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Page, Thomas S.

Born: 1800-04-19 New York, New York

Died: 1877-04-17 Frankfort, Kentucky

Page moved with his parents in 1802 to Richmond, Virginia. After a short sojourn in Richmond, the family moved to Petersburg. After the death of Page's father in 1805, the family returned to Richmond, where Page attended school until 1810. He apprenticed with a saddle and harness maker until 1815 or 1816, and later worked in a dry goods store and for the U.S. Office of Direct Taxation. In 1817, he moved to Frankfort, Kentucky, where he obtained a job as a clerk in the U.S. General Land Office. In 1819, he took a job as a clerk in the state auditor's office. In 1820, he married Sophia W. Woolfolk, sister-in-law of Amos Kendall and daughter of William Woolfolk, a prosperous Jefferson County farmer. After Sophia's death in 1828, he wed Jane Julian, daughter of a wealthy Franklin County physician, with whom he would have eleven children. Taking advantage of these beneficial marriages, influential friends, and shrewd investments and land acquisitions, Page amassed a considerable fortune and became prominent in Frankfort civic and social circles. He became involved in constructing the first school, water works, and state arsenal in Frankfort. In 1826, he left the job with the auditor's office to pursue mercantile interests, only to return a year later. In 1834, he left the auditor's office again and became a clerk at the Frankfort branch of the Bank of Kentucky. In 1839, he received appointment as 2nd auditor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, a position he held until 1850, when the new Kentucky constitution abolished the office. While 2nd auditor, he continued in private business; in 1850, he owned real estate valued at $37,400. Under the new constitution, the auditor became an elected position, and in 1851 and 1855, Page won election to the office on the Whig and American party tickets, respectively. In 1859, he lost the bid for a third term. During his tenure as auditor, his property holdings and wealth continued to grow; in 1860, he owned real estate valued at $87,000 and had a personal estate of $25,000. After departing from office, Page's successor discovered that he had embezzled $88,927 by having local officials deposit their revenue collections with him rather than in the Commonwealth treasury. Kentucky officials brought suit against Page for embezzlement, and he declared bankruptcy in 1863. The case would be settled in 1867, and Page and his second wife lived out their final years in destitution.

Gravestone, Frankfort Cemetery, Frankfort, KY; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Franklin County, KY, 55; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Franklin County, KY, 7; Glen Edward Taul, "Page, Thomas Scudder," John E. Kleber, ed., The Kentucky Encyclopedia (Lexington, University Press of Kentucky, 1992), 707; Glen Taul and Denis Fielding, "Politics and Corruption in Antebellum Kentucky: The Thomas S. Page Affair, 1852-1860," The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 89 3 (Summer 1991), 239-65.