Thomas H. Seymour

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Thomas H. Seymour
36th Governor of Connecticut
In office
May 4, 1850 – October 13, 1853
LieutenantCharles H. Pond
Green Kendrick
Charles H. Pond
Preceded byJoseph Trumbull
Succeeded byCharles H. Pond
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1845
Preceded byJoseph Trumbull
Succeeded byJames Dixon
Personal details
Thomas Hart Seymour

September 29, 1807
Hartford, Connecticut, US
DiedSeptember 3, 1868(1868-09-03) (aged 60)
Hartford, Connecticut, US
Political partyDemocratic
ProfessionPolitician, Lawyer

Thomas Hart Seymour (September 29, 1807 – September 3, 1868) was an American lawyer and Democratic politician who served as the 36th Governor of Connecticut from 1850 to 1853 and as Minister to Russia from 1853 to 1858. He was the leader of the peace settlement in the Democratic Party, and narrowly lost the April 1863 gubernatorial election.

Early life[edit]

Born in Hartford, Connecticut to Major Henry Seymour and Jane Ellery, Seymour was sent to public schools as a child and graduated from Middletown Military Academy in Middletown, Connecticut in 1829. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1833, commencing practice in Hartford.[1]


A judge of probate from 1836 to 1838, Seymour was also Editor of the Jeffersonian from 1837 to 1838. In 1842, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served one term from 1843 to 1845,[2] declining reelection in 1844.

During the Mexican–American War, Seymour was commissioned as a major in the Connecticut Infantry on March 16, 1846, later recommissioned to the new 9th United States Infantry on April 9, 1847. Due to his courageous leadership at the Battle of Chapultepec, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 12th Infantry under Colonel Milledge L. Bonham on August 12, 1847.[3]

After the war, Seymour made an unsuccessful run for Governor of Connecticut in 1849, but was elected governor by the Connecticut General Assembly the next year in 1850. He was re-elected in 1851, 1852 and 1853. He served as an 1852 presidential elector, endorsing Franklin Pierce and, in return for his support, Seymour was appointed to serve as minister to Russia and resigned the governorship shortly after being reelected to a fourth term. He accepted the commission of Minister to Russia from President Franklin Pierce.[4] He resigned from the governorship on October 13, 1853, and spent the next four years in Russia, where he built a warm and ongoing alliance with the Czar Nicholas and his son. He served in this position until 1858 when President James Buchanan replaced him with Francis W. Pickens. In Russia, his attaches included Daniel Coit Gilman and Andrew Dickson White.

Seymour made two unsuccessful attempts to return to the governorship in 1860 and 1863 and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for President of the United States at the 1864 Democratic National Convention, losing to Civil War general George B. McClellan.

Death and legacy[edit]

Thomas Henry Seymour gravestone in Cedar Hill Cemetery

Seymour died of typhoid fever, in Hartford, Connecticut on September 3, 1868 (age 60 years, 340 days).[5] He is interred at Cedar Hill Cemetery. In 1850 the town of Humphreysville, Connecticut—then contemplating a change of name—was renamed Seymour in his honor.


  1. ^ "Thomas H. Seymour". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  2. ^ "Thomas H. Seymour". Govtrack US Congress. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Thomas H. Seymour". National Governors Association. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Thomas H. Seymour". National Governors Association. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Thomas H. Seymour". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 1 December 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Cowden, Joanna D. "The Politics of Dissent: Civil War Democrats in Connecticut," New England Quarterly (1983) 56#4 pp. 538–554 DOI: 10.2307/365104 in JSTOR
  • Niven, John. Connecticut for the Union: The Role of the State in the Civil War (Yale University Press, 1965)
  • Talmadge, John E. "A Peace Movement in Civil War Connecticut." New England Quarterly (1964): 306-321. in JSTOR
  • Warshauer, Matthew. Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice, and Survival (Wesleyan University Press, 2011)

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Connecticut
1849, 1850, 1851, 1852, 1853
Succeeded by
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 1st congressional district

March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1845
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Connecticut
May 4, 1850 – October 13, 1853
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Russia
May 24, 1853 – July 17, 1858
Succeeded by

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website