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Maurice Hudson Thatcher (August 15, 1870 – January 6, 1973) was a U.S. Congressman. Thatcher was elected to Congress in 1922 from Kentucky. He served until 1933.

Maurice Thatcher
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1923 – March 3, 1933
Preceded byCharles F. Ogden
Succeeded byWilliam Voris Gregory
5th Military Governor of Panama Canal Zone
In office
May 13, 1910 – August 8, 1913
Appointed byWilliam Howard Taft
Preceded byJoseph Clay Styles Blackburn
Succeeded byRichard Lee Metcalfe
Personal details
Maurice Hudson Thatcher

(1870-08-15)August 15, 1870
Chicago, Illinois
DiedJanuary 6, 1973(1973-01-06) (aged 102)
Washington, D.C.
Political partyRepublican
SignatureM. H. Thatcher


Born in Chicago, Illinois, Thatcher's family moved to Butler County, Kentucky in 1874 and settled near Morgantown. Thatcher worked in farming, on a newspaper and in county offices. He was elected the circuit court clerk for Butler County in 1892 and served from January 1, 1893, until his resignation in 1896. He studied law in Frankfort, Kentucky and was admitted to the bar in 1898, commencing his law practice in Frankfort. Thatcher was an Assistant Attorney General of Kentucky 1898–1900 and then moved to Louisville, Kentucky in 1900. He was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky from 1901 to 1906 and a state inspector and examiner for Kentucky 1908–1910.

Thatcher was also a member of the Isthmian Canal Commission and governor of the Canal Zone from 1909 to 1913. Thatcher was the Commission's longest-lived and last surviving member.

During his congressional tenure, he guided the passage of several Kentucky landmarks and parks: Mammoth Cave National Park, Lincoln's birthplace, and the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery. In 1932, he gave up his seat in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat Alben W. Barkley for election to the United States Senate.

Thatcher served on the general counsel of the Gorgas Memorial Institute of Tropical and Preventative Medicine, Inc., Washington, D.C. beginning in 1939 and became its vice president in 1948, a post which he held until 1969 when he was made honorary president, a position previously reserved for Presidents of the United States. In 1962, the first bridge connecting both sides of the Panama Canal was named after him: Thatcher Ferry Bridge. In 1979, the name was officially changed to the Bridge of the Americas.


As of 2017, he is the second-longest lived person to have served in the United States Congress, having lived to the age of 102 years and 144 days, behind Elizabeth Hawley Gasque, who lived to the age of 103 years, 249 days.


  • United States Congress. "Maurice Thatcher (id: T000142)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • Johnson, E. Polk (1912). A History of Kentucky and Kentuckians: The Leaders and Representative Men in Commerce, Industry and Modern Activities. Lewis Publishing Company. pp. 906–908. Retrieved 2008-11-10.

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