Monday, December 12, 2011

Andrew Johnson and 2011 a year in review

As 2011 begins to wind down and I have had time to reflect a little on the past nearly 365 days, I am astonished by all that has happened.  The beginning of 2011 started off with me planning on making one Presidential trip (to LBJs Ranch and Grave) and the Governor’s Blog wasn’t even on the radar and now here I sit having visited 6 Presidents and 19 Governors (I hope to visit one more to make it an even number before the end of the year). My journey has taken me to five different states and over a dozen small towns in Tennessee that until now I never had a reason to visit. 

From the eastern most visit to Teddy Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, NY to western most  visit to Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA is an expanse of 2862 miles…in between these two locations I visited Andrew Johnson in Greenville, TN,  Harry Truman in Independence, MO, and Eisenhower in Abilene Kansas, Lyndon Johnson in  Stonewall, TX and   Richard Nixon in Yorba Linda, CA.
The view from the Reagan Library
I saw an alien head in Lebanon, TN, while visiting William Campbell, and the birthplace of Nathan Bedford Forrest, on my way to visit Prentice Cooper in Shelbyville.  After many attempts to contact the land owner, I snuck into the cemetery of Newton Cannon to snap a few shots of his grave in Eagleville and saw the first private grave monitored by an alarm system  I have ever seen while visiting Austin Peay and Willie Blount in Clarksville, TN. 
Newton Cannon Cemetery
These experiences have been shared with some the most important people in my life.  Amber and Major were with me in Knoxville as we trudged up and down the hilly downtown looking for the Old County Court House, which is the final resting place of John Sevier.  While on a family vacation to my aunt and uncle’s place, my dad and my nephew, Will, took time out to travel with me through the hills of East Tennessee, seeing views that were truly breathtaking, own our way to Greeneville to visit former Governor and President, Andrew Johnson.  Effrin and I took our first plane trips together to both Kansas City and Los Angeles and visited a total of four former Presidents.  William and I traveled to five different cities and knocked out an astonishing six governors in one day. All of these experiences meant so much to me and brought me even closer to the people in this world that I love and respect most. 
Major's ready to roll...
You see, that is what each of these trips truly is, an experience, to be shared and remembered and each name I check off of the list brings with it experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. It is the laughs and the struggles, the time spent driving and wandering the cemeteries looking for graves, the places we eat and the weird little side trips we take, that makes each visit special and unique and what I crave more than anything. So, thank you all, thank you for reading, thank you for participating and if you’re ever feeling the need to visit a graveyard be sure and let me know and I will be there with camera in hand ready to make new memories with you.

#18 & #20

Name: Andrew Johnson
Birth: 29 December 1808
Death: 31 July 1875
Age at Death: 66 years, 7 months, 2 days old
Interment: Andrew Johnson National Cemetery
Term in Office: October 17, 1853 – November 3, 1857 & March 12, 1862 – March 4, 1865
Political Party: Democratic & Unionist/Military Governor

Andrew Johnson was born on December 29, 1808, in Raleigh, NC, to Jacob and Mary Johnson.  Following the death of his father, he would move with his mother and stepfather to Greeneville, TN, in 1826. Entering into an apprenticeship, as a tailor, he would open eventually open his ownsuccessful shop. The year after moving to Greeneville, he would meet and marry his wife, Eliza McCardle, with whom he would have five children. He would first be elected to the State Legislature and then the State Senate and finally as a congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives.  He would serve in the House of Representatives for ten years before being elected as the Governor of Tennessee, a post which he would hold for two consecutive terms. Following his terms as Governor he would next be elected to the U.S. Senate and would serve there until Tennessee seceded from the Union on June 8, 1861.  A strong proponent of the Constitution of the United States, Johnson viewed secession as unconstitutional and would be the only Senator from a seceding state to continue serving during the Civil War. In 1862, Lincoln would call upon Johnson to serve as the Military Governor of the State of Tennessee for the duration of the War.  In the election of 1864, Lincoln would again call upon Johnson to be his running mate.  A little over a month after his inauguration as Vice President, Johnson would be thrust into the role of President following the assassination of Lincoln. As President, Johnson would offer amnesty for the rebelling southern states and much of the confederate government.  He would also become one of only two Presidents to be impeached and was only one vote shy of being convicted.  Following his term as President, Johnson would run for and eventually be reelected to the U.S. Senate, the only former President to do so.  He would die on July 31, 1875, in Elzabethton, TN.  According to his wishes he was buried in Greeneville, TN,   his body being wrapped in an American flag and his head laid upon a copy of the Constitution. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

1000 words: Visiting Austin Peay & Willie Blount

Confederate Memorial, Greenwood Cemetery, Clarksville, TN
Paying respects to Willie Blount

Blackhorse Pub & Brewery, Clarksville, TN
My Great Great Grandparents Grave, Red River Cemetery, Adams, TN
Effrin & Major, Bellwood Cemetery, Adams, TN
 Name: Willie Blount
Birth: 18 April 1768
Death: 10 September 1835
Age at Death: 67 years, 4 months, 23 days
Interment: Greenwood Cemetery, Clarksville, TN
Term in Office: September 20, 1809 – September 27, 1815
Political Party: Democratic Republican

Willie Blount was born on April 18, 1768, in North Carolina to Jacob and Hannah Baker Blount, making him the half-brother to former Tennessee Governor William Blount.  Willie would go on to study at both Columbia and Princeton and be admitted to the bar in North Carolina. In 1796, after Tennessee was admitted as a state, Willie would serve as one of the states first judges. At this time he would also serve as a cabinet member for his half-brother. In 1809, he was elected governor and would serve three successive terms. During his term he would offer the state’s support in the War of 1812 as well as send troops into neighboring Mississippi to help defend against attacks by Native Americans. Following his terms as governor, Willie would remain active in politics and attend the Tennessee State Constitutional Convention of 1834, as a representative from Montgomery County, TN.  He would die on September 10, 1835 in Clarksville, TN. 


 Name: Austin Peay
Birth: 1 June 1876
Death: 2 October 1927
Age at Death: 54 years, 4 months, 1 day
Interment: Greenwood Cemetery, Clarksville, TN
Term in Office: January 16, 1923 – October 3, 1927
Political Party: Democratic
Austin Peay was born on June 1, 1876, in Hopkinsville, KY, to former Confederate Calvaryman, Austin Peay, Sr., and his wife, Cornelia Leavell Peay. After briefly attending Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA, Austin would graduate from Centre College in Danville, Ky.  Graduating from college at the age of 19, Austin would marry Sally Hurst with whom he would have two children. For the next six years he would work at his law practice until being elected to the Tennessee’s House of Representatives to represent Montgomery County. Running on a platform stressing tax reform, improved education and finishing the state highway system he was elected as governor in 1922. His term would see the creation of different state bureaus leading to the consolidation of state government, which in conjunction with reforms to the tax code would result in the elimination of all of the state's debt. It was also during his governorship that the state would prosecute John Thomas Scope for teaching the theory of evolution in public schools.  The trial, which would become known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, would bring national attention to the issue of religion vs. science as taught in public schools.  Scopes would be prosecuted but the decision would ultimately be overturned due to a technicality. In declining health, Austin would be reelected to his third term in 1926, and after a protracted battle with the legislature over funding of his school programs, would die while still in office on October 2, 1927, with many people blaming his death directly on stress caused by the legislature. Austin Peay is the only governor of Tennessee to have died while in office.  In 1929, a school in his adopted home city of Clarksville, TN, was named in his honor.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Now it's time to DANCE (and visit some Governors)

I have several passions in life...obviously history is one...another is my family and friends and finally music. I've been a fanatical music fan as long as I can remember and honestly some of my earliest memories are tied to some song or another. I've been, and am, a fan of everything from Hank Williams to Kanye West, from Miranda Lambert to Minor Threat...There are, in fact, very few bands or artists that I can't find at least something that I enjoy.
Music has brought me great joy in life and been with me through the deaths of both of my grandmothers. When my Nanny died I couldn't stop listening to Juliana Hatfield's album Hey Babe, when my Mawmaw died it was Public Enemy It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back...both strange choices but also both albums that I begged my grandmothers to take me to the mall to purchase and being the loving grandmothers that they were (are) they both happily obliged.
Minus the fact that she is beautiful, one of the first things that attracted me to Amber was the fact that she was a fan of the band Material Issue. When we got married we were obsessed with Elton John's song , "Tiny Dancer", and listened to it basically on repeat for days and when we found out she was pregnant with Major we became obsessed with the Mumford and Son song, "Timshel". Ask me any period in our relationship and chances are I can tell you what music we were listening to at that particular time.
Since the day Major came home from the hospital we have attempted to expose him to as much music as possible. One of the first days we were home I sat with him on the couch and listened to old country music all day. When he was upset, for whatever reason, The Decemberists calmed him and his love for the theme-song to The Simpsons was evident by his efforts to see the TV anytime the song was playing.

So to say that his first live music experience was important to us is an understatement. We toyed with taking him to see Steve Martin perform bluegrass this past summer, but decided against it for various reasons. It all clicked into place, however, when we found out that Yo Gabba Gabba was touring and playing in Knoxville, which is just a few hours from us. Ever since he was tiny he has loved Yo Gabba Gabba...he'll watch as Mark Mothersbaugh draws or Biz Markie does his beat of the day and dance anytime the Super Music Friend Show band performs.
We weren't sure how to expect him to react to the whole live experience, but minus shear terror at the very beginning he was enthralled by the show and stared at the performers with a look of amazement on his face. Sitting there with him, I couldn't help but be thankful that I have such an amazing child and that he is growing up so beautifully. He seems to be developing a love for something that has been with me for so many years...a love of music that will hopefully bring him joy for his entire life...and I think that is all that any parent can really hope for at the end of the day is that their child is healthy and happy...for if they have those two things everything else will be okay.
Oh and I also got to visit a few graves while we were in Knoxville.

 Name: William Blount
Birth: 26 March 1749
Death: 21 March 1800
Age at Death: 50 years, 11 months, 23 days
Interment: First Presbyterian Church, Knoxville, TN
Term in Office: September 20, 1790 – March 30, 1796
(Technically served as Governor of the United States of America South of the River Ohio)
Political Party: Democratic Republican

William Blount was born on March 26, 1749, near Windsor, North Carolina. 
In 1776, William entered into service in the Revolutionary War, serving as paymaster with several units fighting out of North Carolina. On February 12, 1778, William married Mary Grainger, with whom he would have six children. Following the war he would enter into the North Carolina House of Commons and as a delegate to the US Constitutional Convention and would be one of the signers of this document. In 1790, William was appointed as Governor of the Territory of the United States, South of the River Ohio, as well as superintendent of Indian Affairs, by then President George Washington. He would serve in these positions for six years, dealing with the early establishment of the region and issues with the local Indian Tribes. Following his term as governor of the region he would go on to serve as President of the Tennessee Constitutional Convention and be elected to serve in the United States Senate. On June 8, 1797, however, William would be expelled from the Senate because of his involvement in an affair involving an attack on Spanish Florida and Louisiana. Despite his expulsion from the U.S. Senate, William was elected to serve in the State Senate the following year and would also serve as Speaker of that body. Two years later, William died at his home in Knoxville on March 21, 1800. 

 Name: John Sevier
Birth: 23 September 1745
Death: 24 September 1814
Age at Death: 70 years, 2 days
Interment: Old Knox County Courthouse  
Term in Office: March 30, 1796 – September 23, 1801 & September 23, 1803 – September 20, 1809
Political Party: Democratic Republican

John Sevier was born in New Market, Virginia, on September 23, 1745. John would marry Sarah Hawkins in 1761 and move with his wife into the Holston settlement, which was located in what would become East Tennessee. At the onset of the Revolutionary War, John would work his way to the position of Colonel in a division that was known as the Overmountain Men, which was a division of men from West of the Appalachian Mountains. John would lead them in their greatest victory over loyalist fighters at the Battle of Kings Mountain. Following the war he would first serve as Governor of the ill-fated State of Franklin from 1785 until its dissolution in 1788. After this term he would serve as Brigadier-General in the Tennessee State Militia for five years. In March of 1796, he would be sat as the first Governor of Tennessee, which would be entered into the Union on June 1, 1796. He would serve a total of six years before having to step down due to the term limits set forth by the Tennessee Constitution. It was following his first term that his rivalry with Andrew Jackson, a supporter Archibald Roane, the man who won the governorship following Sevier. Their argument would almost come to the point of a duel, which was going to take place in Kingston, TN, but both men would walk away without firing a shot. Following Roane’s term as governor, John would again be elected as governor serving another six years. At the end of his next term, John would first serve two years in the Tennessee State Senate and then four years in the United States Congress. He would die in 1815, while surveying the boundary between the Creek Nation and the State of Georgia, first being interred at Fort Decataur his remains would later be moved to their current resting place on the grounds of the Old Knox County Courthouse. 


Name: Archibald Roane
Birth: circa 1759
Death: 18 January 1819
Age at Death: 59 or 60 years
Interment: Pleasant Forest Cemetery, Farragut, TN
Term in Office: September 23, 1801 – September 23, 1803
Political Party: Democratic Republican

Archibald Roane was born in Lancaster County, PA, sometime in 1759.  After the death of both of his parents in 1767, Archibald was made a ward of his uncle John Roane, who was a Presbyterian Clergy man and saw to it that he received a good education. Sometime around the year 1780, he moved to Liberty Hall, VA, and married Ann Campbell.  He was later admitted into the bar and set up practice in Jonesborugh and Greeneville, TN. In 1790, he was selected as the Attorney General for the Territory of the United States West of the River Ohio and would go on to be one of the original framers of the Tennessee Constitution. In 1801, he was elected Governor of Tennessee and would spend two years in this position, during which time he would deal with helping to define the border between Tennessee and Virginia. He would lose his reelection bid to John Sevier, after serving only one term. Following his time as governor he would return to practicing the law and serve as a Circuit Judge as well as on the Superior Court of Errors and Appeals until his death on January 18, 1819. 

Name: William Gannaway Brownlow
Birth: 29 August 1805
Death: 28 April 1877
Age at Death: 71 years, 8 months
Interment: Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville, TN
Term in Office: April 5, 1865 – February 25, 1869
Political Party: Republican

William Gannaway Brownlow was born on August 29, 1805, in Wythe County , VA, and moved at a very early age to Eastern Tennessee.  After the death of both of his parents in 1816, he was left to the care of his mother’s family. He would enter into the Methodist ministry in 1826 and spend the next ten years as a traveling minister, also known as a circuit rider.  Following his marriage he would become editor first of the Tennessee Whig newspaper and then the Knoxville Whig. In 1861, after the outbreak of the Civil War, he refused to swear allegiance to the Confederate Government and would be forced into hiding near Cades Cove, TN. He would be captured and interred in a Confederate prison camp in Knoxville but be set free after his inhuman treatment suffered at the hands of his captors was exposed.  Following his release he would spend time traveling the north drumming up support for the Unionists who were still in Knoxville.  William would return to Knoxville following the cities occupation by the forces of Union commander, General Ambrose Burnside, and immediately reopen his newspaper under the name Knoxville Whig and Rebel Ventilator. He would be seated as governor following the seat being vacated by Andrew Johnson, due to the death of Abraham Lincoln, and go on to win the position outright in the next election. Under his governorship Tennessee would become the first state readmitted into the Union following the Civil War. In 1869, he would be elected to the United States Senate and serve there for the next six years.  Retiring from the senate in 1875, William would die on April 28, 1877.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gone but Not Forgotten: The tale of Country Johnny and the Six Governors

Despite the fact that William and I saw a horse that had been hit by a car lying dead on the side of the road, which is something I can honestly say I had never seen before and hope and pray I never see again, I would have to say that the one thing from this particular trip that stands out in my head more than anything is: Country Johnny Mathis. 

Now, admittedly, 90% of the graves that I ‘hunt’ are political or historical in nature but anytime I have a chance to visit a celebrity or anything of that nature, I rarely pass it by and thus was the case with Mr. Mathis. By the time we decided to visit Johnny, we had already seen five governors in four different cities and were on the tail end of what had been a fantastic day. Our first stop was Eagleville and the grave of Newton Cannon in a private family plot. The second was at the grave of Henry Horton, which is located in the park named in his honor, in Chapel Hill. Next we were off to Shelbyville and the grave of Prentice Cooper at an amazing little country church cemetery. From there it was onward to Lewisburg and the graves of both Buford Ellington and Jim McCord in Lewisburg.

After leaving Lewisburg and heading towards Pulaski, and our final grave, we drove through the small town of Cornersville and a cemetery called Beechwood. Having plenty of time to kill, I jumped on my cellphone and decided to see if anyone of historical or celebrity note was buried there and much to our surprise a gentleman by the name of Johnny Mathis was interred here. Now, not many people are aware that there are TWO Johnny Mathis’ in entertainment…one, and easily the more famous, working in the pop world, and another, Country Johnny, not nearly as famous, working in the world of 1950s Country Western. Country Johnny was born in Maude County, Texas, in 1930 and made some waves on country music radio and had a few minor hits and wrote a few more for other country artists of the time, including the below track that George Jones recorded. Honestly, neither William nor myself were familiar with him, but decided that we should stop by and pay our respects. 

Beechwood Cemetery is a very classic looking/feeling small town cemetery, and not having any idea what Johnny’s marker looked like, we decided to spend some time just wandering. It was amazing to see the generations of families that were buried here. From the early settlers of the area and participants in every war imaginable from the Revolutionary War onward. We wandered amongst the gravestones looking for a needle in the haystack, while taking it all in at the same time. Some of the tombstones were so badly damaged that they were illegible and decaying while a gravestone right next to it might be in mint condition. 

This got me to thinking about the state of one of the governor’s graves that we visited, that of Newton Cannon, and how at one time he was one of the most important men in the state of Tennessee and now his earthly remains lie in a graveyard overrun with vines, weeds and bushes…essentially lost to all but a few. Sadly, this is the case often times, the people and names that change the course of one generation are lost to the next. Thus was the case with Newton and thus was the case with Country Johnny Mathis and so many more just like them.
The sign marking the general location of Newton's grave
After spending nearly an hour wandering the graveyard, we decided that we needed to give up the search in order to insure that we could make it to our final governor’s grave (John C. Brown) before the day got away from us. It wasn’t until we arrived home that William did a little more research and discovered that Country Johnny had only died a few short weeks before our visit and as such his grave wouldn’t have had a marker yet…we vowed then and there that we would return to Beechwood and pay our respects to a man that was largely unknown to us but loved by so many and that the next time we were there we’d proudly be listening to the music that was his legacy. So Country Johnny until we meet again, from William and myself, rest in peace.

Name: Newton Cannon
Birth: 22 May 1781
Death: 16 September 1841
Age at Death: 60 years, 3 months, 25 days old
Interment: Newton Cannon Cemetery, Eagleville, TN
Term in Office: October 12, 1835 – October 14, 1839
Political Party: Whig

Newton Cannon was born on May 22, 1781 in Guilford County, NC . He would move with his family to Williamson County, TN at the age of nine.  After school he entered into several different occupations before settling into his role as a farmer.  His political career began in 1811, as a state senator. When the Creek War of 1813 broke out he enlisted in the army and served with distinction. It was around this time that his lifelong personal and political opposition to Andrew Jackson would begin. Newton would go on to oppose Andrew Jackson on nearly all of his political endeavors. Following the war he would again enter into politics this time serving in the United States House of Representatives. In 1819, at the request of then President James Monroe, Newton was sent to negotiate a peace treaty with the Chickasaw Indians. He continued his role as congressman until 1823, at which point he would return to Tennessee and resume his role as a farmer. First running for governor in 1827, he was defeated by Sam Houston. Running successfully for governor again in 1835, he would spend two consecutive terms as governor before being defeated by James K Polk, who had been called back to Tennessee by Andrew Jackson specifically for the task of taking on Newton for the governorship.  He was married twice, first in 1813 to Leah Perkins, who died three short years later, and again to Rachel Wilborn, and would father a total of ten children. Newton passed away on September 16, 1841, and was laid to rest in a private family plot on his land in Rutherford County, TN.

Name: John Calvin Brown
Birth: 6 January 1827
Death: 17 August 1889
Age at Death: 62 years, 7 months, 11 days old
Interment: Mapplewood Cemetery, Pulaski, TN
Term in Office: October 10, 1871 – January 18, 1875
Political Party: Democrat

John Calvin Brown was born in Giles County, TN, on January 6, 1827 to Duncan and Mary Brown . His elder brother, Neil S. Brown, was also a governor of Tennessee.  He graduated from Jackson College in 1846 and established a law practice in the city of Pulaski, TN. As a Whig he opposed secession but in 1861 after the outbreak of the Civil War, Brown enlisted in the Confederate Army as a Private but was almost immediately elevated to the level of Colonel.  On February 16, 1862, he was captured by the Union Army following the surrender of Fort Donelson and would spend the next eight months as a prisoner of war before being released as part of a prisoner exchange. Following his release he was promoted to the level of Brigadier General and served in the army of Braxton Bragg. He was wounded in the battles of Perryville, Chickamauga and again in Franklin and finally surrendering command of his division to Joseph Johnston in April, 1865.  Entering into politics following the war he would first serve in the State Constitutional Convention, where he was elected President of the body. In 1870, he would successfully run for Governor of the State and would spend two terms in this position. Following his term as Governor he would unsuccessfully run for senate, losing to former president, Andrew Johnson. He would spend the next thirteen years working for the Texas and Pacific Railroad Company, eventually becoming its President. He would retire from this position in 1889 and die the same year of a stomach hemorrhage.

Name: Henry H. Horton
Birth: 17 February 1866
Death: 2 July 1934
Age at Death: 68 years, 4 months and 15 days old
Interment: Wilhoite Cemetery, Chapel Hill, TN
Term in Office: October 3, 1927 – January 17, 1933
Political Party: Democrat

Henry Horton Hollis was born on February 17,1866, in Princeton, AL.  Henry would begin his professional career as a teacher before being admitted into the bar in 1894.  His first foray into politics would be in the Tennessee State Senate, where he would ultimately become Speaker. On October 2, 1927, based on the laws of Tennessee, as Speaker, Henry would become governor of the state following the death of the current governor, Austin Peay. Despite several individuals ascending to the governorship because of a vacated seat, Henry is the only individual to take over this position following the death of the current governor.  During his term in office he would lower the Tennessee Property tax and increase the tax on cigarettes to fund education.  In 1930, shortly following his election to his second term, Henry’s close friend and political backer, Luke Lea, was caught up in a bank scandal. While never formally charged with any wrongdoings, Henry’s administration was tied to this scandal and in 1932 he would not seek reelection. He would die on July 2, 1932 at his home in Chapel Hill, TN.  Following his death his property along the Duck River was acquired by the state and a park named in his honor was established on this land.

Name: Prentice Cooper
Birth: 22 September 1895
Death: 18 May 1969
Age at Death:
73 years, 7 months, 27 days old
Interment: Jenkins Chapel Cemetery, Shelbyville, TN
Term in Office: January 16, 1939 – January 16, 1945
Political Party: Democrat

William Prentice Cooper, Jr., was born on September 28, 1895, to William Prentice and Argentine Cooper near Shelbyville, TN.  He would attend both Vanderbilt and Princeton Universities and graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1917, after the outbreak of World War I, he enlisted in the Army as a Private and would be leave the army in 1919 as a Second Lieutenant. In 1922, he was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives and would serve in that position until being elected to Attorney General of the Eighth Judicial Circuit.  1937 would see yet another change of position for Prentice when he was elected to the Tennessee State Senate and would only serve here for one year before running for governor in 1938. The election was hard fought but Cooper, who had attracted the favor of Memphis Political boss, EH Crump, would go on to win. During his three terms as Governor, he would fight for education reforms and being the wartime governor, would help oversee the establishment of an atomic facility in Oak Ridge, where the atomic bomb was made, as well as a new military base at Fort Campbell.  Following his terms as governor, he would be appointed as ambassador to Peru, where he would remain for two years.  Following his return from Peru , he would marry Hortense Powell and father three children, including a current congressman from Tennessee, Jim Cooper. Returning to Shelbyville he would die at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and be buried at Jenkins Chapel Cemetery. 

Name: Jim Nance McCord
Birth: 17 March 1879
Death: 2 September 1968
Age at Death: 89 years, 5 months, 16 days
Interment: Lone Oak Cemetery, Lewisburg, TN
Term in Office: January 16, 1945 – January 16, 1949
Political Party: Democrat

Jim Nance McCord was born on March 17, 1879, in Unionville, TN, to Thomas and Iva McCord. Following his graduation, McCord would spend the next ten years as a traveling salesman before moving into the newspaper industry in 1910, as Publisher of the Marshall Gazette. Elected as Mayor of Lewisburg in 1927, a position he would hold for thirteen consecutive terms until 1942, a position he would only leave after being elected to the United States Congress. He would only serve one term as Congressman before being elected as Governor of Tennessee on November 7, 1944. Recognized as a strong friend of education, he fought for pay raises for teachers and principals and even went as far as establishing a sales tax (of 2%) in order to fund education.  Following his stint as governor he would serve in the administration of Governor Frank Clement as Commissioner of Conversation. Following the death of his first wife, Vera Kercheval, who he married in 1901 and who passed away in 1953, Jim would be married twice more before dying in Nashville on September 2, 1968. 

Name: Buford Ellington
Birth: 17 March 1879
Death: 2 September 1968
Age at Death:
64 years, 9 months and 7 days old
Interment: Lone Oak Cemetery, Lewisburg, TN
Term in Office: January 19, 1959 – January 15, 1963 & January 16, 1967 – January 16, 1971
Political Party: Democrat

Buford Ellington was born on June 27, 1907, in Holmes County, MS. He was originally a merchant and farmer before being pegged by then Governor Frank Clement . Following the end of Clement’s term limit, Buford would run successfully for Governor, the two would spend the next 12 years alternating the governorship and collectively hold the seat from 1953 until 1971. Much of the Civil Rights movement would take place during this time period and Buford would go from a moderate segregationist to a proponent for racial integration. He would also develop a close friendship and working relationship with President Lyndon Johnson and serve as a moderator in talks between Johnson and Alabama governor George Wallace during the Selma to Montgomery walks. After leaving office Buford would die two years later in Boca Raton, FL, on April 3, 1972, and be buried at Lone Oak Cemetery in Lewisburg, TN.  Among the mourners at his funeral was a very frail looking Lyndon Johnson, who would pass away just a short eight months later.