Thomas Taggart

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Thomas Taggart
Tom Taggert LOC.jpg
United States Senator
from Indiana
In office
March 20, 1916 – November 7, 1916
Preceded by Benjamin F. Shiveley
Succeeded by James Eli Watson
18th Mayor of Indianapolis
In office
January 1, 1895 – December 31, 1901
Preceded by Caleb S. Denny
Succeeded by Charles A. Bookwalter
Personal details
Born November 17, 1856
County Monaghan, Ireland
Died March 6, 1929 (aged 72)
Indianapolis, Indiana
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Eva Bryant Taggart

Thomas Taggart (November 17, 1856 – March 6, 1929) was a U.S. political figure, serving as mayor of Indianapolis and influential in state and national politics.[1]

Early life and family

Born in County Monaghan, Ireland, Taggart immigrated with his parents to the United States in 1861. The family settled in Xenia, Ohio, where young Taggart got a job working the lunch counter at the railroad depot. At age 18, he was sent by his employer to manage the depot restaurant and hotel in Garrett, Indiana, where he met his future wife Eva Bryant. They married in 1878.

Taggart moved to Indianapolis in 1877 to run the restaurant at Union Depot.

Political career

Taggart became active in local politics in Indianapolis. He served as auditor of Marion County from 1886 to 1894. In 1895 he was elected mayor of Indianapolis, and served until 1901. He founded the city's park system during his tenure.

He was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1904 until 1908. Taggart played a key role in ensuring the nomination of Thomas Riley Marshall as the Democratic nominee for Indiana Governor in 1908, and again in securing the Vice Presidential nomination for Marshall in 1912 at the Democratic National Convention in Baltimore.

On March 20, 1916, Taggart was appointed by Governor Samuel M. Ralston to the United States Senate seat left vacant by the death of Senator Benjamin F. Shively, but he was defeated for the seat in the November election.

In the 1924 gubernatorial campaign Taggart urged front-runner Carleton B. McCulloch to take an anti-Ku Klux Klan position.[2] McCulloch's anti Klan position contributed to his losing the election to Klan member Edward L. Jackson who enjoyed strong Klan support.

Taggart remained active in national and state politics until his death in Indianapolis in 1929. He is remembered as the mayor who began the Indianapolis parks system.

Taggart was famous for his ownership, with Terre Haute industrialist Crawford Fairbanks, of the French Lick Springs Hotel in Orange County, Indiana. They developed it into a popular resort based on its mineral springs. Taggart was reputed to have an interest in the illegal gambling operations that also contributed to the resort's popularity.

Taggart was buried in Indianapolis in Crown Hill Cemetery.


  1. Haupt, Richard Walter: "Thomas Taggart" History of the French Lick Springs Hotel, Chapter 4
  2. Boise State University at the Wayback Machine (archived September 30, 2007)

Additional reading

  • James Philip Fadley, Thomas Taggart: Public Servant, Political Boss, Indianapolis:Indiana State Historical Society, 1997. ISBN 0-87195-115-0
  • Bennett, David J., "He Almost Changed the World: The Life and Times of Thomas Riley Marshall", Authorhouse: Bloomington, Indiana, January, 2007, ISBN 978-1-4259-6562-4

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Caleb S. Denny
Mayor of Indianapolis
Succeeded by
Charles A. Bookwalter
United States Senate
Preceded by
Benjamin F. Shively
United States Senator (Class 3) from Indiana
Succeeded by
James Eli Watson