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Thomas T. Minor: Wikis


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Thomas T. Minor, (1844 - 1899) was a physician, businessman, civic and political leader and the only person to have been elected as mayor of Seattle, Washington and Port Townsend, Washington and founder of the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad.




Early life and ancestors

Thomas Taylor Minor[1] was born on February 20, 1844, in Manepy, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) an island country in South Asia, located about 31 kilometres (19.3 mi) off the southern coast of India. He was a son of Eastman Strong Minor, who was descended from an old and esteemed Connecticut family.[2][3] He was a sucessful printer. He closed his printing business and left Boston, Massachusetts with his first wife, Lucy Bailey, in October of 1833 as Congregational missionaries to Ceylon, to spread the gospel of Christianity from India through Singapore and up to Bangkok. He returned to the United States in July of 1851 and settled in New Haven, Connecticut.

His mother, Judith Manchester Taylor, was born in Madison, Madison County, New York in 1814 and died in New York in 1900. She was an orphan and the daughter of Isaac and Judith Taylor. She ran the local school in Ceylon, learned Singhalese, and taught it to her 2 stepchildren as well as her own six children.

He was a direct descendant of Thomas Miner who came originally from Chew Magna in North East Somerset, England, and sailed on the Lyon's Whelp and was a founder of New London, Connecticut and later of Stonington, Connecticut. He married Grace Palmer in 1634. She was the daughter of Walter Palmer (Puritan).[4] Minor was also an early New England diarist. He was also a descendant of Elder William Brewster (pilgrim), (c. 1567 - April 10, 1644), the Pilgrim leader and spiritual elder of the Plymouth Colony and a passenger on the Mayflower, through his son Jonathan Brewster.[5][6][7]

His half brother was Dr. William Chester Minor, also known as W. C. Minors (June 1834 – March 26, 1920). He was an American surgeon who made many scholarly contributions to the Oxford English Dictionary. It was while living at Lambeth that Minor murdered George Merrett, for which crime he was found criminally insane and confined for the rest of his life at Broadmoor Hospital.His life was chronicled in the 'The Surgeon of Crowthorne' by Simon Winchester.

Education and war years

He returned to the United States when he was seven years old, locating at New Haven, Connecticut and attended the local school. In 1861, when he was 17, he enlisted in the Union Army as a private in Company G, 7th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry.[8] He rose to the rank of captain and served as hospital steward and then surgeon. After the war, he entered Yale School of Medicine graduating in 1867.

Marriage and family

Minor married Sarah Montgomery on August 20, 1872 in Oregon. She was born on May 21. 1840 in Pennsylvania and died on June 11, 1931 at Seattle, King County, Washington. She was the daughter of William Montgomery and Eliza Moorhead, They were the parents two daughters --

  • Elizabeth Montgomery Minor, born on May 14, 1874 at Port Townsend, Washington and died on November 34, 1958 at Seattle, Washington. She married on January 2, 1900 at Trinity Episcopal Parish Church (Seattle), on First Hill in Seattle, Washington, Bernard Pelly, the British vice-Consul and then Consul to Seattle. He was born on June 5, 1860 at Little Hallingbury, England and died on August 10, 1938 at Seattle, Washington. He was the son of Justinian Pelly and Fanny Ingleby and the great nephew of Sir John Pelly, 1st Baronet.
  • Judith Strong Minor, December 2, 1876 in Port Townsend, Washington and died on July 19, 1959 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On April 15, 1909 she married at Seattle, Washington, Lyman Roswell Colt, born on January 5, 1868 at Orange, New Jersey and died on January 9, 1927 at Winter Haven, Florida. He was the son of Morgan Gibbs Colt and Mary Beekman Borrows. Morgan Colt was the first cousin of Samuel Colt (July 19, 1814 – January 10, 1862) an American inventor, industrialist and inventor of the revolving pistol.[9]


In 1868, he removed from Nebraska and settled in Port Townsend. He was an owner and partner in the Marine Hospital there. In 1880 and again in 1881, he was elected Major of Port Townsend. In 1883, he moved to Seattle and joined the Chamber of Commerce.

On July 11, 1887 he was elected Mayor of Seattle by a substantial majority.

He was also actively involved in both the territorial and national Republican Party.


He died, along with his friend George Morris Haller,[10] and Haller’s brother-in-law Lewis Cox, on or about December 2, 1889 when their canoe apparently overturned in Saratoga Passage near Camano Island. The body of Dr Thomas Taylor Minor was never recovered. The city of Seattle held a memorial service and a procession on Sunday, December 15, 1899 in honor of Minor and Haller.


  • Thomas Pelly[11][12]
  • Charles Moriarty, Jr. (1928-1999), Washington State Representative 1957-1959, Washington State Senator 1959-1966.[13] Son of Charles P. Moriarty, U.S. Attorney in Washington 1953-1961. They are members of the Moriartys and Pellys political families in the United States.


The names of Seattle’s Minor Avenue and T. T. Minor Elementary School both honor Thomas Minor.


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  3. ^ "Thomas Miner and his Descendants". [1]. Accessed 31 July 2007. Note that some accounts have him arriving on the ship Arabella during the Great Migration, arriving in Salem Harbor on June 14, 1630.
  4. ^ "Biography of Walter Palmer". Walter Palmer Society. Accessed 31 July 2007.
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  7. ^ Dr. Thomas T. Minor, Eastman Strong Minor, Eunice Strong, Abel Strong, Tabitha Brewster, Peter, William, Benjamin, Jonathan, William, of the Mayflower.
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  10. ^ Haller was an prominent, early lawyer in northwestern Washington Territory and was the son of Col. Granville O. Haller, one of the most famous military men of the region. George was an early law partner with Judge Thomas Burke (Seattle), the organizer behind the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railroad. He had a very bright future but accidentally drowned along with one of Seattle's most popular mayors, and Haller's brother-in-law Lewis Cox, while they were hunting in canoes on Saratoga Passage near Whidbey Island on Dec. 2, 1889
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  • Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, HarperPerennial, New York, 1998, hardback and trade paperback, ISBN 0-06-017596-6. OCLC 38425992 (Original British edition has the title The Surgeon of Crowthorne, ISBN 0-14-027128-7. OCLC 42083202)
Political offices
Preceded by
William H. Shoudy
Mayor of Seattle
Succeeded by
Robert Moran


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