Tennessee Governors & the Path to the US Senate, II

By Ray Hill Only nine men have made the transition from governor of Tennessee to United States senator. One of those nine was one of the most successful politicians to take part in Tennessee’s turbulent politics: Andrew Johnson. In fact, Andrew Johnson prospered politically during the Civil War, the most tempestuous time in Tennessee’s history. […]

Tennessee Talking Horse: Congressman Dan Kuykendall

Tennessee Talking Horse: Congressman Dan Kuykendall

By Ray Hill Dan Kuykendall (pronounced Kirk-en-dall) was the first Republican to be elected to Congress from West Tennessee since 1882.  Kuykendall was also the first Republican to represent E. H. Crump’s former domain of Memphis in the House of Representatives; Kuykendall was also the last Republican to represent the area in Congress. Kuykendall was […]

Mr. Jim Cummings

Mr. Jim Cummings

By Ray Hill “Live so that when you die, even the undertaker will be sorry.” Sign that hung in the business office of Jim Cummings. James H. Cummings is likely a name unfamiliar to most readers, but during his time he was a power and a man to be reckoned with. When he died in […]

The Mystery After J. Will Taylor’s Death, II

The Mystery After J. Will Taylor’s Death, II

By Ray Hill When Congressman J. Will Taylor died on November 14, 1939, it sent shock waves through Tennessee’s political community.  Taylor had long been enormously popular inside Tennessee’s Second Congressional district and “Hillbilly Bill” had exercised considerable influence throughout the state, especially when the GOP dominated the White House.  Taylor’s influence lessened somewhat with […]

The Mystery After J. Will Taylor’s Death, I

The Mystery After J. Will Taylor’s Death, I

By Ray Hill Following Congressman J. Will Taylor’s death from an unexpected heart attack on November 14, 1939 there was an outpouring of grief on the part of the people of Tennessee’s Second Congressional district.  Taylor had long been a power in Tennessee and during the administrations of Presidents Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and […]

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