THOMAS TALBOT, the thirtieth and thirty-third governor to serve Massachusetts, was born in Cambridge, New York on September 7, 1818. After the death of his father, his family moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, where young Talbot was educated in the public schools. For a while he worked in a textile factory, and eventually opened a successful broadcloth factory with his brother. Talbot first entered politics in 1861, serving as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, a position he held three years. He also served as a member of the Governor’s Executive Council from 1864 to 1869, and was the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts from 1872 to 1874. On April 29, 1874 Governor William B. Washburn resigned from office, and Talbot, who was lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. During his tenure, he endorsed restricting laborers workdays to ten hours; and he vetoed a bill that would abolish the state’s prohibition law. After running unsuccessfully for a term of his own, Talbot left office on January 7, 1875. However, three years later he secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and then went on to win the general election on November 5, 1878. During his final tenure, the first prison commission was founded; educational reform measures were promoted; the state’s budget was reduced; and state agencies were operated more efficiently. Also, Talbot called for a constitutional amendment that would grant women equal voting privileges. After declining to run for reelection Talbot left office on January 8, 1880, and retired from political life. Governor Thomas Talbot passed away on October 6, 1885, and was buried in the Lowell Cemetery in Lowell, Massachusetts.
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.