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All Rights Reserved.

Thomas Jefferson Durant
Declined Appointment as
Military Governor of Louisiana

Preceded by James M. Wells
Governor by Declined 1867 Appointment
Replaced by Benjamin F. Flanders
Born August 7, 1817
Died February 3, 1882
 Washington, D. C.
Cause Pneumonia
Age 64
Party Republican
Education University of Pennsylvania
New Orleans Law Tutor
Profession Lawyer
Spouse Mary E. Harper
Married December 13, 1845
Children 3 sons, 4 daughters
Religion Episcopalian
Burial Oak Hill Cemetery
Georgetown, D. C.


Thomas Jefferson Durant was appointed Governor of Louisiana by General Sheridan as successor of Governor Wells who was fired.   On June 5, 1867, many newspapers reported that Thomas Jefferson Durant was the new Governor of Louisiana.

Durant did not wish to be under the control of the military authorities as had Governor Wells.  He declined the appointment, but that was unanticipated by many newspapers that had already run the story of Durant as governor.

Benjamin Franklin Flanders was the next military appointee.  He experienced what Durant expected and then resigned as governor.

Thomas Jefferson Durant was born in Philadelphia but by age 17 had arrived in New Orleans.  He became a lawyer, a State Senator and was appointed Attorney General of the State of Louisiana by Military Governor Shepley

He was married to Mary E. Harper in Claiborne County, Mississippi on December 13, 1845.  Mary is the daughter of Dr. Harper of Port

Gibson.  There were seven children, three sons and four daughters.  His last daughter was named 'Louisiana' which speaks loudly to Durant's love for his adopted state.

He died of pneumonia on February 3, 1882 at age 64, in Washington, D. C.  His funeral services began at his home at 315 C Street Northwest.  On the top of the casket was a silver plate with the inscription:

Thomas J. Durant.
Died February 3, 1882.
Aged 64 years.

Burial was at historic Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown.   The funeral was attended by members of the bar of the U. S. Supreme Court.

Picture by Loretta Castaldi
Placed here with her permission.

Thomas Durant was instrumental in having Belva A. Lockwood admitted to the bar of the United States Supreme Court, being one of the first women admitted.  She gave eulogistic remarks at his funeral service.

The following is a remarkable but unpopular statement of Durant proposing to the people of Louisiana the terms for acceptance into the union following the civil war.



1880 Census in D. C.
Attorney in Mississippi - 1876

Call for a Convention
Durant Declines - Flanders Appointed

Durant Letter to Abraham Lincoln
Find A Grave Memorial
Thomas J. Durant - Governor - 1867
Governor Thomas J. Durant by the New Orleans LA Times - June 5, 1867

New Governor of Louisiana - Cincinnati Daily - June 5, 1867

Oak Hill Cemetery - Burial Record in Family Plot
Oak Hill Cemetery - Burial Records Index

Obituary - 1882

Political Positions of Thomas J. Durant - a letter by A. P. Dostie

Removal of Wells, Appointment of Durant - New York Times - June 5, 1867

Washington Life & Eulogy


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