Thomas B. Robertson

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Thomas B. Robertson
Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
In office
May 26, 1824 – October 5, 1828
Appointed by James Monroe
Preceded by John Dick
Succeeded by Samuel Hadden Harper
27th; 3rd after U.S. Statehood Governor of Louisiana
In office
December 18, 1820 – November 15, 1824
Preceded by Jacques Villeré
Succeeded by Henry S. Thibodaux
Attorney General of Louisiana
In office
Preceded by Louis Moreau-Lislet
Succeeded by Etienne Mazureau
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's at-large district
In office
April 30, 1812 – April 20, 1818
Preceded by District created
Succeeded by Thomas Butler
Personal details
Born (1779-02-27)February 27, 1779
Petersburg, Virginia
Died October 5, 1828(1828-10-05) (aged 49)
White Sulphur Springs, Virginia
Political party Democratic-Republican
Spouse(s) Lelia Skipwith
Alma mater College of William and Mary
Religion Episcopalian

Thomas Bolling Robertson (February 27, 1779 – October 5, 1828) was the first member of the U.S. House of Representatives to represent the state of Louisiana, its third Governor, the Attorney General of Louisiana before and after statehood, and a United States federal judge.

Robertson was born near Petersburg, Virginia. After graduating from the College of William and Mary in 1795,[1] he read law to enter the bar in 1806 and briefly practiced in Petersburg. He moved to the Territory of Orleans (today's Louisiana) and was appointed Territorial Attorney General by Governor William C.C. Claiborne, from 1806 to 1807. He was then Secretary of the Territory of Orleans from 1807 until 1812, in which year Louisiana became a state, on April 30th.

Thomas Robertson was the state's first representative in Congress. He served four terms as a Democratic-Republican, until his resignation in 1818. He briefly returned to private practice in Louisiana at that time, where he was appointed Attorney General of Louisiana from 1819 to 1820. He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1821.[2]

Robertson was elected Governor of Louisiana in the 1820 election and served from 1820 until his resignation in 1824. During his term as Governor, factional discord between established Creole citizens and newly arriving American settlers created a political crisis. Robertson was seen as weak for not acting to resolve the ethnic differences; and when he proposed moving the capital from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, riots broke out in the Crescent City and he was forced to resign.

He saved face by accepting a federal judgeship, and on May 24, 1824, he was appointed by President James Monroe to a seat jointly held on the Eastern and Western Districts of Louisiana, both seats having been vacated by John Dick. Robertson was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 26, 1824, receiving his commission the same day, and serving thereafter until his death.

In 1827, Robertson, along with Armand Duplantier, Fulwar Skipwith, Antoine Blanc and Sebastien Hiriart received permission from the Louisiana State Legislature to organize a corporation called the Agricultural Society of Baton Rouge.[3]

He became ill and died while recuperating in White Sulphur Springs, Virginia (now West Virginia).

Robertson had two brothers with political legacies: U.S. Representative John Robertson and Wyndham Robertson, a Governor of Virginia.

Robertson Street in New Orleans is named for the former Governor.


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Julien de Lallande Poydras,
delegate from the Territory of Orleans
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's at-large congressional district

April 30, 1812 – April 20, 1818
Succeeded by
Thomas Butler
Legal offices
Preceded by
Louis Moreau de Liset
Attorney General of Louisiana
Succeeded by
Etienne Mazureau
Preceded by
John Dick
Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
Succeeded by
Samuel Hadden Harper
Political offices
Preceded by
Jacques Villeré
Governor of Louisiana
Succeeded by
Henry S. Thibodaux