Maryland State Archives
Museum Online

Straddling Secession:
Thomas Holliday Hicks
and the Beginning of the Civil War in Maryland

Thomas Holliday Hicks
James Kimball Harley
Oil on canvas, 1867
MSA SC 1545-1175

Thomas Holliday Hicks (1798-1865) was governor of Maryland from 1858 to 1862. As governor during the outbreak of the Civil War, Hicks played a central role in preventing Maryland from joining the Confederacy. Although a slave-owner and Southerner, Hicks was strongly Unionist and rejected secession.

Hicks held a variety of political offices in his native Dorchester County and served two terms in the House of Delegates in the 1830s. He was elected governor in 1858 as a member of the fiercely nativist American, or Know-Nothing, Party. After his term ended, he served in the U. S. Senate from 1863 until his death in 1865.

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