Jesse B. Thomas, Jr.

Jesse B. Thomas, Jr.

Jesse Burgess Thomas, Jr. (July 31, 1806-February 21, 1850) was born in Lebanon, Ohio and was an Illinois politician who served as the Illinois Attorney General from 1835-1836 and later on the state Supreme Court.

After studying law at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, Thomas settled in Edwardsville, Illinois.[1] By 1830, Thomas was serving as the secretary to the Illinois State Senate. Four years later, he served a partial term in the Illinois House of Representatives for Madison County before being appointed Attorney General, a post he held for a single year.

From 1837 through 1839, he was a circuit court judge based in Springfield. His circuit included New Salem, where Thomas heard cases argued by Abraham Lincoln.[1] When Stephen A. Douglas gave up his seat on the Illinois Supreme Court in 1843 after being elected to Congress, Governor Thomas Ford appointed Thomas as Douglas's successor. After retiring from the Supreme Court in 1848, he moved first to Galena and the to Chicago, where he died in 1850.

Thomas's uncle was Jesse B. Thomas, one of Illinois' first Senators. Thomas was married to one of the daughters of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Theophilus W. Smith.[2]


  1. ^ a b Bateman, Newton; Paul Selby, Franices M. Shonkwiler, Henry L Fowkes (1908). Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois. Chicago, IL: Munsell Publishing Company. pp. 521. 
  2. ^ Linder, Usher F.; Joseph Gillespie (1879). Reminiscences of the Early Bench and Bar of Illinois. Chicago, IL: The Chicago Legal News. pp. 261–264. 

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