Cameron E. Thom

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Cameron E. Thom
Portret Camerona Erskina Thoma.jpg
Portrait of Cameron E. Thom
16th Mayor of Los Angeles
In office
December 9, 1882 – December 9, 1884
Preceded byJames R. Toberman
Succeeded byEdward F. Spence
Personal details
Cameron Erskine Thom

(1825-06-20)June 20, 1825
Culpeper County, Virginia, or Richmond, Virginia
DiedFebruary 2, 1915 (1915-02-03) (aged 89)
Los Angeles, California

Cameron Erskine Thom (June 20, 1825 – February 2, 1915) was a lawyer, a legislator, a Confederate officer in the Civil War and the 16th mayor of Los Angeles, California, from 1882 to 1884.


Thom was born in Culpeper County, Virginia, or in Richmond, Virginia, on June 20, 1825, the son of John Thom, who had been an officer in the War of 1812 and for 30 years was a Virginia state senator.[1] Cameron was educated in private schools in Virginia and was graduated from the University of Virginia, where he earned a law degree.[2][3]

After university, Thom traveled west in a caravan of some 40 young men and arrived in Sacramento in 1849. He gathered gold on the South Fork of the American River, in Amador County, then settled in Sacramento to open a law office. Thom served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg and ended the war as a captain.[2]

Thom was married twice, first in 1858 to Susan Henrietta Hathwell, and then, after Susan's death in 1862, to her sister, Belle Cameron Hathwell, in 1874. He had four children, Cameron DeHart, Charles Catesby, Erskine Pembroke and Belle (Mrs. Arthur Collins of London, England).[2]

Thom died on February 2, 1915, at the age of 89.[3] A funeral service in his home at 2070 West Adams Street attracted a "company of several hundred persons," including representatives of the Society of Colonial Wars, of which he was a founder and charter member. Interment was in Evergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles.[4]


Thom arrived in California in 1849 during the gold rush and after a few years of successful mining, he studied law in Sacramento. In fall 1853 he moved to San Francisco, where he worked as a deputy agent for the United States Land Commission, and then to Los Angeles, where he had a similar job. Shortly after arriving, he was appointed Los Angeles County district attorney, and he later won the office in an election. He was also elected Los Angeles city attorney for the 1856–58 term.[2][5]

In 1859–60 Thom was state senator from California's 1st State Senate district, and he was Los Angeles County district attorney from 1854 to 1857, from 1869 to 1873 and from 1877 to 1879. He was mayor of Los Angeles from 1882 to 1884,[6] and he was on the Board of Freeholders that framed the first city charter for L.A.[2]

City of Glendale[edit]

The land case known as "The Great Partition" of 1871 resulted in the division of Rancho San Rafael into thirty-one sections which were given to twenty-eight different people including 724 acres (2.93 km2) for Thom. The land belonging to Prudent Beaudry, Alfred Chapman, Andrew Glassell and Thom evolved into Glendale. Thom, Harry J. Crow, and Thom's nephew, Erskine Mayo Ross, along with B. F. Patterson and B. T. Byram, were responsible for the creation of the city of Glendale in 1887.[7]


  1. ^ Press Reference Library Notables of the West. Vol. II. International News Service. 1915. p. 347. Retrieved July 25, 2020 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b c d e Clare Wallace, Los Angeles Public Library reference file, 1938, with sources as listed there
  3. ^ a b "Useful Hands, Brain Stilled," Los Angeles Times, February 3, 1915, page II-3
  4. ^ "Sweetly Sleeps in Evergreen," Los Angeles Times, February 5, 1919, page II-1
  5. ^ Chronological Record of Los Angeles City Officials 1850–1938, Municipal Reference Library, March 1938, reprinted 1946.
  6. ^ Michael Parish, For the People—Inside the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office ISBN 1-883318-15-7, quoted at Los Angeles County District Attorney Office website.
  7. ^ John Calvin Sherer, 1922, History of Glendale and Vicinity, The Glendale Publishing Company (1922).
Political offices
Preceded by California's 1st State Senate district
Succeeded by
Preceded by Los Angeles County District Attorney
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Los Angeles City Attorney
Succeeded by
James H. Lader