Thompson H. Murch

Last updated
Thompson H. Murch
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Maine's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1879 March 3, 1883
Preceded by Eugene Hale
Succeeded byDistrict eliminated
Personal details
Thompson Henry Murch

March 29, 1838
Hampden, Maine, USA
DiedDecember 15, 1886(1886-12-15) (aged 48)
Danvers, Massachusetts, USA
Political party Greenback
Profession Politician, Stonecutter, Editor, Publisher, Merchant

Thompson Henry Murch (March 29, 1838 December 15, 1886) was a nineteenth-century politician, stonecutter, editor, publisher and merchant from Maine. He was among the first trade unionists elected to the United States Congress.

Maine state of the United States of America

Maine is the northernmost state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. Maine is the 12th smallest by area, the 9th least populous, and the 38th most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states. It is bordered by New Hampshire to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast, and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Québec to the northeast and northwest, respectively. Maine is the only state to border just one other state, is the easternmost among the contiguous United States, and is the northernmost state east of the Great Lakes.

Trade union Organization of workers with common goals

A trade union is an association of workers forming a legal unit or legal personhood, usually called a "bargaining unit", which acts as bargaining agent and legal representative for a unit of employees in all matters of law or right arising from or in the administration of a collective agreement. Labour unions typically fund the formal organization, head office, and legal team functions of the labour union through regular fees or union dues. The delegate staff of the labour union representation in the workforce are made up of workplace volunteers who are appointed by members in democratic elections.


Life and career

Murch was born in Hampden, Maine, the son of Mary and Thompson Henry Murch. Murch attended common schools as a child and spent his early life at sea. His father was a sea-captain who died when Murch was an infant. Murch learned the trade of stonecutting and engaged in that occupation for eighteen years, living in a rented house on Dix Island, the site of a major granite quarry. He became editor and publisher of the Granite Cutters' International Journal in 1877 and was secretary of the Granite Cutters' International Association of America in 1877 and 1878.

Hampden, Maine Town in Maine, United States

Hampden is a town on the Penobscot River estuary in Penobscot County, Maine, United States. The population was 7,257 at the 2010 census. Hampden is part of the Bangor metropolitan statistical area.

The Granite Cutters' International Association of America was a trade union founded in March 1877 near Rockland, Maine, USA. Its official publication was the Granite Cutters’ Journal. It was among the founding organizations of the American Federation of Labor. Prominent leaders included Thompson H. Murch and James Duncan.

Murch was elected a Greenbacker to the United States House of Representatives in 1878, serving from 1879 to 1883. Murch's election, along with fellow Greenback candidate George W. Ladd from nearby Bangor, greatly embarrassed the state and national Republican establishments, who'd come to consider Maine safe for the party. Murch was attacked in the New York Times and other Republican papers as "the Communist candidate" and called disrespectfully "Murch, the stonecutter". A front-page New York Times article caricatured him as "an ignorant stone-cutter who was never heard of until a few months ago, a Communist, a demagogue of the lowest type". [1]

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

The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national legislature of the United States.

George W. Ladd American politician

George Washington Ladd was a U.S. Representative from Maine.

Less biased sources described Murch as honest, decent, and a devoted family man. The Reading (Penn) Eagle suggested that even thousands of Republicans supported Murch as "the man who broke the Blaine, Hale, Hamlin Ring", referring to the three most prominent Republican politicians in Maine, one of whom (Hale) Murch had defeated. [2]

After his defeat in the 1882 election, Murch engaged in mercantile pursuits until his death in Danvers, Massachusetts on December 15, 1886. He was interred in Hampden Cemetery in Hampden, Maine.

Mercantilism economic policy emphasizing exports

Mercantilism is a national economic policy that is designed to maximize the exports, and minimize the imports, of a nation. These policies aim to reduce a possible current account deficit or reach a current account surplus. Mercantilism includes a national economic policy aimed at accumulating monetary reserves through a positive balance of trade, especially of finished goods. Historically, such policies frequently led to war and also motivated colonial expansion. Mercantilist theory varies in sophistication from one writer to another and has evolved over time.

Danvers, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Danvers is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, located on the Danvers River near the northeastern coast of Massachusetts. The suburb is a short ride from Boston and is also easy to get to the beaches in Gloucester. Originally known as Salem Village, the town is most widely known for its association with the 1692 Salem witch trials. It was also the site of Danvers State Hospital and for Liberty Tree Mall. As of 2014, the town's population was approximately 27,000.

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  1. New York Times, Sept. 7, 1878, p. 1; Sept. 19, 1878, p. 4
  2. Reading (Penn) Eagle, Oct. 8, 1878, p. 2

The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress is a biographical dictionary of all present and former members of the United States Congress and its predecessor, the Continental Congress. Also included are Delegates from territories and the District of Columbia and Resident Commissioners from the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

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U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Eugene Hale
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 5th congressional district

March 4, 1879 March 3, 1883
Succeeded by
District eliminated