Thompson H. Murch

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Thompson Henry Murch
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1879 – March 3, 1883
Preceded by Eugene Hale
Succeeded by (none)
Personal details
Born March 29, 1838
Hampden, Maine, USA
Died December 15, 1886
Danvers, Massachusetts, USA
Political party Greenback
Profession Politician, Stonecutter, Editor, Publisher, Merchant

Thompson Henry Murch (March 29, 1838 – December 15, 1886) was a nineteenth-century politician, stonecutter, editor, publisher and merchant from Maine. He was among the first trade unionists elected to the United States Congress.

Born in Hampden, Maine, Murch attended common schools as a child and spent his early life at sea. His father was a sea-captain who died when Murch was an infant. Murch learned the trade of stonecutting and engaged in that occupation for eighteen years, living in a rented house on Dix Island, the site of a major granite quarry. He became editor and publisher of the Granite Cutters' International Journal in 1877 and was secretary of the Granite Cutters' International Association of America in 1877 and 1878.

Murch was elected a Greenbacker to the United States House of Representatives in 1878, serving from 1879 to 1883. Murch's election, along with fellow Greenback candidate George W. Ladd from nearby Bangor, greatly embarrassed the state and national Republican establishments, who'd come to consider Maine safe for the party. Murch was attacked in the New York Times and other Republican papers as "the Communist candidate" and called disrespectfully "Murch, the stonecutter". A front-page New York Times article caricatured him as "an ignorant stone-cutter who was never heard of until a few months ago, a Communist, a demagogue of the lowest type".[1]

Less biased sources described Murch as honest, decent, and a devoted family man. The Reading (Penn) Eagle suggested that even thousands of Republicans supported Murch as "the man who broke the Blaine, Hale, Hamlin Ring", referring to the three most prominent Republican politicians in Maine, one of whom (Hale) Murch had defeated.[2]

After his defeat in the 1882 election, Murch engaged in mercantile pursuits until his death in Danvers, Massachusetts on December 15, 1886. He was interred in Hampden Cemetery in Hampden, Maine.


  1. ^ New York Times, Sept. 7, 1878, p. 1; Sept. 19, 1878, p. 4
  2. ^ Reading (Penn) Eagle, Oct. 8, 1878, p. 2

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Eugene Hale
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 5th congressional district

March 4, 1879 – March 3, 1883
Succeeded by