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Thomas M. Waller

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Thomas MacDonald Waller February 15, 1839 – January 25, 1924 was an American attorney, politician and the 51st Governor of Connecticut


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Death
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links


Waller was born in New York City on February 15, 1839, the son of Irish immigrant parents His father's name was Thomas Armstrong, and his parents died before he turned eight He earned a living by selling newspapers and working as a cabin boy, and was considering going to California during the gold rush of 1849, when a New London man named Robert Waller offered to provide him a home and an education in Connecticut Waller accepted his offer, was adopted by the elder Waller, and received an education in the New London schools, where he was noted for his skills in public speaking In 1859 he married Charlotte Bishop and they had six children1


After his graduation from Bartlett High School, he studied law and he was admitted to the bar in 1861, the same year that the Civil War began He enlisted in the Second Connecticut Volunteers in April, due to an eye disease he was discharged two months later Using his oratory talents to recruit volunteers for the Union, and his work in arguing cases in court, drew attention to his speaking ability2

Ge served in the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1867, 1872, and 1876, and was Speaker in 1876 He also served as Secretary of the State of Connecticut from 1870 to 1871, and mayor of New London, Connecticut from 1873 to 18793

In 1882 Waller ran for governor on the Democratic ticket and defeated William Bulkeley brother of future governor Morgan Bulkeley by more than 4,000 votes He served from January 3, 1883 to January 8, 18854 In 1884 Waller sought reelection and received more votes than his Republican opponent, Henry Baldwin Harrison, but it was less than the 50% majority required by law; the choice fell to the state legislature, which was controlled by Republicans, and they selected Harrison

Waller gained attention at the 1884 Democratic National Convention when he made the seconding speech nominating Thomas A Hendricks for vice president on the ticket with presidential nominee Grover Cleveland Cleveland and Hendricks won, and the following year Cleveland appointed Waller as Consul-General in London, where he served from 1885 to 18895

Waller's home, "Neptune Park" in the Ocean Beach section of New London, Connecticut from a 1910 postcard

When Waller returned to New London in 1889, he opened law offices there and in New York City "I work five days a week in New York," he once said in jest, "that I may live two in Connecticut" In 1893 he served on the commission for the Chicago Columbian Exposition He also served as a delegate to Connecticut's 1902 Constitutional Convention6


Waller died on January 25, 1924, at his Ocean Beach home in New London He is interred at Cedar Grove Cemetery in New London, Connecticut There is a Waller Street in New London that is named after him


  1. ^ "Thomas M Waller" Connecticut State Library Retrieved December 7, 2012 
  2. ^ "Thomas M Waller" Connecticut State Library Retrieved December 7, 2012 
  3. ^ "Thomas M Waller" The Political Graveyard Retrieved December 7, 2012 
  4. ^ "Thomas M Waller" National Governors Association Retrieved December 7, 2012 
  5. ^ "Thomas M Waller" National Governors Association Retrieved December 7, 2012 
  6. ^ "Thomas M Waller" Connecticut State Library Retrieved December 7, 2012 

External linksedit

  • Sobel, Robert and John Raimo Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978 Greenwood Press, 1988 ISBN 0-313-28093-2
  • Thomas M Waller at Find a Grave
  • Office of the House Clerk
  • Connecticut State Library
  • National Governors Association
  • The Political Graveyard

Political offices
Preceded by
Hobart B Bigelow
Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
Henry B Harrison

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