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Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > About Indiana - History and Trivia > Governors' Portraits > List of Governors > Indiana Governor Thomas Riley Marshall (1854 - 1925) Indiana Governor Thomas Riley Marshall (1854 - 1925)

Thomas Riley Marshall
Governor of Indiana
January 11, 1909-January 13, 1913

Thomas Riley Marshall

Artist: Wayman Adams, American, 1883-1959, painted 1919
oil on canvas, 43 x 36 (109.3 x 91.4)
Signed u.l.: Wayman Adams

THOMAS MARSHALL, best remembered for his eight years as Vice-President under Woodrow Wilson was born in North Manchester, Indiana. His father was a physician. He graduated from Wabash College in 1873 and was admitted to the Columbia City bar soon after. Although he was a popular public speaker and active in local Democratic politics, Marshall was still only a small town lawyer when he received the nomination for governor in 1908, a compromise dark horse candidate.

Marshall was elected and was a popular governor, although his attempts to have the state adopt a new constitution failed. A few progressive measures, such as a child labor law and a corrupt practices act, were enacted under Marshall's leadership, but many more that he urged were defeated. During his terms as Vice-President he became well-known nationally for his wit, achieving fame for his remark, delivered as an aside during a Senate debate, "What this country needs is a really good five cent cigar."

Slight of stature and impeccably groomed, Marshall continued as a popular orator after retiring from the Vice-Presidency. His autobiography is an entertaining record of his career.

Source: Peat, Wilbur D. Portraits and Painters of the Governors of Indiana 1800-1978. Revised, edited and with new entries by Diane Gail Lazarus, Indianapolis Museum of Art. Biographies of the governors by Lana Ruegamer, Indiana Historical Society. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society and Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1978.