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John Milton Thayer

Gov. John Milton Thayer

  • January 6, 1887 - February 8, 1892
  • Republican
  • January 24, 1820
  • March 19, 1906
  • Massachusetts
  • Brown University
  • Married Mary Torrey Allen; six children
  • Senator
  • Army


JOHN M. THAYER, the seventh governor of Nebraska, was born in Bellingham, Massachusetts, on January 24, 1820. His education was attained at Brown University, where he graduated in 1841. He studied law, and then established his legal career. Thayer also became the editor of the Worcester Magazine and the Historical Journal. After moving to Omaha, Nebraska, he served in the Territorial Militia as brigadier general and later as major general. Thayer first entered politics as a member of the Territorial State Senate, a position he held in 1860. He also served as a delegate to the 1860 State Constitution Convention. During the Civil War, he served as colonel of the 1st Nebraska Infantry Regiment, and later earned the rank of brevetted major general of volunteers. After the war he returned to his political career. He served as a member of the 1866 State Constitutional Convention, was a member of the U.S. Senate from 1867 to 1871, and served as the governor of the Wyoming Territory from 1875 to 1879. Thayer next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in November 1886. He was reelected to a second term in 1888. During his tenure, the aftereffects of a severe drought were managed and railroad regulations were promoted. When governor-elect James Boyd was found ineligible, Thayer’s term was extended to February 8, 1892. After leaving office, Thayer retired from political life. Governor John M. Thayer passed away on March 19, 1906, and was buried in the Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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