Thomas Talbot (Massachusetts)

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Thomas Talbot
GovThomasTalbot.jpg
31st Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 2, 1879 – January 8, 1880
Lieutenant John Davis Long
Preceded by Alexander H. Rice
Succeeded by John D. Long
29th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
In office
1873 – January 7, 1875
Acting Governor
April 29, 1874 – January 7, 1875
Governor William B. Washburn
Preceded by Joseph Tucker
Succeeded by Horatio G. Knight
Personal details
Born (1818-09-07)September 7, 1818
Cambridge, New York
Died October 6, 1886(1886-10-06) (aged 68)
Lowell, Massachusetts
Political party Republican
Signature

Thomas Talbot (September 7, 1818 – October 6, 1886) was the 31st Governor of Massachusetts, and a major textile manufacturer in Billerica, Massachusetts.

Life[edit]

Thomas Talbot was born on September 7, 1818 in Cambridge, New York to Charles and Phoebe (White) Talbot. His father, a wealthy textile manufacturer, died when he was six, and his mother moved the family to Northampton, Massachusetts, where he attended local schools.

Talbot in 1825 joined a weaving firm established by his older brother Charles in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, where he was employed as a finisher, but rose to become superintendent. In 1840, the two brothers established C.P. Talbot & Co., a business partnership that lasted until Charles died in 1884. The business started out processing dyewoods for use in the textile industry, but expanded into other industrial chemical processing in 1849. The brothers acquired the water rights of the defunct Middlesex Canal Corporation, and in 1857 they established Talbot Mills in North Billerica, Massachusetts, in partnership with the Belvidere Mill Company. The business was successful, and the brothers acquired full control of that business in 1862. Thomas focused on the textile business while Charles continued to manage the dye and chemical interests, expanding the facilities in 1870 and again in 1880.

The mill site in Billerica was not without some controversy. The dam, which had been constructed in the 1790s to provide water for the Middlesex Canal, was believed by some to be responsible for the flooding of fields upstream as far as Sudbury. There were calls to remove the dam, which Talbot vigorously resisted. The dispute was partly played out in the state legislature, and brought Talbot to the attention of political leaders as a potential candidate for office.

Talbot served many years in the Massachusetts legislature, sat in the governor's council from 1864 to 1869, and in 1872 was chosen lieutenant-governor, as a Republican. On the election of Governor William B. Washburn to the United States Senate in 1873, he became governor, but lost the election in 1874. In 1878, he was again elected and served until 1880, when he declined to run again for office. He died in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1885. The Talbot Mill properties in North Billerica are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Billerica Mills Historic District.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph Tucker
Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
1873–1875
Succeeded by
Horatio G. Knight
Preceded by
William B. Washburn
Governor
Acting Governor of Massachusetts
April 29, 1874–January 7, 1875
Succeeded by
William Gaston
Governor
Preceded by
Alexander H. Rice
Governor of Massachusetts
January 2, 1879 – January 8, 1880
Succeeded by
John D. Long