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Thomas Elliott Bramlette

Gov. Thomas Elliott Bramlette

  • September 1, 1863 - September 3, 1867
  • Democratic
  • January 3, 1817
  • January 12, 1875
  • Kentucky
  • Married twice--Sallie Travis, Mrs. Mary E. Adams; two children
  • National Guard


THOMAS E. BRAMLETTE was born in Cumberland County, Kentucky on January 3, 1817. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1837, and then established his legal career in Louisville. Bramlette entered politics in 1841, serving as a one-term member of the Kentucky Legislature. He also served as the commonwealth’s attorney from 1849 to 1851, and was judge of the Sixth Judicial District from 1856 to 1862. During the Civil War, Bramlette served as colonel of the 3rd Kentucky Regiment Infantry in the Union Army. In 1862, he resigned his military commission to serve as the U.S. district attorney of Kentucky. Bramlette was elected governor on August 3, 1863, and was sworn into office on September 1, 1863. During his tenure, an agricultural and mechanical college (the University of Kentucky today) was created, both the state’s deficit and crime rate were lowered, a general pardon was dispensed to most ex-Confederate soldiers, and civil rights laws for ex-slaves were sanctioned. Also during his term, Bramlette was recommended for a seat in congress, and was chosen to be the 1864 U.S. vice presidential nominee, but turned down both offers. Bramlette left office on September 3, 1867, and returned to his legal practice in Louisville. After running unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, he retired from public service. Governor Thomas E. Bramlette passed away on January 12, 1875, and was buried at the Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.


Governors' Papers, Kentucky Department for Libraries & Archives, Public Records Division

The Political Graveyard

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the Untied States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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