Gideon Tomlinson

Gideon Tomlinson (December 31, 1780 – October 8, 1854) was a United States Senator, United States Representative, and the 25th Governor for the state of Connecticut.

Gideon Tomlinson
Gideon Tomlinson (Conn. Rep., Gov., US Sen.).jpg
United States Senator
from Connecticut
In office
March 4, 1831 – March 3, 1837
Preceded byCalvin Willey
Succeeded byPerry Smith
25th Governor of Connecticut
In office
May 2, 1827 – March 2, 1831
LieutenantJohn Samuel Peters
Preceded byOliver Wolcott, Jr.
Succeeded byJohn Samuel Peters
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's at-large district
In office
March 4, 1819 – March 3, 1827
Preceded byThomas S. Williams
Succeeded byDavid Plant
Personal details
Born(1780-12-31)December 31, 1780
Stratford, Connecticut
DiedOctober 8, 1854(1854-10-08) (aged 73)
Fairfield, Connecticut
Political partyToleration (1817-1827)
Democratic-Republican (1827-1828)
National Republican (1828-1834)
Whig (1834-1854)[1]
Spouse(s)Sarah Bradley Tomlinson, Lydia Ann Wells Wright Tomlinson
ChildrenJabez Huntington Tomlinson
Alma materYale College
Professionlawyer, politician


Born in Stratford,[2] Tomlinson completed preparatory studies and graduated from Yale College in 1802.[3] He went to Virginia for a year to be a private tutor and to study law. When he returned to Fairfield he continued his studies and was admitted to the bar in 1807. That same year he married Sarah Bradley. He received a Master of Arts, in 1808 from Yale. Their only child, Jabez Huntington Tomlinson, was born in 1818 but died at the young age of 19 in 1838. Mrs. Tomlinson died in 1842. In 1846, Gideon married Mrs. Lydia Ann Wells Wright, widow of William Wright of Bridgeport, Connecticut.[4]


Tomlinson entered politics in 1817, as clerk of the Connecticut House of Representatives, and was reelected again in 1818, when he served as speaker. He was Delegate to the State Constitutional Convention in 1818.

Elected to the Sixteenth and to the three succeeding United States Congresses, Tomlinson served as a Representative from March 4, 1819 to March 3, 1827, and was chairman of the Committee on Commerce (Nineteenth Congress).[5]

Winning the 1827 gubernatorial nomination, Tomlinson was elected Connecticut's eighth governor. He was reelected to the governor's office in 1828, 1829, and 1830. During his tenure, prison reform was accomplished in 1827 with the opening of a more civilized penitentiary. His administration advocated educational improvements and fiscal support to the public school system. On March 2, 1831, Tomlinson resigned from office to accept an appointment to the U.S. Senate.[6]

Tomlinson served in the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1831, to March 3, 1837. There, he served as chairman of the Committee on Pensions (Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth Congresses).[5] In 1837, he left the Senate and became the first President of the newly chartered Housatonic Railroad Company.

He was a trustee of Trinity College, then retired to private life.

Death and legacyEdit

Tomlinson died in Fairfield on October 8, 1854. He is interred at the Old Congregational Cemetery, Stratford, Connecticut. The Tomlinson Bridge (built 1796-98) of Fair Haven (part of New Haven) Connecticut is named after him. The Tomlinson Middle School in Fairfield is named in his honor.


  1. ^ "Gideon Tomlinson". Museum of Connecticut History. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  2. ^ "Gideon Tomlinson". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  3. ^ "Gideon Tomlinson". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Gideon Tomlinson". Connecticut State Library. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Gideon Tomlinson". Govtrack US Congress. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Gideon Tomlinson". National Governors Association. Retrieved 26 November 2012.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
First National Republican nominee for Governor of Connecticut
1828, 1829, 1830
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Whig nominee for Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's at-large congressional district

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Governor of Connecticut
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
U.S. senator (Class 3) from Connecticut
Served alongside: Samuel A. Foote, Nathan Smith, John M. Niles
Succeeded by