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Robert Milligan McLane

Gov. Robert Milligan McLane

  • January 9, 1884 - March 27, 1885
  • Democratic
  • June 23, 1815
  • April 16, 1898
  • Delaware
  • St. Mary's College; College Bourbon; U.S. Military Academy
  • Married Georgine Urquhart; two children
  • Resigned
  • Representative, Ambassador
  • Army


ROBERT M. MCLANE was born in Wilmington, Delaware on June 23, 1815. His education was attained at St. Mary’s College in Baltimore, at the College Bourbon in Paris, and at the U.S. Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1837. During the Seminole War, he served as a second lieutenant in the Artillery, and later served in the Corps of Topographical Engineers. After his military service, he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1843, and then established a successful legal career in Baltimore. McLane entered politics in 1845, serving as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1847 to 1851 and 1879 to 1883, and was U.S. Minister to China in 1853 and 1854. He also served as U.S. Minister to Mexico in 1859 and 1860, and was a member of the Maryland State Senate from 1878 to 1880. McLane secured the 1883 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and went on to win election to the Maryland governorship on November 6, 1883. He was sworn into office on January 9, 1884. During his tenure, labor laws for women and children were sanctioned; the Bureau of Statistics and Information was established; a state archives publication program was instituted at the Maryland Historical Society; a mining school was created; and the practice of dentistry was regulated. McLane resigned from the governor’s office on March 27, 1885, upon his appointment as the U.S. Minister to France, a position he held for four years. Governor Robert M. McLane passed away in Paris, France on April 16, 1898, and was buried at Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore, 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