Image of Carlin, Thomas

Carlin, Thomas

b. July 18, 1786, near Frankfort, Kentucky; d. February 14, 1852, in Carrollton, Illinois. Carlin served in both the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk War. He married Rebecca Huitt in 1814. In 1821, when Greene County was organized, Carlin was elected as the first sheriff. From 1824 to 1832, he served as a state senator, and in 1834 he was appointed receiver for the land office at Quincy, a position he held until 1838. Carlin was elected governor in 1838 and served until 1842. He was the first convention-nominated governor in Illinois. As governor, Carlin faced economic problems. Despite the financial trouble the state faced as a result of the Panic of 1837, Carlin supported railroads and other internal improvements. His agents borrowed money for the state on unfavorable terms and Illinois lost more than $150,000 as a result. In 1842, financial difficulties forced the suspension of construction on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Carlin blamed the banks for the economic problems. In 1844, Carlin was a candidate for Congress, but lost to Stephen A. Douglas. In 1849, he served an unexpired term as a state representative.
Governors of Illinois: 1818-1918 (Springfield: Illinois Centennial Commission, 1917), 15; History of Greene County, Illinois (Chicago: Donnelley, Gassette and Loyd, 1879), 251-52; Robert P. Howard, Mostly Good and Competent Men: Illinois Governors, 1818-1988 (Springfield: Illinois Issues, Sangamon State University and Illinois State Historical Society, 1988), 71-76. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.