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Thomas Kirker

Gov. Thomas Kirker

  • March 4, 1807 - December 12, 1808
  • Democratic-Republican
  • January 1, 1760
  • February 20, 1837
  • Other
  • Married Sarah Smith; six children
  • Succeeded


THOMAS KIRKER, the second governor of Ohio, was born in Tyrone County, Ireland in 1760. His education was limited and attained in the common schools of Ireland. He moved with his family to Lancaster, Pennsylvania around 1779. Kirker traveled to Kentucky, and eventually settled in Adams County, Ohio, where he became a farmer and a ruling elder in the West Union Presbyterian Church. He first entered public service in 1797, serving as a justice of the peace. He also served as a delegate to the 1802 Constitutional Convention; was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives in 1803; and served as a member and speaker of the Ohio Senate from 1804 to 1815. On March 4, 1807, Governor Edward Tiffin retired from office, and Kirker, who was senate speaker at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. During his tenure, the protection of white settlers against attacks from Indians was successfully dealt with. After running unsuccessfully for a gubernatorial term of his own, Kirker returned to his senatorial duties. In 1816 he won reelection to the Ohio House of Representatives. He also served on the Common Pleas Court bench in 1821; and served again in the Ohio Senate from 1821 to 1825. In his last political position, he served as a presidential elector, casting his vote for Henry Clay. Governor Thomas Kirker passed away on February 20, 1837, and was buried in the family graveyard on his farm.

*Note: birth month and date not known.


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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