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Comptroller Biographies

Maryland's comptrollers were a diverse group from all parts of the Old Line State. Sixteen were from eight counties on the Eastern Shore, while 14 were from seven counties and Baltimore City on the Western Shore. The two youngest were 28 years old when they entered office while the oldest was 79. Two served in office until they reached 85 years of age.

Twenty-five have been Democrats and only two were Republicans while several before and during the Civil War were Whigs, Know-Nothings and Unionists. Several served in the Civil War on both sides and a few served in World Wars I and II.

A half-dozen were governors, many were in the General Assembly, and several held national office. Eighteen were lawyers, three were physicians and the rest have been newspaper editors, farmers, bankers and accountants, while one was a teacher and another a miner. Quite a few were influential businessmen in their local communities. Seven served a year or less and one served for 39 years. In fact, three individuals accounted for three-quarters of the last century. Three died while they were in office.

Biography of Peter Franchot
Comptroller, State of Maryland - 2007-Present

Peter Franchot was elected Maryland's 33rd Comptroller on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006. Prior to his election to statewide office, Peter served 20 years in the Maryland General Assembly, representing the residents of Montgomery County. During his time in the Maryland House of Delegates, Franchot was a member of the Appropriations Committee and served as Chairman of the Transportation & the Environment Subcommittee. Throughout his career, he has been a strong advocate for education, health care, transportation and environmental protection initiatives.

As Comptroller, Peter Franchot has been an independent voice and fiscal watchdog for the taxpayers of Maryland. As a member of the powerful Board of Public Works and Vice-Chair of the State Retirement and Pension System of Maryland, Franchot has worked tirelessly to keep Maryland competitive in the knowledge-based economy, create a climate of economic equality and opportunity, and protect Maryland's parks, waterways and open spaces. Franchot has also worked closely with business leaders throughout the State on issues that affect Maryland's economy and fiscal strength. In recognition of his work on behalf of Maryland taxpayers, the Association of Government Accountants awarded Comptroller Franchot their highest honor, the William R. Snodgrass Distinguished Leadership award.

Since becoming the State's chief fiscal officer, Franchot has worked to level the playing field for Maryland taxpayers, cracking down on cigarette smugglers and illegal alcohol and motor fuel sales. He has closed tax loopholes, launched the first-in-the-nation program to ensure that federal contractors are paying their fair share in State taxes, and has sought statewide compliance with Maryland's minority business enterprise participation goals. Franchot has also been a strong advocate for the State's burgeoning life sciences industries and a leader in the fight to invest State resources in cost effective, environmentally-friendly "green" technologies.

Comptroller Franchot attended Amherst College (B.A., 1973) and Northeastern School of Law (J.D., 1978). He served in the United States Army, from 1968 to 1970. Peter is married to Anne Maher, a lawyer, and they have two children, Abigail and Nick. Peter and Anne live in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Baltimore City Lawyer and Politician, Democrat
1999-2007

William Donald Schaefer served in public office for more than 50 years. He was governor of Maryland (1987-1995); mayor of Baltimore City (1971-1987); president of the Baltimore City Council (1967 to 1971); and member of the Baltimore City Council (1955-1967). In 1998, he was elected the 32nd comptroller of Maryland and re-elected in 2002. During his two terms as comptroller, Schaefer expanded online services to individuals and businesses, initiated an aggressive tax law enforcement campaign and introduced several cost-saving efficiencies. He also recouped nearly $200 million for the state in 2004, by closing a frequently used tax loophole that allowed companies to shelter income. Long known as a tireless advocate for the needy, Schaefer also expanded and encouraged employee participation in more than 25 charity and outreach endeavors during his tenure as comptroller.

Calvert County native and Government Employee
Comptroller - 1998-1999

A 37-year veteran of the Maryland Comptroller's Office, Swann joined the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division in 1961 and became an assistant to Comptroller Goldstein in 1966. He was appointed a deputy comptroller after a department reorganization in 1994. Because of his widely recognized expertise in state government, Swann was appointed Comptroller, after the 1998 death of Comptroller Goldstein, and served until a new Comptroller was elected.

Prince Frederick (Calvert County) Lawyer and Politician, Democrat
Comptroller - 1959-1998

Goldstein was the longest serving statewide elected official in America. His name was synonymous with the Comptroller's job. His accomplishments were legendary. During the civil rights struggle, Goldstein and Maryland were leaders in equal opportunity almost a decade before the federal government. He was the thoroughly professional administrator of billions of dollars for roads, schools and hospitals under seven governors. He was an unflagging booster of Maryland's history, culture and tourism. Goldstein was rightly proud of the state's consistent AAA bond rating. Under his leadership, the Comptroller's Office was an international leader in the application of technology to financial record keeping.

Baltimore City Businessman, Democrat
Comptroller - 1947-1950

Lacy was brought especially into the Governor William Preston Lane administration to help institute Maryland's first retail sales tax. He had the thankless task of successfully implementing one of the most unpopular taxes in Maryland history. In 1950, this able young Comptroller died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 46.

Crisfield (Somerset County) Banker, Democrat
Comptroller - 1939-1947 and 1950-1959

Tawes was an important player in state government for more than three decades, an era marked by devastating war and unheard of growth and prosperity. After World War II, the Maryland state budget increased from $60 to $219 million in just six years. Tawes was a master of budget detail and a political insider. He was the only Marylander elected to all three major state offices; comptroller, treasurer and governor.

Salisbury (Wicomico County) Banker, Democrat
Comptroller - 1922-1939

Gordy, a self-described by-the-book businessman, was Maryland's first professional Comptroller, serving a then record of almost two decades. From the first gas tax in 1922 to the first income tax in the late 1930s, he ran the Comptroller's Office efficiently through the biggest economic swings in American history.

Montgomery County Lawyer, Democrat
Comptroller - 1920-1922

A war hero in World War I, Major Lee was a member of an influential Montgomery County family and found himself elected Comptroller right after his return from the fighting in France. In his short tenure, the new Central Purchasing Bureau was part of the Comptroller's widely expanded role. Lee also helped create a new budget department headed by the Comptroller. After going into the private real estate business, he was elected to the House of Delegates and served Maryland Governor Ritchie in several capacities. Later in life, he became a nationally recognized breeder of Polled Hereford Beef Cattle.

Allegany County Miner, Merchant and Banker, Democrat
Comptroller - 1916-1920

Western Maryland's one representative in the Comptroller's office, Mc Mullen was a highly successful local businessman. He was a miner and a prospector in Colorado for a time. Returning home, he and two brothers became merchants and opened the first department store in Cumberland, the town's first bank, and two coal mines, one in West Virginia and another in Kentucky. As Comptroller, McMullen was best remembered for getting Marylanders to concentrate on emergency needs created by World War I.

Dorchester County Teacher and Lawyer, Democrat
Comptroller - 1912-1916

Harrington was a very successful student and tutor at St. John's College before serving as principal at Cambridge Academy and High School for more than a decade. He went on to the law and was Dorchester County state's attorney for one term before rising to state office first as Comptroller and then governor (1916-1920) during World War I. After a bitter campaign in 1915, Governor Harrington organized the successful Council of Defense which effectively addressed wartime problems and built Camp (Fort) Meade. He sought a more efficient state government and a new budget system, reluctantly supported the right of women to vote as well as the movement to prohibit alcohol, a controversial issue in the Free State. After leaving office, Harrington returned to Cambridge to his law practice and local business for more than 20 years.

Prince Georges County Lawyer, Democrat
Comptroller - 1911-1912

The last bearded Comptroller, Stanley represented an earlier generation and had fought for three years as a private in the Confederate army. Originally from Connecticut, he had an active and varied career in his adopted Maryland as a farmer, state delegate, mayor of Laurel, banker and director of the B&O Railroad and the Maryland Agricultural College. Stanley was appointed Comptroller to finish the term of William B. Clagett who died in office.

Prince Georges County Lawyer, Democrat
Comptroller - 1911-1912

The last bearded Comptroller, Stanley represented an earlier generation and had fought for three years as a private in the Confederate army. Originally from Connecticut, he had an active and varied career in his adopted Maryland as a farmer, state delegate, mayor of Laurel, banker and director of the B&O Railroad and the Maryland Agricultural College. Stanley was appointed Comptroller to finish the term of William B. Clagett who died in office.

Crisfield (Somerset County) Physician, Democrat
Comptroller - 1904-1907

As an active participant in the Crisfield seafood boom of the late 1800s, Dr. Atkinson ran a medical practice along with a drug store, an ice manufacturing plant and a bank in the downtown area. He served as Comptroller for one term and afterwards returned to a busy career in his native lower Eastern Shore.

Frederick and Carroll Counties Physician and Banker, Democrat
Comptroller - 1900-1904 and 1907-1910

An active and public-spirited member of his community, Hering began his statewide career as a senator representing Carroll County. He became Comptroller soon after for two separate terms during the Progressive Era, when government, led by President Theodore Roosevelt, began to take a greater role in daily life. During Hering's tenure, Maryland was successfully sued to insure that funding for schools was equitable for blacks as well as whites. Hering was also involved in a groundbreaking Supreme Court case that forced the Northern Central Railway to pay higher taxes administered by a state law that the railway claimed was unconstitutional. Dr. Hering's office took credit for "upgrading buildings, building good roads, lowering taxes and reducing state debt." Hering finished his state career as a member of the Public Service Commission, a new agency established to regulate public service companies in Maryland.

Dorchester County Lawyer, Republican
Comptroller - 1898-1900

One of a half-dozen Comptrollers who were also governors, Goldsborough was a fixture in Maryland politics for 50 years, often as the loyal opposition to Democratic administrations. As a young Cambridge state's attornery, Goldsborough was chosen by Republican Governor Lloyd Lowndes to successfully run for Comptroller. From that first state office, he went on to serve first as Governor (1912-1916) and then U.S. Senator (1929-1935), an office he had first run for 30 years earlier. President Franklin Roosevelt chose him to serve on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from 1935 until his death.

Wicomico County Lawyer, Republican
Comptroller - 1896-1898

One of two Republicans in a long line of Democrats, Graham was active in Salisbury politics before becoming Comptroller. After more than a decade as a state tax commissioner, Graham was appointed Secretary of State by Governor Phillips Lee Goldsborough in 1912 and sought road improvements, tax reform and uniform election laws.

Kent County Lawyer, Democrat
Comptroller - 1892-1896

A clerk of the Kent County Court and a state's attorney, Smith was known for his hardline about oyster piracy on the Chesapeake Bay. In 1890, he refused to pardon two watermen who had fired on a state vessel.

Frederick County Lawyer and Farmer, Democrat
Comptroller - 1888-1892

As a youth, "Vic" Baughman was caught up in war fever and served in the Confederate cavalry, remaining noted for his horsemanship throughout his life. As an editor of the Democratic Frederick Citizen, he ran unsuccessfully for Congress, but was elected Comptroller. Baughman had strong political allies and was the Democratic leader of Frederick County, called the "Napoleon of Western Maryland." He managed the C&O Canal, the B&O Railroad and the regional Electric Railway. A notorious episode during his tenure as Comptroller was the embezzlement of state funds by Treasurer Stevenson Archer. Baughman was also involved in settling the substantial debts incurred by Maryland during the fighting of the Civil War.

Talbot County Lawyer, Democrat
Comptroller - 1884-1888

Turner began his career as a register of wills and clerk of the Talbot County Courts. When he became Comptroller, Turner continued the trend to reduce the state debt and run the office in a more professional manner. He was heavily involved in continuing efforts to extricate the state from ill-fated investments in canals and railroads. He also focused on managing the state fleet against the criminal excesses of the oyster pirates. In his later career, Turner took an active interest in the commercial success of the town of Easton.

Queen Anne's County Lawyer, Newspaper Editor and Banker, Democrat
Comptroller - 1878-1884

Keating was a strong supporter of states' rights. Before the Civil War, he purchased the Centreville Sentinel and changed its name to the Centreville States Rights. During the passions of the war, the Eastern Shore Unionist "Home Guards" burned his newspaper office to the ground in 1864. During and after the war, Keating served as Queen Anne's County state's attorney until his election as Comptroller. During his long tenure, Keating was respected as a good financial manager and worked hard to "retrench and reform" state finances, including reducing the debt. When he left office to become a banker and later a tax commissioner, the Maryland financial picture was said to be in a "healthy condition."

Princess Anne (Somerset County) Lawyer, Farmer and Banker, Democrat
Comptroller - 1870-1878

Clerk of the Somerset County Court from 1851 to 1869, Woolford served as Comptroller for two terms. He later was a state tax commissioner, founder of the Somerset County Savings Bank and influential vestryman in the Protestant Episcopal Church.

Worcester (now Wicomico) County Lawyer and Merchant, Whig, Republican and Democrat
Comptroller - 1867-1870

Whig Maryland Delegate and grain and lumber merchant in the 1850s, Leonard was a Union colonel in the Civil War and served time as a prisoner in Richmond's Libby Prison. At the end of the war, he served as a provost marshal on the Eastern Shore and as an 1864 Republican elector for Lincoln. By 1867, Leonard had returned to the Democratic fold, serving as the first Comptroller under the 1867 Constitution that welcomed Democrats back into Maryland politics and abolished the loyalty oath to the Union.

Caroline County Lawyer, Unionist and Republican
Comptroller - 1864-1867

Jump had been a clerk of the Caroline Court for two decades when he was brought in to serve as the final Civil War Comptroller. Later he became a state's attorney and register of wills in his native county.

Talbot County Lawyer, Whig, Democrat, Unionist and Republican
Comptroller - 1817-1899

A veteran state politician for a quarter of a century and a Union soldier, Goldsborough was brought in to finish the term of deceased Comptroller Samuel Maffit. He soon became the leader of the successful effort to amend the constitution in 1864. The new document that abolished slavery and punished supporters of the South was replaced in only three years. Goldsborough then became a Republican circuit court judge. After an unsuccessful bid for Congress, he ended his career as the appraiser of the Port of Baltimore.

Cecil County, Democrat and Unionist
Comptroller - 1862-1864

Maffit was Comptroller in the Governor Augustus Bradford Unionist war administration but did not support the abolition of slavery. His service to the Union was cut short by his untimely death in 1864 of consumption almost a year before the end of the war.

Harford County Lawyer, Democrat
Comptroller - 1861-1862

Jarrett, a Harford County court clerk, won the disputed 1861 Comptroller election when the Southern leaning House of Delegates declared him the winner after William Purnell won more votes with questionable tactics in Baltimore. Governor Henry Hicks, determined to keep Maryland in the Union, appointed Dennis Claude as his own loyal Comptroller. For a few months in 1861, two competing Comptrollers, Jarrett and Claude, set up shop in downtown Annapolis. The courts decided that the House of Delegates had the jurisdiction to determine Jarrett the winner, but he only served three months before being replaced by another election in January of 1862.

Anne Arundel County Military Surgeon
Comptroller - 1861

With a distinguished career as a War of 1812 military surgeon, Maryland politician, and mayor of Annapolis for four decades, 79-year-old Claude was appointed Comptroller for a few months during the 1861 war crisis. Governor Henry H. Hicks brought in Claude to prevent Abram Jarrett from taking office. Jarrett was the choice of a legislature that supported Maryland secession to the southern Confederacy.

Worcester County Lawyer, Whig, Know-Nothing, Unionist and Democrat
Comptroller - 1856-1861

After serving as a trial lawyer, Purnell's career as Comptroller was notable for the disputed 1861 election. Purnell won the election with "riots and frauds" in Baltimore, but resigned to serve as a postmaster and then a Union general early in the Civil War. Prevented from entering post-war politics, he became a college president in Delaware and then in Frederick and New Windsor, Maryland.

Baltimore City Lawyer, Democrat
Comptroller - 1854-1856

Whyte held nearly every Maryland elective office and was known as the Old Line State's "Grand Old Man." As the third Comptroller, he was credited with a simplified system that demonstrated the "wisdom of the Constitution in providing the safeguard to the Treasury." In the 1870s, he served both as Governor and U.S. Senator and went on to finish his career as the Baltimore City Solicitor as well as completing a third term in the U.S. Senate.

Queen Anne's and Talbot Counties Newspaper Editor, Democrat
Comptroller - 1853-1854

An influential newspaper editor of the Centreville Times and later the Easton Star, Bateman was the second Maryland Comptroller. After the Civil War, he led a Talbot County delegation that helped successfully overturn the wartime Union constitution with a new document in 1867.

Easton (Talbot County) Lawyer, Democrat
Comptroller - 1851-1853

As Maryland governor (1848-1851), the Thomas administration was instrumental in a new constitution that created the elected office of "Comptroller of the Treasury" in 1851. He was the first Comptroller and set up the office in 1851 with one clerk and an annual salary of $2,500. After serving as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury on the eve of the Civil War, he became a Confederate sympathizer and retired from public life. After the war, Thomas was prevented from becoming a U.S. senator, but later served in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Maryland House of Delegates.