Old Swaney: William Robert Webb of Tennessee

Old Swaney: William Robert Webb of Tennessee

By Ray Hill Most Knoxvillians have heard of the Webb School, but few remember William Robert Webb, the founder and headmaster of the first Webb School. R. Webb was a formidable character by any standard; he was a professional educator throughout his life, as well as a community activist and briefly, served as United States […]

Texas Liberal: Senator Ralph Yarborough

Texas Liberal: Senator Ralph Yarborough

By Ray Hill While now an apparently Republican “red” state, Texas was once solidly Democratic.  Like Tennessee, Texas has produced some interesting political personalities; Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, Senator Tom Connally, Governor John Connally (no relation to Tom), Governor Ann Richards, George Bush and not least of all, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Ralph Yarborough […]

E.L. Mechem of New Mexico: BIG ED

E.L. Mechem of New Mexico: BIG ED

By Ray Hill   New Mexico entered the union on January 6, 1912 and it became fertile ground for rough and tumble politics that swung from the outrageous to the brutal. Elections routinely were influenced by money and there were frequent charges of voter fraud. One of New Mexico’s first U. S. senators was Albert […]

Alabama Liberal: Lister Hill

Alabama Liberal: Lister Hill

By Ray Hill   Joseph Lister Hill did not emerge from the hills of Alabama, nor did he have to rise above poverty; in fact he was born into a well-to-do family.  Hill’s father was Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill and the future senator was named for his father’s friend, Dr. Joseph Lister, who pioneered the […]

Harry Truman’s White House Restoration

Harry Truman’s White House Restoration

By Ray Hill The White House, following a century and a half of wars, repairs and the addition of a new third floor caused serious problems for the area reserved for the First Family.  Virtually nobody thought Harry Truman would be occupying the White House in 1949 and the Republican Congress had been exceptionally generous […]

Senator Bennett Champ Clark: A Closer Look

Senator Bennett Champ Clark: A Closer Look

By Ray Hill I’ve written about Senator Bennett Champ Clark of Missouri previously, but I think he is such an interesting character, he deserves a closer look.  Bennett Clark’s life has all the fundamentals of a good story; love, success, turmoil and tragedy.  Clark was born to fortuitous circumstances and was highly intelligent and quite […]

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 […]