Thomas Veazey

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Thomas Ward Veazey
Thomas Veazey, 1836 painting.jpg
24th Governor of Maryland
In office
January 14, 1836 January 7, 1839
Preceded by James Thomas
Succeeded by William Grason
Member of the Maryland House of Delegates
In office
Personal details
Born(1774-01-31)January 31, 1774
Cecil County, Province of Maryland, British America
DiedJuly 1, 1842(1842-07-01) (aged 68)
Cecil County, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Whig Party
Spouse(s)Sarah Worrell, Mary Veazey, and Mary Wallace

Thomas Ward Veazey (January 31, 1774 July 1, 1842) was a Maryland politician that served in a variety of roles. The zenith of his career was being the 24th Governor of the state from 1836 to 1839, when he was selected to serve three consecutive one-year terms by the Maryland General Assembly. Veazey was the last Maryland governor to be elected in this fashion and also the last Whig Party member to serve as Maryland governor.

Maryland State of the United States of America

Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. It is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, known in England as Queen Mary.

Maryland General Assembly legislative body of the State of Maryland, United States

The Maryland General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maryland that convenes within the State House in Annapolis. It is a bicameral body: the upper chamber, the Maryland State Senate, has 47 representatives and the lower chamber, the Maryland House of Delegates, has 141 representatives. Members of both houses serve four-year terms. Each house elects its own officers, judges the qualifications and election of its own members, establishes rules for the conduct of its business, and may punish or expel its own members.

Whig Party (United States) Political party in the USA in the 19th century

The Whig Party was a political party active in the middle of the 19th century in the United States. Four presidents belonged to the party while in office. It emerged in the 1830s as the leading opponent of Jacksonian democracy, pulling together former members of the National Republican and the Anti-Masonic Party. It had some links to the upscale traditions of the long-defunct Federalist Party. Along with the rival Democratic Party, it was central to the Second Party System from the early 1840s to the mid-1860s. It originally formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic Party. It became a formal party within his second term, and slowly receded influence after 1854. In particular terms, the Whigs supported the supremacy of Congress over the presidency and favored a program of modernization, banking and economic protectionism to stimulate manufacturing. It appealed to entrepreneurs, planters, reformers and the emerging urban middle class, but had little appeal to farmers or unskilled workers. It included many active Protestants and voiced a moralistic opposition to the Jacksonian Indian removal. Party founders chose the "Whig" name to echo the American Whigs of the 18th century who fought for independence. The political philosophy of the American Whig Party was not related to the British Whig party. Historian Frank Towers has specified a deep ideological divide:



Thomas Ward Veazey was born at "Cherry Grove," in Cecil County, on January 31, 1774. He was the son of Edward Veazey and Elizabeth DeCausey. His father was a Cecil County planter, who served as High Sheriff of Cecil County from 1751 to 1753 His mother and father died when Thomas was young, so the governor was orphaned at an early age. He was married three times, and had a large family. He married his first wife, Sarah Worrell, of Kent County, Maryland, in 1794. She died the following year, leaving a daughter. He then married his first cousin Mary Veazey. She died in 1810, leaving a family of five children. On September 24, 1812, Veazey married Mary Wallace of Elkton, by whom he was the father of five additional children. [1]

Cecil County, Maryland County in the United States

Cecil County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2010 census, the population was 101,108. The county seat is Elkton. The county was named for Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore (1605–1675), the first Proprietary Governor of the Province (colony) of Maryland. It is the only Maryland county that is part of the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metropolitan Statistical Area. Cecil County has existed since the late 1600s, though it continued to grow in population and town size.

Kent County, Maryland County in the United States

Kent County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2010 census, its population was 20,197, making it the least populous county in Maryland. Its county seat is Chestertown. The county was named for the county of Kent in England. The county is located on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Elkton, Maryland Town in Maryland, United States

Elkton is a town in and the county seat of Cecil County, Maryland, United States. The population was 15,443 at the 2010 census. It was formerly called Head of Elk because it sits at the head of navigation on the Elk River, which flows into the nearby Chesapeake Bay.

He graduated from Washington College in 1795, then returned home to become a planter. He was a presidential elector for James Madison in 1808 and again in 1812. He began his career in the Maryland House of Delegates, serving from 1811 to 1812. During the War of 1812, he was in command of the forces which defended Fredericktown in Cecil County. He later served as Lieutenant-Colonel of the Forty-Ninth Maryland Regiment. He returned to his farm after the war, where he remained until 1833, when he was chosen as a member of the Governor’s Council. [1]

Washington College American liberal arts college

Washington College is a private, independent liberal arts college in Chestertown, Maryland. Maryland granted Washington College its charter in 1782. George Washington supported the founding of the college by consenting to have the "College at Chester" named in his honor, through generous financial support, and through service on the college's Board of Visitors and Governors. Washington College is the 10th-oldest college in the United States and was the first college chartered after American independence. The school became coeducational in 1891.

Maryland House of Delegates lower house of the Maryland General Assembly

The Maryland House of Delegates is the lower house of the legislature of the State of Maryland. It consists of 141 delegates elected from 47 districts. The House of Delegates Chamber is in the Maryland State House on State Circle in Annapolis, the state capital. The State House also houses the Maryland State Senate Chamber and the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of the State of Maryland. Each delegate has offices in Annapolis, in the nearby Casper R. Taylor Jr. House Office Building.

War of 1812 32-month military conflict between the United States and the British Empire

The War of 1812 was a conflict fought between the United States, the United Kingdom, and their respective allies from June 1812 to February 1815. Historians in Britain often see it as a minor theater of the Napoleonic Wars; in the United States and Canada, it is seen as a war in its own right.

In 1835, the Whigs in the Legislature nominated Veazey as their candidate for governor to succeed James Thomas. He received 52 out of the 76 ballots cast and was sworn into office on January 14, 1836. The first impression made by the Veazey administration was favorable. His administration authorized $8 million to begin projects such as the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal as well as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The money appropriated was not in the Treasury, paving the way for the reckless irresponsibility which nearly bankrupted the State. [1]

James Thomas (Governor of Maryland) American politician

James Thomas served as the 23rd Governor of the state of Maryland in the United States from 1833 to 1836. He practiced medicine and served as judge in several courts throughout Maryland, and served in the Maryland State Senate from 1824 to 1830.

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal canal in Washington, D.C. and Maryland

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, abbreviated as the C&O Canal and occasionally called the "Grand Old Ditch," operated from 1831 until 1924 along the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., to Cumberland, Maryland. The canal's principal cargo was coal from the Allegheny Mountains.

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad former rail system in the United States of America

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the first common carrier railroad and the oldest railroad in the United States, with its first section opening in 1830. It came into being mostly because the city of Baltimore wanted to compete with the newly constructed Erie Canal and another canal being proposed by Pennsylvania, which would have connected Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. At first this railroad was located entirely in the state of Maryland, with an original line built from the port of Baltimore west to Sandy Hook.

In 1836, the Reform Convention met in Baltimore and demanded the direct election of the Governor and the Senate, the elimination of the Governor’s Council and the reapportionment of the House of Delegates. This act set the stage for the constitutional crisis of 1837, which his administration successfully resolved. He was re-elected on January 2, 1837, receiving 70 of the 81 votes cast. Governor Veazey was re-elected in 1838, and received 52 of the 81 votes. The gubernatorial election in 1838 marked the last time the General Assembly was to elect a governor. After 1838, the Governor would now be chosen directly by the people. The State Senate was also reorganized by awarding one Senator to each county and one to Baltimore City. The people would choose them directly while both the old Senatorial Electoral College and the Governor’s Council were abolished in accordance with his recommendations. [1]

The governor vehemently and firmly believed in slavery, advocated for a general system of education throughout the State, and expressed a great deal of interest and concern over the matter of internal improvements. When his term ended in January 1839, when he was succeeded by William Grason. [1]

Internal improvements is the term used historically in the United States for public works from the end of the American Revolution through much of the 19th century, mainly for the creation of a transportation infrastructure: roads, turnpikes, canals, harbors and navigation improvements. This older term carries the connotation of a political movement that called for the exercise of public spirit as well as the search for immediate economic gain. Improving the country's natural advantages by developments in transportation was, in the eyes of George Washington and many others, a duty incumbent both on governments and on individual citizens.

William Grason American politician

William Grason served as the 25th Governor of the state of Maryland in the United States from 1839 to 1842. Grason also served as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1828 to 1829, and as a member of the Maryland State Senate from 1852 until 1853. He was the first Governor of Maryland directly elected by the general electorate and the first elected governor from the Eastern Shore of Maryland due to a system that rotated the governorship by requiring the governor come from one of three regions in sequence.

During his term as Governor, Veazey became embroiled in a dispute with the State of Pennsylvania over the freedom of Margaret Morgan and her free born children who were kidnapped by slave kidnappers Edward Prigg and 3 other men. These men believed Margaret Morgan was the property of the late John Ashmore of Hartford County, Maryland. Governor Veazey had to negotiate with the Governor of Pennsylvania Joseph Ritner regarding the extradition of these slave catchers back to York County Pennsylvania. Veazey had to obey the law so he extradited the 4 slave catchers back to York, Pa. Edward Prigg and the 3 others stood trial for kidnapping Margaret Morgan and her children. They were tried and convicted by a jury in Pennsylvania. This state conviction was overturned by the United states Supreme Court in Prigg vs. Pennsylvania in 1842. This overturning led to all of the state laws which protected African Americans in the Northern states from kidnappings by slave catchers in enslavement to be ruled unconstitutional. He then retired to his Cecil County plantation, where he died on July 1, 1842. He was buried in the family cemetery at "Cherry Grove." [1]


His home, Greenfields, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. [2]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Frank F. White Jr. (1970), "Biography of Thomas W. Veazey", The Governors of Maryland 1777–1970, Annapolis: The Hall of Records Commission, pp. 111–115, OCLC   144620 , retrieved April 28, 2011
  2. National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service.
Political offices
Preceded by
James Thomas
Governor of Maryland
Succeeded by
William Grason