Tennessee and the League of Nations I

Tennessee and the League of Nations I

By Ray Hill Tennessee had been staunchly for Woodrow Wilson, both in his 1912 campaign for the presidency and his 1916 reelection campaign. Tennessee’s junior United States senator, Kenneth D. McKellar, had been a fervent admirer of President Wilson as a member of the House of Representatives and if anything, his admiration grew as a […]

Congressman Finis J. Garrett

Congressman Finis J. Garrett

By Ray Hill For more than two decades, Finis James Garrett represented a West Tennessee district in Congress. Garrett was a talented politician and his rise was meteoric. Winning a seat in Congress when he was barely twenty-eight years old, he rose to become the Minority Leader of the U. S. House of Representatives. Finis […]

The Last Hurrah of Ross Bass, II

The Last Hurrah of Ross Bass, II

By Ray Hill Ross Bass, for ten years a congressman from Tennessee’s Sixth District and U. S. senator for two years, was seeking to return to Congress in 1976. Bass had earlier announced he was done with politics after a disappointing defeat in 1974 for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Perhaps no politician in Tennessee’s history […]

The Last Hurrah of Ross Bass

The Last Hurrah of Ross Bass

By Ray Hill The 1974 Tennessee gubernatorial campaign took a heavy toll on the finances of several aspirants.  Dortch Oldham, who had run in the Republican primary, acknowledged spending perhaps $300,000 of his own money to fund his campaign.  Oldham said, “I don’t believe anybody would do that if he ever sat down before the […]

The Last Vestige of the Crump Machine: Clifford Davis, Part II

The Last Vestige of the Crump Machine:  Clifford Davis, Part II

By Ray Hill Congressman Clifford Davis of Memphis had served in the House of Representatives since 1940 and in 1959 was the chairman of the House Public Works Committee.  A relatively obscure committee to most folks, it became of prime importance to Tennessee.  Davis was pushing a bill vital to the Tennessee Valley Authority, a […]

When Two Congressmen Collide, IV

When Two Congressmen Collide, IV

By Ray Hill Ridley Mitchell, the colorful congressman from Tennessee’s Fourth District, suddenly found himself embroiled in a debate with fellow Representative John J. Cochran of Missouri, an effective and acerbic speaker. The topic was the seemingly unimportant removal of Bedford County in Mitchell’s Congressional district to the jurisdiction of the federal court in Winchester, […]

When Two Congressmen Collide, III

When Two Congressmen Collide, III

By Ray Hill Tennessee Congressman Ewin L. Davis, a veteran of fourteen years, had lost his seat to freshman legislator J. Ridley Mitchell in the 1932 Democratic primary.  Mitchell’s district had been dismembered by the Tennessee General Assembly causing Mitchell to move from Crossville to Cookeville.  Mitchell, remaining the underdog for most of the campaign, […]