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Willie Blount (ca. 1767-1835)

Governor Willie Blount was born in Bertie County, North Carolina, to Jacob Blount and his second wife, Hannah (Salter) Baker Blount. He was half-brother to Tennessee's territorial governor William Blount. Willie (pronounced Wiley) Blount studied law at Princeton and Columbia before returning home to read law with a North Carolina judge. When William Blount began his term as governor of the Southwest Territory in 1790, Willie accompanied him, serving as one of his brother's three private secretaries.

In 1794 Blount secured a license to practice law, and in 1796 the new state legislature elected him as a judge on the Superior Court of Law and Equity, a position he declined. Settling in Montgomery County about 1802 with his wife and their two daughters, he represented the county in the state legislature from 1807 to 1809.

Blount was first elected governor in 1809 and then reelected in 1811 and 1813. Throughout his tenure as governor, Blount sought to open up new areas of Tennessee for white settlement. During the Creek War he provided his friend Andrew Jackson with funds and volunteer soldiers, enabling Jackson and his troops to effectively destroy the military power of the Creek Indians. During the War of 1812 Blount led the initiative to raise over thirty-seven thousand dollars in funds and two thousand volunteer soldiers, a response which earned Tennessee the nickname the "Volunteer State."

At the end of his third term, Blount returned to Montgomery County. In 1827 he ran again for governor but was defeated by Sam Houston. Blount served as a member of the state's Constitutional Convention of 1834. He died September 10, 1835, in Nashville and is buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Clarksville.

Suggested Reading

Elizabeth H. Peeler, "The Policies of Willie Blount as Governor of Tennessee, 1809-1815," Tennessee Historical Quarterly 1 (1942): 309-27.

Published » December 25, 2009 | Last Updated » January 01, 2010