THOMAS C. FLETCHER was born in Herculaneum, Missouri on January 22, 1827. His early education was attained in the public schools of his native state. He studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1856. Fletcher first entered public service in 1846, serving as deputy to the clerk of the Jefferson County Circuit Court, a position he held three years, before being elected clerk. He also was instrumental in forming the state’s Republican Party, as well as serving as a delegate to the 1860 Republican National Convention and chairing the 1868 Republican State Convention. During the Civil War, he secured an appointment as assistant provost marshal of Missouri. He also fought in several battles, earning the rank of brevet brigadier general for his courageous service. After his military duty, Fletcher returned to his political career. He secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor on November 8, 1864. He was inaugurated on January 2, 1865. During his tenure, an emancipation proclamation was issued on January 11, 1865; railroad company interests were diversified; the state deficit was cut; and the Lincoln Institute for Negroes was founded. After completing his term, Fletcher left office on January 12, 1869 and retired from public service. He later moved to Washington, D.C., where he practiced law. Governor Thomas C. Fletcher passed away on March 25, 1899, and was buried in the Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.