Title: Lawyer, U.S. Congressman, Freemason
Birthdate: March 21, 1789
Death Date: June 16, 1839
Plot Location: Section 41, Lot 44

Thomas Kittera

“Like father, like son” is a frquent explanation for how one man’s journey parallels another’s. John Wilkes Kittera and his wife Ann had three children while living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but Thomas was their only son.

His father graduated from Princeton, practiced law in Lancaster, and  was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He served from 1791-1801 when Congress was meeting in Philadelphia. In similar fashion, Thomas graduated with a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1805, was admitted to the bar in 1808, and went on to serve in Congress at its permanent address in Washington, D.C.

He was a prominent attorney, politician, and Freemason rising to high levels in each of those endeavors. In 1817 he became a Deputy Attorney General for Pennsylvania and a prosecuting attorney in the Philadelphia Mayor’s Court.

The 1820s was a busy decade for Thomas. He served on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Court of Oyer & Terminer (Courts of Criminal Jurisdiction) from 1821-1824. He was elected to the Philadelphia Common Council in 1821, then to the city’s Select Council from 1822-1826. The last two years he led that council as president.

In 1826 he was part of the John Quincy Adams faction of the National Republican Party (not related to the modern GOP party) and ran in a special election for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 2nd District and won. He failed, however, to keep his seat in the next election.

As a Mason he was a member of Harmony Lodge 52 of Philadelphia, a Warrant Master of Phoenix Lodge 130 of Philadelphia, and rose to the highest level in the state, serving as the Right Worshipful Grand Master from 1826-1828. His portrait, shown here, was painted by the famous artist Thomas Sully and hangs in the Masonic Temple at Broad & Filbert Streets in Philadelphia.

He never married and died at age 50, bringing an end to the Kittera surname. He was initially buried at St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Cemetery in Philadelphia, but was relocated here in 1870.

Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

Support the Friends of Mount Moriah

Help us in our mission to restore and maintain the beautiful Mount Moriah Cemetery by donating to our cause or volunteering at one of our clean-up events.