industrial Development Financing Authority. Also, the state educational system was reformed; the State Roads Commission was restructured; a slot machine elimination bill was sanctioned; an advisory council on education was created; and a public accommodations law prohibiting discrimination and segregation in public places was authorized. After completing his term, Tawes left office on January 25, 1967. From 1967 to 1968 he represented Somerset County as a member of the State Constitutional Convention. He became the first secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in 1969. In 1973, the Maryland General Assembly elected Tawes as State Treasurer. He retired from public office in 1975. Governor J. Millard Tawes passed away on June 25, 1979, and was buried in the Sunny Ridge Memorial Park in Crisfield, 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. 4 vols.

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

Crisfield Heritage Foundation

Maryland State Archives

J. Millard Tawes Collection (Maryland State Archives Guide to Special Collections)

Recent Maryland Governors