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Thomas C. Browne

Previous Illinois Supreme Court Justice

Thomas C. Browne was born in Kentucky c. 1794, and practiced law prior to moving to Shawneetown, Illinois in 1824. In Illinois, he served as a member of the 2nd and 3rd territorial legislatures. After Illinois became a state in 1818, the state legislature appointed Browne as one of the Illinois Supreme Courtís four justices. In 1841, the legislature divided Illinois into nine circuits, and each of the justices on the expanded supreme court held court in one of the circuits. Browne was responsible for the 6th Judicial Circuit. In 1843, four members of the bar from Galena, Illinois, petitioned the Illinois House of Representatives for the removal of Browne as judge of the 6th Judicial Circuit for incompetence, but Abraham Lincoln, as attorney for Browne, successfully argued to have the charges dropped. Browne held his seat on the bench until 1848, when a new state constitution reduced the number of justices from nine to three. Justice Browne died in San Francisco, c. 1858.