Thomas Mercer Linder was born to Lewis B. and Nancy Jane Beall Linder, of Laurens County, on November 8, 1887. In 1909, Linder married the former Hazel Kirk Carter. They were residents of Hazlehurst, Jeff Davis County, where Linder was a farmer and lawyer.
Linder served as the surveyor for Jeff Davis County and as a councilman in Hazlehurst before representing Jeff Davis County in the Georgia General Assembly's House of Representatives from 1923 to 1926. He first served in the Department of Agriculture as Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture from 1927 to 1932 before leaving to be Executive Secretary to Governor Eugene Talmadge from 1933 to 1934. In 1934, Linder was elected Commissioner of Agriculture and served one term from 1935-1937. After three years out of office, Linder sought and won election as Commissioner for a second time and would go on to serve from 1941 to 1954. Commissioner Linder sought the Democratic nomination for Governor in 1954, but lost to Lieutenant Governor Marvin Griffin.
After his political career, Linder remained active in agriculture and his community where he was a devout member of the Baptist Church as well as a Mason. Tom Linder died at the age of 90 in March 1978.