Thomas Maxwell

Thomas Maxwell
Thomas Maxwell (Elmira, New York).jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 25th district
In office
Preceded byDavid Woodcock
Succeeded byGamaliel H. Barstow
Personal details
Born(1792-02-16)February 16, 1792
Tioga Point, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedNovember 4, 1864(1864-11-04) (aged 72)
Elmira, New York, U.S.
Resting placeWoodlawn Cemetery
Political partyJacksonian
FatherGuy Maxwell

Thomas Maxwell (February 16, 1792 – November 4, 1864) was an attorney and politician, serving for one term from 1829-1831 as a U.S. Representative from New York, as well as in county and state offices.

Early life and education[edit]

Thomas Maxwell was born on February 16, 1792 at Tioga Point (now Athens), Bradford County, Pennsylvania. His father, Guy Maxwell, was an Indian trader and was adopted by the Seneca (Iroquois) in the same year.[1] The senior Maxwell moved his family to Elmira (then Newtown Point), New York, in 1796. In 1804, he was adopted by the Seneca people, given the name He-je-no, meaning "the brave boy".[1]

During the War of 1812, Guy Maxwell was appointed quartermaster of a regiment of Cavalry attached to the brigade of General Vincent Mathews. After the war he served as clerk of Tioga County, New York from 1819 to 1829.

Maxwell was elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-first Congress (March 4, 1829 – March 3, 1831). He served as chairman of the Committee on Accounts (Twenty-first Congress). He engaged in the prosecution of pension claims.

He studied law and was admitted to practice in the court of common pleas of old Tioga County, New York, in 1832. He was editor of the Elmira Gazette from 1834-1836, and was appointed as US postmaster of Elmira, serving 1834–1839. Deputy clerk of Chemung County in 1836. Treasurer of Chemung County in 1836–1843. He was chosen as a vice president of the New York and Erie Railroad Co. in 1841. He served as commissioner of loans of United States deposit and of State funds in 1843.

About 1845 Maxwell moved his family to Geneva, New York, upon his appointment as deputy clerk of the State supreme court.

Later in life, Maxwell became an Iroquois agent, and made many notes on them, which were in his daughter's hands. Red Jacket had his portrait painted for Maxwell; they were warm friends. Eighty years after the formal adoption of Maxwell, his daughter Harriet (later known as Harriet Maxwell Converse) was formally adopted by the family of Red Jacket. She was given many mementos, such as a necklace made of 79 little silver brooches, which had been worn by Red Jacket; and also his Masonic pin.[1]

Maxwell died in Elmira on November 4, 1864. He was interred in Woodlawn Cemetery.


  1. ^ a b c Murray 1908, p. 186.



U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
David Woodcock
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 25th congressional district

Succeeded by
Gamaliel H. Barstow