Thomas Bowles Shannon

Thomas Bowles Shannon, (1827 – 1897)

Born in Westmoreland County, Pa., September 21, 1827 and attended the public schools. In 1844 Shannon moved to Illinois, and in 1849 went to California to participate in the gold rush boom. It was in Plumas County, California, that Shannon became engaged in mining and mercantile pursuits.

Originally a Whig, Shannon sided with the Free Soil wing of the Democratic Party. He was a member of the California Central Committee in 1860; represented Plumas County in the California Assembly from 1859-1862, then was elected to the US Senate in 1863.

Shannon took a dangerous political stance by supporting black testimony in the California courts in 1862 and 1863, and this position became a campaign issue that the Democrats unsuccessfully used against him during two elections. As a supporter of Senator John Conness, Shannon was elected to the United States 38th Congress as a Republican. History shows Shannon participated little in debate, but consistently voted for administration measures. Due to California’s political turmoil involving Conness, Shannon was not a candidate for reelection.

Shannon may have made the entire 1,650 mile Lincoln Funeral train journey. He was selected as a California Congressional delegate for the Lincoln funeral, but his biography blurbs fail to mention the fact. Shannon did openly participate in the Lincoln funeral in Columbus, Ohio, where he participated in the afternoon speeches delivered from a platform especially erected outside the capital building.

Shannon was appointed surveyor at the port of San Francisco on August 11, 1865, and served 4 years. He then returned to state office representing San Francisco and became Speaker of the House for a time. President Grant appointed Shannon Collector of Customs at San Francisco, he serving from 1872 – 1880. Shannon then resumed mercantile pursuits.

Shannon died in San Francisco on February 21, 1897, and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery (which no longer exists), reburied in 1931 at Woodlawn Memorial Park, Colma, California.

No Comments »

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.