SCHS: Court History — Rosette Detail

Thomas Todd, 1807-1826

Justice Thomas Todd, 1807-1826
THOMAS TODD was born in King and Queen County, Virginia, on January 23, 1765. He lost both of his parents at an early age and was raised by a guardian. At the age of sixteen, Todd served in the Revolutionary War for six months and then returned home to attend Liberty Hall (now Washington and Lee University). Upon graduation in 1783, Todd became a tutor at Liberty Hall in exchange for room and board and instruction in the law. In 1784, Todd moved to Danville, Kentucky, which was then still part of Virginia. Kentucky was seeking statehood, and Todd served as the clerk at five conventions held for that purpose. He was admitted to the bar in 1788 and entered the practice of law. Todd served as secretary to the State Legislature when Kentucky was admitted to the Union in 1792, and when the Kentucky Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court, was created in 1789, he became its chief clerk. In 1801, Todd was appointed a Justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, and in 1806 he was elevated to Chief Justice. On February 28, 1807, President Thomas Jefferson nominated Todd to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Senate confirmed the appointment on March 2, 1807. Todd served on the Supreme Court for eighteen years. He died on February 7, 1826, at the age of sixty-one.