Joshua Van Sant

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Joshua Van Sant (December 31, 1803 – April 8, 1884) was a United States Congressional representative from Maryland.

Van Sant was born in Millington in Kent County, Maryland. He moved with his parents to Wilmington, Delaware, in 1807, and later to Philadelphia in 1812. He attended the common schools before moving to Baltimore, Maryland. He engaged in hat making in 1817, became a journeyman, and continued at that trade until 1835. He was an unsuccessful candidate as a Jackson Democrat to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1833 and 1834, but served as a delegate to the State constitutional convention in 1836. He also served as postmaster of Baltimore from 1839 to 1841, served as a member of the House of Delegates in 1845, and as commissioner of Baltimore finances from March 1, 1846 to March 1, 1855. He was trustee of the city and county almshouse from 1847 to 1853 and in 1861. He also served as commissioner of public schools from 1852 to 1854, and later as president of that organization in 1854. He is mentioned as the President of the (Baltimore) Institute of Music in 1856 (see Baltimore Sun 25 November 1856).

Van Sant was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-third Congress, where he served from March 4, 1853, to March 3, 1855. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the Thirty-fourth Congress in 1854. He later served as a presidential elector on the Democratic ticket of John C. Breckinridge in 1860, and was delegate to the State constitutional convention in 1867. He was director of the Maryland State Penitentiary from 1867 to 1869, serving two years as president. He was member of the board of trustees of the McDonough Educational Fund and Institute from 1867 to 1871, serving as president in 1871, and member and president of the board for Bay View Asylum from 1868 to 1870.

Van Sant served as mayor of Baltimore from 1871 to 1875, but declined to be a candidate for renomination. He was appointed city comptroller of Baltimore in July 1876 and served until January 1881. Afterwards, he was elected to that office and served until his death in Baltimore. He is interred in Greenmount Cemetery.


  • United States Congress. "Joshua Van Sant (id: V000057)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Edward Hammond
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
James Morrison Harris
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert T. Banks
Mayor of Baltimore
Succeeded by
Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe