Thomas E. Kilby
Thomas Kilby.jpg
36th Governor of Alabama
In office
January 20, 1919 – January 15, 1923
LieutenantNathan L. Miller
Preceded byCharles Henderson
Succeeded byWilliam W. Brandon
8th Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
In office
January 18, 1915 – January 20, 1919
GovernorCharles Henderson
Preceded byWalter D. Seed Sr.
Succeeded byNathan L. Miller
Member of the Alabama Senate
In office
Personal details
Thomas Erby Kilby

(1865-07-09)July 9, 1865
Lebanon, Tennessee, U.S.
DiedOctober 22, 1943(1943-10-22) (aged 78)
Anniston, Alabama, U.S.
Resting placeHighland Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Mary Elizabeth Clark

Thomas Erby Kilby Sr. (July 9, 1865 – October 22, 1943) was an American politician. He was the eighth lieutenant governor of Alabama and the 36th governor of Alabama.


Kilby was born in Lebanon, Tennessee, and was educated in public schools. In 1887, he was an agent for the Georgia-Pacific Railroad in Anniston, Alabama. He became a successful businessman in the industrial and banking business.


He was a Democratic politician and served as mayor of Anniston, Alabama from 1905 to 1909. He served as Alabama State Senator from 1911 to 1915.

Kilby served as Lieutenant Governor of Alabama from 1915 to 1919, and as Governor of Alabama from 1919 to 1923[1] In September 1919 two Black men Miles Phifer and Robert Crosky were arrested over allegations they assaulted two white women in separate incidents in Montgomery, Alabama. A mob quickly formed and a concerned citizen notified Governor Thomas Kilby that there might be a lynching. Kilby ordered the two to be transferred to the relative safety of prison in Wetumpka, Alabama but they were intercepted and lynched by a White Mob on September 29, 1919.

In 1920, Kilby arbitrated the settlement of the lengthy and violent 1920 Alabama coal strike, ruling clearly against the demands of the United Mine Workers of America. The Child Welfare Department was created in 1919 during Kilby's governorship.[2]

Family life

Kilby married Mary Elizabeth Clark on June 5, 1894. They had three children.

Kilby House, their home in Anniston, Alabama, was built for Kilby while he was Lieutenant Governor. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Death and legacy

Kilby died on October 22, 1943, in Anniston, Alabama at the age of 78. He is buried at Highland Cemetery in Anniston.

In 1921, he was depicted on the Alabama Centennial half dollar, making him the first person ever to appear on a US coin while still alive.[3][4]

The old Kilby Prison and the current Kilby Correctional Facility are both named for Thomas Kilby.

See also


  1. ^ "Thomas Erby Kilby". Alabama Department of Archives & History. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  2. ^ "Thomas E. Kilby (1919-23)". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  3. ^ "Alabama Centennial Half Dollar". The Coin Site. Archived from the original on October 3, 2012. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  4. ^ "Thomas E. Kilby in Local and State Government". AbeBooks. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
Party political offices Preceded byCharles Henderson Democratic nominee for Governor of Alabama 1918 Succeeded byWilliam W. Brandon Political offices Preceded byWalter D. Seed Sr. Lieutenant Governor of Alabama 1915–1919 Succeeded byNathan L. Miller Preceded byCharles Henderson Governor of Alabama 1919–1923 Succeeded byWilliam W. Brandon