Thomas, Jesse Burgess

Thomas, Jesse Burgess

(1777–1853) U.S. senator; born in Sheperdstown, Va. (now W.Va.) He settled in Indiana Territory about 1803 and held several offices while working to separate Illinois as an independent territory. Appointed a federal judge in the new Illinois Territory (1809–18), he then became one of the new state's first two senators (Dem., Ill.; 1818–29). He proposed the amendment calling for admission of Maine and Missouri but prohibiting slavery above 36° 30' that became part of the Missouri Compromise Bill (1820). After leaving the Senate, he moved to Ohio and saw service in the Black Hawk War (1832) and managed his wife's extensive property there; he committed suicide less than two years after her death.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.