Erie County (PA) Genealogy

Faces of Erie County

Thomas Hanlon - Erie City Clerk - 61 years


This image and information about it has been provided by site visitor Jessica Denny. Thomas Hanlon was City Clerk in the City of Erie for 61 years (1871 - 1932). He was the oldest City Clerk in the United States and also held the position longer than anyone else (at least in 1932). What make this feat more remarkable is that Thomas Hanlon never became a US Citizen. Ripley came to Erie and drew a sketch of him and added Thomas to his records. The sketch below was taken from the Erie Times April 4th, 1932.

Thomas Hanlon was born 1845 in Petersboro, Ontario, Canada. He came to Erie in 1867 and started a grocery store with his brother, Maurice, at 6th and East Ave. In April, 1871 he started his first year as City Clerk. The first election he won the majority votes, but the man he was running against took the elections to the courts, because Thomas was not an American Citizen. However, the public loved him and he was allowed to be the City Clerk. In 1876, he married Jenny A Hawk of Erie. They had two daughters, Mrs. Mary Hanlon Denny and Mrs. Loretta Hanlon Fox.

He was clerk for 61 consecutive years. There was one election he did lose but went into work anyway and told the man who actually won that he wasn't needed, he could do the job and the man didn't argue it. He held the office until his death in 1932.

Thomas Hanlon was the Jessica Denny's husband's great great grandfather. Any comments or inquiries about this information may be directed to her.


Thomas Hanlon


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This page was last updated on  Saturday, December 13, 2003 .

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