THOMAS SIM LEE was born in Maryland on October 29, 1745. His education was attained in the private schools of his native state. He may have studied in Europe as well. During the Revolutionary War, he backed the patriot cause, and organized a local militia in which he served as colonel. Lee entered politics in 1777, serving as a member of the Governor’s Executive Council, a position he held two years. The Maryland Legislature elected Lee governor in 1779. He was reelected in 1780 and 1781. During his first tenure, General George Washintgon called upon Lee to help secure much needed provisions for the army. After completing his term, Lee left office on November 22, 1782. He then served in the Continental Congress in 1783 and was a member of the State convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution in 1788. In 1792, Lee was again elected governor of Maryland. He was reelected to a fourth term in 1793, and to a fifth term in 1794. During his final tenure, the state militia was re-established and reorganized to help suppress the Whiskey Rebellion. Lee left office on November 14, 1794. Later that same year, he declined a seat in the state senate. He also declined to seek the governorship in 1798. Governor Thomas Sim Lee passed away on October 9, 1819, and was buried at the family estate, “Melwood.” He was reinterred at Mt. Carmel Roman Catholic Cemetery near Upper Marlboro, Maryland, in 1888.
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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.