Martin Russell Thayer

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Martin Russell Thayer.

Martin Russell Thayer (January 27, 1819 – October 14, 1906) was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

His Grandnephew was John Borland Thayer, who died on the Sinking of the RMS Titanic.

Early life[edit]

Martin Russell Thayer was born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, near the city limits of Petersburg, Virginia. He attended the Mount Pleasant Classical Institute in Amherst, Massachusetts, and Amherst College. He moved with his father to Philadelphia in 1837. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1840. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1842 and commenced practice in Philadelphia.

Public service[edit]

Thayer was a commissioner to revise the revenue laws of Pennsylvania in 1862. He was elected as a Republican to the Thirty-eighth and Thirty-ninth Congresses, during which he served on the committee on the bankrupt law and was the chairman of the United States House Committee on Private Land Claims. He declined to be a candidate for re-election in 1866, and resumed the practice of law.

Thayer was judge of the district court of Philadelphia from 1867 to 1874, and served as president judge of the court of common pleas of Philadelphia from 1874 until his resignation in 1896. In 1873 he was appointed on the board of visitors to West Point, and wrote the report. (Some 40 years earlier, his cousin Sylvanus Thayer had been superintendent of West Point.) He was elected by the judges of the common pleas court prothonotary of Philadelphia in 1896. He also engaged in literary pursuits. He died in Philadelphia in 1906 and is buried in the churchyard of Church of St. James the Less in Philadelphia.


  • The Duties of Citizenship (Philadelphia, 1862)
  • A Reply to Mr. Charles Ingersoll's "Letter to a Friend in a Slave State." (Philadelphia, 1862)
  • The Great Victory: its Cost and Value (1865)
  • The Law considered as a Progressive Science (1870)
  • On Libraries (1871)
  • The Life and Works of Francis Lieber (1873)
  • The Battle of Germantown (1878)



External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William M. Davis
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Caleb N. Taylor