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Thomas Swann

Gov. Thomas Swann

  • January 10, 1866 - January 13, 1869
  • American; Unionist; Democratic
  • February 3, 1809
  • July 24, 1883
  • Virginia
  • University of Virginia
  • Married twice--Elizabeth Gilmor Sherlock, Josephine Ward Thomas; five children
  • Representative


THOMAS SWANN was born in Alexandria, Virginia on February 3, 1809. His education was attained at Columbian College Preparatory School in Washington, D.C., and at the University of Virginia, where he graduated in 1827. He then studied law at his father’s law office. Swann entered politics in 1833, with an appointment by President Andrew Jackson, to serve as secretary of the U.S. Commission to Naples. He also served as mayor of Baltimore from 1856 to 1860. Swann was elected governor by popular vote on November 8, 1864. Under the 1864 Maryland Constitution, the governor-elect could not take office until the current governor’s term had expired, and consequently, Swann wasn’t sworn into office until January 10, 1866. During his tenure, radical Republicans were forced out of power; the disfranchisement of many Southern sympathizers was averted; Baltimore’s harbor facilities were developed; and the 1867 Constitution was adopted. Also, Swann was elected to the U.S. Senate, but declined his seat, choosing instead to finish out his gubernatorial term. After completing his term, Swann left office on January 13, 1869. He was then elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he held from 1869 to 1879. Governor Thomas Swann passed away on July 24, 1883, 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