THOMAS, Jesse Burgess, (1777 - 1853)

Senate Years of Service: 1818-1829
Party: Democratic Republican; Crawford Republican; Adams

THOMAS, Jesse Burgess, a Delegate from Indiana Territory and a Senator from Illinois; born in Shepherdstown, Va. (now West Virginia) in 1777; studied law in Mason County, Ky., where he also served as county clerk until 1803; moved to Lawrenceburg, Indiana Territory in 1803 and practiced law; appointed deputy attorney general of Indiana Territory in 1805; member, Territorial house of representatives 1805-1808, and served as speaker 1805-1808; elected as a Delegate from Indiana Territory to the Tenth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Benjamin Parke and served from October 22, 1808, to March 3, 1809; moved to Kaskasia in 1809, then to Cahokia, and later to Edwardsville, Ill.; upon the organization of Illinois Territory was appointed judge of the United States court for the northwestern judicial district 1809-1818; delegate to the State constitutional convention in 1818 and served as president of that body; upon the admission of Illinois as a State into the Union in 1818 was elected as a Democratic Republican to the United States Senate; reelected as a Crawford Republican (later Adams Republican) in 1823, and served from December 3, 1818, to March 3, 1829; declined to be a candidate for reelection in 1829; chairman, Committee on Public Lands (Sixteenth and Seventeenth Congresses); moved to Mount Vernon, Ohio, in 1829; committed suicide at Mount Vernon, Ohio, May 2, 1853; interment in Mound View Cemetery.


Bibliography

Dictionary of American Biography; Suppiger, Joseph E. “Amity to Enmity: Ninian Edwards and B. Thomas.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 67 (April 1974): 201-11; Suppiger, Joseph E. “Burgess Thomas: Illinois’ Pro-Slavery Advocate.” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Tennessee, 1970.