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Maurice Thatcher

Image of Thatcher as Panama canal zone governor

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1923-March 3, 1933
Preceded by Charles F. Ogden
Succeeded by William Voris Gregory

Born August 15, 1870(1870-08-15)
Chicago, Illinois
Died January 6, 1973 (aged 102)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Republican

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.


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 civil governor of the Canal Zone from 1910 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 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 only 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 2006, he was the longest-lived person to have served in the United States Congress.


Political offices
Preceded by
Joseph Clay Styles Blackburn
Military Governor of Panama Canal Zone
Succeeded by
Richard Lee Metcalfe
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles F. Ogden
U.S. Congressman, Kentucky's 5th congressional district
Succeeded by
William Voris Gregory


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