Guild, Josephus Conn
Born in Virginia, Josephus C. Guild came with his parents briefly to Stewart County and then to Sumner County in 1812. Both his father and mother died the following year, and he became the ward of his... Continue Reading »
Harbison, William James
Influential and respected Tennessee Supreme Court justice William J. Harbison was born in Columbia, the son of William Joshua Harbison and Eunice Elizabeth Kinzer Harbison. Harbison (B.A, magna cum la... Continue Reading »
Hawkins, Alvin
Reconstruction judge and governor Alvin Hawkins was seven years old when his family moved to Carroll County. After attending McLemoresville Academy and Bethel College, he tried his hand as a farmer, b... Continue Reading »
Haywood, John
John Haywood, pioneer jurist and historian of early Tennessee history, was born in Halifax County, North Carolina in 1762, the son of prosperous tobacco producer Egbert Haywood. Despite limited educat... Continue Reading »
Houk, Leonidas Campbell
Leonidas C. Houk, congressman and judge, was born near Boyds Creek, Sevier County. The death of his father in 1839 left him and his mother impoverished. His formal education consisted of only a few mo... Continue Reading »
Humphreys, West H.
West Humphreys was a jurist whose sympathy for and relationship with the Confederacy led to impeachment. He was born in Montgomery County on August 5, 1806. His father, Parry W. Humphreys, was a state... Continue Reading »
Hutchins, Styles L.
Styles L. Hutchins, noted African American attorney in turn-of-the-century Chattanooga, was born November 21, 1852, in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He attended Atlanta University and after completing his s... Continue Reading »
Jackson, Howell Edmunds
U.S. senator (1881-86), Sixth Circuit Court (1886-92), Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (1892-93), and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1893-95), Howell E. Jackson was best remembered for hi... Continue Reading »
Jenkins, Ray Howard
Ray H. Jenkins, trial lawyer and chief counsel for the U.S. Senate in the Army-McCarthy hearings, was born in Cherokee County, North Carolina, in 1897. The family soon moved to the community of Rural ... Continue Reading »
Kelly v. Board of Education
This lawsuit filed by several African American families in 1955 to desegregate the Nashville public schools dramatically altered education patterns, and its various remedies continue to generate debat... Continue Reading »
Knoxville Iron Company v. Harbison
In the case of Knoxville Iron Company v. Harbison (183 U.S. 13) the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an 1899 Tennessee statute requiring cash redemption of store orders and other noncash payments to employee... Continue Reading »
Law in Tennessee
The origins of law in Tennessee can be traced to a variety of sources, notably English common law and colonial North Carolina statutes. The 1796 constitution provided that all laws then in force shoul... Continue Reading »
Looby, Zephaniah Alexander
Attorney and civil rights activist Z. Alexander Looby was born in Antigua, British West Indies, on April 8, 1899, the son of John Alexander and Grace Elizabeth Joseph Looby. After the death of his fat... Continue Reading »
Lurton, Horace Harmon
Horace H. Lurton was the third of six Tennesseans appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was born in Newport, Kentucky, on February 26, 1844. In the 1850s the family moved to Clarksville, Tennessee. ... Continue Reading »
One of many expressions of violence directed mostly towards African Americans following Reconstruction and lasting well into the twentieth century was lynching. According to one set of statistics, lyn... Continue Reading »
McElwee, Samuel A.
One of the state's most influential African American men of the 1880s, Samuel A. McElwee had to struggle to achieve a college education and law degree, but nonetheless served his race for three t... Continue Reading »
McIntyre v. Balentine
Until recently, Tennessee followed the doctrines of "contributory negligence." Under contributory negligence, a person harmed by a defendant's negligent act may be unable to recover any... Continue Reading »
McNairy, John
John McNairy, Andrew Jackson's early friend and mentor, was one of Tennessee's first federal judges. Variously reported to have been born in Pennsylvania or North Carolina, McNairy was the s... Continue Reading »
McReynolds, James Clark
The fourth Tennessean to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, James C. McReynolds was born in Elkton, Kentucky, on February 3, 1862. His father was a surgeon and plantation owner, and the family be... Continue Reading »
Miller, Pleasant Moorman
One of the most influential figures in Tennessee politics and law during the first half of the nineteenth century, Pleasant M. Miller was born the son of a tavern owner in Lynchburg, Virginia. Miller ... Continue Reading »