Thomas Watkins Ligon

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Thomas Watkins Ligon
Thomas ligon maryland.jpg
30th Governor of Maryland
In office
January 11, 1854 January 13, 1858
Preceded by Enoch Louis Lowe
Succeeded by Thomas H. Hicks
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Maryland's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1845 March 3, 1849
Preceded by John Wethered
Succeeded by Edward Hammond
Member of the Maryland House of Delegates
In office
Personal details
Born(1810-05-10)May 10, 1810
Farmville, Virginia, US
Died January 12, 1881(1881-01-12) (aged 70)
Howard County, Maryland, US
Political party Democratic

Sally Ann Dorsey (m. 1840, her death)

Mary Tolly Dorsey (m. 1840–1881, (his death)
Alma mater Hampden–Sydney College
University of Virginia
Yale Law School

Thomas Watkins Ligon (May 10, 1810 January 12, 1881), a Democrat, was the 30th Governor of Maryland in the United States from 1854 to 1858. He also a member of the United States House of Representatives, serving Maryland's third Congressional district from 1845 until 1849. He was the second Maryland governor born in Virginia and was a minority party governor, who faced bitter opposition from an openly hostile legislature.

Democratic Party (United States) political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party. The Democrats' dominant worldview was once social conservatism and economic liberalism while populism was its leading characteristic in the rural South. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third-party candidate in the Progressive Party, beginning a switch of political platforms between the Democratic and Republican Party over the coming decades, and leading to Woodrow Wilson being elected as the first fiscally progressive Democrat. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition in the 1930s, the Democratic Party has also promoted a social liberal platform, supporting social justice.

Governor of Maryland head of state and of the executive branch of government of the State of Maryland, United States

The governor of the State of Maryland heads the executive branch of the government of the State of Maryland, and is the commander-in-chief of the state's National Guard units. The governor is the highest-ranking official in the state and has a broad range of appointive powers in both the state and local governments, as specified by the Maryland Constitution. Because of the extent of these constitutional powers, the governor of Maryland has been ranked as being among the most powerful governors in the United States.

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they comprise the legislature of the United States.



Thomas Watkins Ligon he was born on May 10, 1810, near Farmville, Virginia, the son of Thomas D. Ligon and Martha Watkins. He graduated from Hampden–Sydney College, then entered the University of Virginia. He graduated from Yale Law School and returned to Virginia where he was admitted to the bar. In 1833, he moved to Baltimore, Maryland where he practiced law for the next 20 years. On September 29, 1840, he married Sally Ann Dorsey and made his home in Ellicott City, Maryland. Mrs. Ligon died shortly after their marriage and he married her sister, Mary Tolly Dorsey. He had one son and one daughter. [1]

Farmville, Virginia Town in Virginia, United States

Farmville is a town in Prince Edward and Cumberland counties in the U.S. state of Virginia. The population was 8,216 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Prince Edward County.

Hampden–Sydney College

Hampden–Sydney College (H-SC) is a liberal arts college for men in Hampden Sydney, Virginia. Founded in 1775, Hampden–Sydney is the oldest privately chartered college in the southern United States, the tenth-oldest college in the nation, the last college founded before the American Declaration of Independence, and one of only three four-year, all-male liberal arts colleges remaining in the United States. Hampden–Sydney College is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. It is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA).

University of Virginia public research university in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

The University of Virginia is a public research university in Charlottesville, Virginia. The flagship university of Virginia, it is also a World Heritage site of the United States. It was founded in 1819 by Declaration of Independence author and former President Thomas Jefferson. UVA is known for its historic foundations, student-run honor code, and secret societies.

In 1843, he was elected to a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates from Howard County and in 1845, the Democrats nominated him for Congress. He defeated the incumbent John Wethered by a majority of about 1,000 votes, and was re-elected by a larger margin in 1847. He served in the Twenty-Ninth and Thirtieth Congresses, taking his seat on December 1, 1845 and retiring on March 3, 1849. [1]

Maryland House of Delegates lower house of U.S. state legislature

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.

Howard County, Maryland County in the United States

Howard County is a county in the central part of the U.S. state of Maryland. As of the 2010 census, the population was 287,085. Its county seat is Ellicott City.

John Wethered was a U.S. Representative from Maryland.

In the gubernatorial election of 1853, the Whigs nominated Richard Johns Bowie of Montgomery County to face Ligon, who had been nominated by the Democrats. Ligon defeated his opponent by about 4,200 votes, but he and his party were in the minority in the Legislature. He was inaugurated on January 11, 1854, and he pledged himself to work for the establishment of a system of common schools, the improvement of Maryland’s soils, and increased aid to agriculture. All these were shortly forgotten, when he and his 'Know-Nothing' opponents in the Legislature came into conflict. He supported the foundation of an agricultural college with an experimental farm attached, a step which the Legislature later took when it established the old Maryland Agricultural College at College Park. The Know-Nothing Riot of 1856 occurred during his term. [1]

University of Maryland, College Park public research university in the city of College Park in Prince Georges County, Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park is a public research university in College Park, Maryland. Founded in 1856, UMD is the flagship institution of the University System of Maryland, and is the largest university in both the state and the Washington metropolitan area, with more than 41,000 students representing all fifty states and 123 countries, and a global alumni network of over 360,000. Its twelve schools and colleges together offer over 200 degree-granting programs, including 92 undergraduate majors, 107 master's programs, and 83 doctoral programs. UMD is a member of the Association of American Universities and competes in intercollegiate athletics as a member of the Big Ten Conference.

College Park, Maryland City in Maryland, United States

The City of College Park is in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States, and is about 4 miles (6.4 km) from the northeast border of Washington, D.C. The population was 30,413 at the 2010 United States Census. It is best known as the home of the University of Maryland, College Park, and since 1994 the city has also been home to the National Archives at College Park, a facility of the U.S. National Archives, as well as to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP).

Know-Nothing Riot of 1856

The Know-Nothing Riot of 1856 occurred in Baltimore in the fall of 1856. Street tensions had escalated sharply over the preceding half-dozen years as neighborhood gangs, most of them operating out of local firehouses, became increasingly involved in party politics. Know-Nothing candidate Thomas Swann was elected Mayor of Baltimore in 1856 amidst violence and a heavily disputed ballot.

On January 13, 1858, following the election of his 'Know-Nothing' successor Thomas Holliday Hicks, Ligon retired to his Howard County estate 'Chatham' near Ellicott City. He died at his home on January 12, 1881, and was buried in the family cemetery.

Thomas Holliday Hicks American politician

Thomas Holliday Hicks was a politician in the divided border-state of Maryland during the American Civil War. As governor, opposing the Democrats, his views accurately reflected the conflicting local loyalties. He was pro-slavery but anti-secession. Under pressure to call the General Assembly into special session, he held it in the pro-Union town of Frederick, where he was able to keep the state from seceding.


Ligon Road in the Ellicott City neighborhood of Dunloggin presumably bears his name. He once resided in the Brick House on the Pike, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. [2] He also resided at White Hall, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. [2]

Brick House on the Pike

The Brick House on the Pike is a historic home located at Ellicott City, Howard County, Maryland, United States. It is a large two-story, side-passage, double-pile plan house constructed in two phases, a brick structure built by Caleb Dorsey replacing a wooden structure when he bought the property at the end of the 18th century, and the larger more formal section built by his son Charles Worthington Dorsey about 1817. Also on the property and contemporary with the main house are an ice house foundation, a stone stable or carriage house and three board-and-batten outbuildings dating from the late 19th or early 20th century. The early Federal features of the house were left essentially untouched in the alterations that took place about 1907, and have remained intact. Edward Hammond undertook this modernization after being given the house as a wedding present by the father of his wife, Reubena Rogers. Electricity, central heat, and a capacious front porch were added, and the roof of the older section of the house was raised, creating a full second floor with dormer windows. Public water, sewer, gas, and modernization of utilities were accomplished between 1995 and 2009 by Dr Edward Rogers, a direct descendant of Caleb Dorsey. The previous owners, the Lassotovitch, Hammond, Ligon, and Dorsey families are all related. Governor Thomas Watkins Ligon (1810–1881) of Maryland lived in the house, having married a Dorsey, before they moved to White Hall, nearby.

National Register of Historic Places federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.

White Hall (Ellicott City, Maryland)

White Hall is a historic home located at Ellicott City, Howard County, Maryland, United States. It consists of three sections: the east wing, dating from the early 19th century, the center section, and the west wing. In 1890 the house was partially destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1900. Three outbuildings remain on the White Hall property: a small square frame workshop; a smokehouse-privy; and springhouse.

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  1. 1 2 3 Frank F. White, Jr. (1970), "Biography of Thomas Watkins Ligon", The Governors of Maryland 1777-1970, Annapolis: The Hall of Records Commission, pp. 147–151, OCLC   144620 , retrieved 2011-04-28
  2. 1 2 National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Wethered
U.S. Representative for Maryland's 3rd Congressional District
Succeeded by
Edward Hammond
Political offices
Preceded by
Enoch Louis Lowe
Governor of Maryland
Succeeded by
Thomas H. Hicks