Thomas Swann

Thomas Swann

Governor Less

Thomas Swann

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Thomas Swann (February 3, 1809–July 24, 1883) was an American politician. Initially a Know-Nothing, and later a Democrat, he served as mayor of Baltimore (1856–1860), as the 33rd Governor of Maryland (1866–1869), and as U.S. Representative from Maryland's 3rd congressional district and then 4th congressional district (1869–1879).

Early life and career

Swann was born in Alexandria, Virginia, and attended Columbian College (now George Washington University) in Washington, D.C., and the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. He studied law, and was appointed by President Andrew Jackson as secretary of the United States Commission to Naples. He moved to Baltimore, Maryland in 1834, and became director and president of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, serving in that position from 1847 until his resignation in 1853, to serve as president of the Northwestern Virginia Railroad.

Mayor of Baltimore

1856 election

Swann was first elected Mayor of Baltimore in 1856 as a member of the Know Nothing (American Party) in one of the bloodiest elections in state history. He defeated Democratic challenger Robert Clinton Wright by over a thousand votes.

During the mid-1850s public order in Baltimore had been threatened by the election of candidates of the Know Nothing party. In October 1856 the Know Nothing Mayor Samuel Hinks was pressed by Baltimorians to order the state militia in readiness to maintain order during the mayoral...
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