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 […]

Governor Thomas C. Rye

Governor Thomas C. Rye

By Ray Hill Just after the turn of the century, Tennessee’s Democratic Party became almost hopelessly fractured.  The candidacies of two men helped to heal the deep divisions inside the Democratic Party in Tennessee: that of Kenneth D. McKellar for the United States Senate in 1916 and Tom C. Rye for governor in 1914. Thomas […]

Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.

Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.

By Ray Hill While it might be difficult for readers to believe, once upon a time, Massachusetts was largely a Republican state. The first political dynasty was not the Kennedys, but rather the Lodges. There is the old bit of doggerel, “And this is good old Boston, the home of the bean and the cod, […]

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