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Phillip Francis Thomas

Gov. Phillip Francis Thomas

  • January 3, 1848 - January 6, 1851
  • Democratic
  • September 12, 1810
  • October 2, 1890
  • Maryland
  • Dickinson College
  • Married twice--Sarah Maria Kerr, Clintonia Wright May; thirteen children
  • Representative, Cabinet secretary


PHILLIP FRANCIS THOMAS was born in Easton, Maryland on September 12, 1810. His education was attained at the Easton Academy, and at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1831, and then established his legal career in Easton, Maryland. In 1834, he made an unsuccessful bid for election to the Maryland House of Delegates, but served in that body in 1838, 1843 and 1845. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1839 to 1841, and served as judge of the Land Office for Eastern Shore from 1841 to 1842. Thomas was elected governor of Maryland by a popular vote on October 6, 1847. He was sworn into office on January 3, 1848. During his tenure, the state’s deficit was reduced; railroad construction within the state progressed; the establishment of a public works board was called for; and the adoption of a new state constitution was recommended. After completing his term, Thomas served as comptroller of the Maryland Treasury from 1851 to 1853, and as the collector of the Port of Baltimore from 1853 to 1857. He was the commissioner of patents in 1860, was the secretary of the U.S. Treasury from 1860 to 1861, and served again in the Maryland House of Delegates in 1863, 1878, and 1883. Thomas was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1867, but was denied his seat. He also served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1875 to 1877, and was a delegate to the 1883 Democratic State Convention. Governor Philip Francis Thomas passed away on October 2, 1890, and was buried at the Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton, 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.

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Maryland State Archives

Recent Maryland Governors