Senator James E. Murray of Montana

By Ray Hill Occasionally, a candidate comes out of nowhere to win an election.  It is not a common occurrence in politics, but it has happened throughout our history.  James Edward Murray was one such candidate. Born May 3, 1876 in Canada, young Murray was sent to the United States to live with an uncle, […]

The Kees of West Virginia

By Ray Hill One of the lesser-known political dynasties in the country was birthed in the hollows and coal fields of West Virginia.  The Kee family dominated the politics of Bluefield, West Virginia and father, mother, and son represented the Fifth Congressional district for a total of forty years.  John, Elizabeth, and James Kee served […]

Tennessee in Congress: 1939

By Ray Hill   Tennessee has been quite fortunate in oftentimes having an excellent Congressional delegation.  The landscape and economic condition of Tennessee would be much different had it not been for the ability of some of our Congressional delegation to secure projects for our state and keep them flourishing. 1939 was a difficult year […]

Ben W. Hooper

Ben W. Hooper

By Ray Hill For years, Ben W. Hooper was the most successful Republican politician in the state of Tennessee, if the measure was the ability to win a statewide election. A fiery and dynamic speaker, Hooper was a successful lawyer, yet he had overcome serious adversity to rise to prominence. In fact, he came into […]

Edward Hull Crump: The Boss, Part V

By Ray Hill Governor Gordon Browning had unleashed a fierce assault on the Memphis political machine, as well as its leader, E. H. Crump.  Browning proposed to institute a county unit bill to render the huge voting majorities produced in Shelby County meaningless in statewide elections. Boss Crump sent an urgent appeal for help to […]

Edward Hull Crump: The Boss, Part III

By Ray Hill Henry Horton had won reelection as governor in 1930, but within days the landscape of Tennessee politics was forever altered.  Both Horton and his closest political adviser , Luke Lea, were made politically impotent when Caldwell and Company, one of the biggest banking concerns in the South, failed.  Rogers Caldwell had been […]

Edward Hull Crump: The Boss, Part II

By Ray Hill Following his ouster as Mayor of Memphis, E. H. Crump ran for and was elected Shelby County Trustee.  His removal from the mayor’s office was a humiliation Crump never forgot and he certainly never forgave anyone he considered to have played a part in his removal.  Crump attributed his removal from office […]

Edward Hull Crump: The Boss, Part I

Edward Hull Crump: The Boss, Part I

Published March 26, 2012 By Ray Hill The modern history of Memphis is inextricably tied to that of Edward Hull Crump. “Mister” Crump was indisputably a political boss in a region of the country where political bosses did not normally flourish. Political bosses were hardly uncommon in the United States during the heyday of E. […]

Governor Buford Ellington

Governor Buford Ellington

By Ray Hill Buford Ellington is perhaps best remembered today for being one of Tennessee’s “leap-frog” governors, alternating terms with Frank Clement.  For almost twenty years, Clement and Ellington ruled Tennessee from the governor’s office. Ellington was not a native Tennessean, being born in Holmes County, Mississippi June 27, 1907.  Buford Ellington attempted to go […]

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