Thomas T. Minor

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Thomas Taylor Minor
Thomas T. Minor.jpg
17th Mayor of Seattle
In office
Preceded by William H. Shoudy
Succeeded by Robert Moran
Personal details
Born (1844-02-20)February 20, 1844
Manipay, British Ceylon
Died December 2, 1889(1889-12-02) (aged 45)
Camano Island, Washington
United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sarah Montgomery
Children Elizabeth Montgomery Minor
Judith Strong Minor
Parents Eastman Strong Minor
Judith Manchester Taylor
Alma mater Yale School of Medicine
Occupation Physician, Mayor of Seattle, Washington and Port Townsend, Washington and founder of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad.

Thomas T. Minor, (February 20, 1844 – December 2, 1889) was a physician, businessman, civic and political leader who founded the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway and served as mayor of Seattle and Port Townsend, Washington.


Early life and ancestors[edit]

Thomas Taylor Minor[1] was born on February 20, 1844, in Manepy, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) an island country in South Asia, located about 31 kilometres (19.3 mi) off the southern coast of India. He was a son of Eastman Strong Minor, who was descended from an old and esteemed Connecticut family.[2][3] Eastman Minor was a successful printer. He closed his printing business and left Boston, Massachusetts, with his first wife, Lucy Bailey, in October 1833 as Congregational missionaries to Ceylon, to spread the gospel of Christianity from India through Singapore and up to Bangkok. He returned to the United States in July 1851 and settled in New Haven, Connecticut.

His mother, Judith Manchester Taylor, was born in Madison, Madison County, New York in 1814 and died in New York in 1900. She was an orphan and the daughter of Isaac and Judith Taylor. She ran the local school in Ceylon, learned Singhalese, and taught it to her 2 stepchildren as well as her own six children.

He was a direct descendant of Thomas Miner who came originally from Chew Magna in North East Somerset, England, and sailed on the Lyon's Whelp and was a founder of New London, Connecticut, and later of Stonington, Connecticut. He married Grace Palmer in 1634. She was the daughter of Walter Palmer (Puritan).[4] Minor was also an early New England diarist. He was also a descendant, through Jonathan Brewster, of Elder William Brewster (c. 1567 – April 10, 1644), the Pilgrim leader and spiritual elder of the Plymouth Colony and a passenger on the Mayflower.[5][6][7]

His half brother was Dr. William Chester Minor (June 1834 – March 26, 1920). Also known as W. C. Minors, he was an American surgeon who made many scholarly contributions to the Oxford English Dictionary. It was while living at Lambeth that Minor murdered George Merrett, for which he was found criminally insane and confined for the rest of his life at Broadmoor Hospital. His life was chronicled in The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester (published in the United States as The Professor and the Madman).

Education and war years[edit]

He returned to the United States when he was seven years old, locating at New Haven, Connecticut and attended the local school. In 1861, when he was 17, he enlisted in the Union Army as a private in Company G, 7th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry.[8] He rose to the rank of captain and served as hospital steward and then surgeon. After the war, he entered Yale School of Medicine graduating in 1867.

Marriage and family[edit]

Minor married Sarah Montgomery on August 20, 1872, in Oregon. Sarah (born May 21, 1840, in Pennsylvania; died June 11, 1931, in Seattle) was the daughter of William Montgomery and Eliza Moorhead. Thomas and Sarah were the parents of two daughters:

  • Elizabeth Montgomery Minor, born on May 14, 1874, in Port Townsend, Washington; died November 24, 1958, in Seattle. She married on January 2, 1900, at Seattle's Trinity Episcopal Parish Church, Bernard Pelly, who was born on June 5, 1860, at Little Hallingbury, England, to Justinian Pelly and Fanny Ingleby. The great-nephew of Sir John Pelly, 1st Baronet, Pelly was the British vice-consul (later consul) to Seattle. He died on August 10, 1938, in Seattle.
  • Judith Strong Minor (born December 2, 1876, Port Townsend; died July 19, 1959, Philadelphia). On April 15, 1909, in Seattle, she married Lyman Roswell Colt (born January 5, 1868, at Orange, New Jersey; died January 9, 1927, at Winter Haven, Florida). Colt was the son of Mary Beekman Borrows and Morgan Gibbs Colt, who was the son of New Jersey businessman Roswell L. Colt (1779–1856) and first cousin of gunmaker Samuel Colt (1814–1862).[9] Lyman Colt had lived in Alaska and the Yukon and was one of Jack London's acquaintances in Dawson City during the Klondike Gold Rush. He later raised cattle at his small ranch at Chelan in Washington state.


In 1868, Minor moved from Nebraska to Port Townsend, where he was an owner and partner in the Marine Hospital. In 1880, he was elected mayor of Port Townsend; he was reelected the following year.

In 1883, he moved to Seattle and joined the Chamber of Commerce. On July 11, 1887 he was elected mayor of Seattle by a substantial majority.

He was active in the territorial and national Republican Party.


He died, along with his friend George Morris Haller,[10] and Haller’s brother-in-law Lewis Cox, on or about December 2, 1889, apparently when their canoe overturned in Saratoga Passage near Camano Island. Minor's body was never recovered. The city of Seattle held a memorial service and a procession on Sunday, December 15, 1899.


  • Thomas Pelly[11][12] Republican politician for many years United States Congressman.
  • Charles Moriarty, Jr. (1928–1999), Washington State Representative 1957–1959, Washington State Senator 1959–1966.[13] Son of Charles P. Moriarty, U.S. Attorney in Washington 1953–1961. They are members of the Moriartys and Pellys political families in the United States.


The names of Seattle’s Minor Avenue and T. T. Minor Elementary School both honor Thomas Minor.


  1. ^ National Magazine: A Monthly Journal of American History. 12. Magazine of Western History Publishing Co. 1890. p. 85. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  2. ^ Dwight, B.W. (1871). The History of the Descendants of Elder John Strong, of Northampton, Mass. 1. J. Munsell. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Thomas Miner and his Descendants". [1]. Accessed 31 July 2007. Note that some accounts have him arriving on the ship Arabella during the Great Migration, arriving in Salem Harbor on June 14, 1630.
  4. ^ "Biography of Walter Palmer". Walter Palmer Society. Accessed 31 July 2007.
  5. ^ Cutter, W.R.; Adams, W.F. (1910). Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts. 2. Lewis historical publishing Company. p. 1066. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  7. ^ Dr. Thomas T. Minor, Eastman Strong Minor, Eunice Strong, Abel Strong, Tabitha Brewster, Peter, William, Benjamin, Jonathan, William, of the Mayflower.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
  9. ^ Loomis, E. (1880). The Descendants (by the Female Branches) of Joseph Loomis: Who Came from Braintree, England, in the Year 1638, and Settled in Windsor, Connecticut in 1639. 1. Tuttle, Morehouse and Taylor. p. 160. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  10. ^ Haller was a prominent, early lawyer in northwestern Washington Territory and was the son of Col. Granville O. Haller, one of the most famous military men of the region. George was an early law partner with Judge Thomas Burke (Seattle), the organizer behind the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway.
  11. ^ "Thomas Minor Pelly (1902 - 1973) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  12. ^ "Obituaries | Former Sen. Charles Moriarty Jr. Was In Group That Changed GOP | Seattle Times Newspaper". Retrieved 24 August 2015.


Political offices
Preceded by
William H. Shoudy
Mayor of Seattle
Succeeded by
Robert Moran