Hayes by a majority of less than 3000 votes; but the Democrats gained a majority in both branches of the state legislature, and Thurman was elected to the United States Senate, where he served from 1869 until 1881 - during the 46th Congress (1879-1881) as president pro tempore.
Its site was originally included in the so-called "Bingham Patent," a tract on both sides of the Susquehanna river owned by William Bingham (1751-1804), a Philadelphia merchant, who was a member of the Continental Congress in 1787-1788 and of the United States Senate in 1795 - 1801, being president pro tempore of the Senate from the 16th of February to the 3rd of March 1797.
In England, for quite two centuries after its conversion, the clergy administered only pro tempore in the parochial churches, receiving their maintenance from the cathedral church, all the appointments within the diocese lying with the bishop. But in order to promote the building and endowment of parochial churches those who had contributed to their erection either by a grant of land, by building or by endowment, became entitled to present a clerk of their own choice to the bishop, who was invested with the revenues derived from such contribution.
From 1807 to 1813 he was a member of the United States Senate, of which he was president pro tempore from March 1812 to March 1813..
He was a member of the state Assembly in 1849-1850, a member and president pro tempore of the state Senate in 1858-1859, and a member of the national House of Representatives in 1861-1863, and again from 1869 until 1877.