Jacob Tome (1810-1898)

Jacob Tome (1810-1898)

Jacob Tome was born August 13, 1810 in Hanover, York County, Pennsylvania. After the early death of his father, Tome was forced to quit his education and make his own way in the world. He worked at various jobs throughout the country, even teaching for a short while in a country school, despite the fact he had little formal education. In 1833, he established his permanent home in Port Deposit, Maryland.

Tome found success by investing his labor and money into first a lumber company and then eventually prosperous railroad dealings. He also established banks in Port Deposit, Elkton, and Hagerstown in Maryland, and Fredericksburg, Virginia. Through these ventures, Tome proved to be a remarkable businessman, becoming Cecil County, Maryland's first millionaire.

He would prove to be an ardent philanthropist as well, supporting education in particular. As a trustee of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, he pledged $25,000 toward the construction of a science building in 1883. The completed Tome Scientific Building was dedicated on June 24, 1885. Four years later he announced plans to establish a school in Port Deposit. The Jacob Tome Institute (later the Tome School for Boys) was formally opened in September 1894. As a final gesture to his namesake institution, Jacob Tome bequeathed $3 million to the school in the hopes that it might continue to prosper.

Tome was elected by the Union Party of Cecil County to the State Senate in 1860 where he served as chairman of its finance committee for several years. In 1871, he was nominated by the Republican party for governor, but was defeated by William P. White, the Democratic candidate.

Tome married Caroline Webb in 1841, and after her death, he married Eva S. Nesbitt in October of 1884; neither of these unions produced children who lived past infancy. Jacob Tome died of a pneumonia at his home in Port Deposit on March 16, 1898.

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Dickinson College Archives
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