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This is a list of people who have served as Governor of Tennessee.

The governor's term in office is limited by the Tennessee state constitution. The first constitution, enacted in 1796, set a term of two years for the governor and provided that no person could serve as governor for more than six years in any eight-year period.[1] The term of office was lengthened to four years, without the possibility of consecutive terms, by constitutional amendments adopted in 1953.[2] Under the current provisions of the state constitution, as amended in 1978, the governor is elected to a four-year term and may serve no more than two terms consecutively.[2][3] For a period of nearly five decades in the 20th century, the Tennessee Democratic Party held the Tennessee governorship continuously.

Tennessee has had 50 governors, including the incumbent, Bill Lee.[4] This tally does not include William Blount (the territorial governor) or Robert L. Caruthers (who never took office), though the Blue Book includes them in its list of governors.[5] All governors are counted only once, regardless of number of terms served (e.g., John Sevier is considered the 1st governor, rather than the 1st and 3rd governor). The Blue Book does not include Edward H. East in its list of governors.

Contents

Southwest TerritoryEdit

The Territory South of the River Ohio, commonly called the Southwest Territory, was formed in 1790 from lands ceded by North Carolina to the United States government. The territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Tennessee in 1796.

Parties

  Democratic-Republican

# Picture Governor
(Birth–Death)
Term of Office Party State of Birth Occupation Notes
1     William Blount
(1749–1800)
September 20, 1790

March 30, 1796
Democratic-Republican NC Land speculator [6]

State of TennesseeEdit

Parties

  Democratic-Republican   Democratic   Whig   Unionist/Military   Republican

#[7] Picture Governor
(Birth–Death)
Term of Office Party State of Birth Occupation Lt. Governor Notes
1     John Sevier
(1745–1815)
March 30, 1796

September 23, 1801
Democratic-Republican VA Soldier, pioneer None
2     Archibald Roane
(1760–1819)
September 23, 1801

September 23, 1803
Democratic-Republican PA Lawyer
1     John Sevier
(1745–1815)
September 23, 1803

September 20, 1809
Democratic-Republican VA Soldier, pioneer
3     Willie Blount
(1768–1835)
September 20, 1809

September 27, 1815
Democratic-Republican NC Lawyer, planter
4     Joseph McMinn
(1758–1824)
September 27, 1815

October 1, 1821
Democratic-Republican PA Merchant
5     William Carroll
(1788–1844)
October 1, 1821

October 1, 1827
Democratic-Republican PA Merchant, soldier
6     Sam Houston
(1793–1863)
October 1, 1827

April 16, 1829
Democratic-Republican VA Lawyer
7     William Hall
(1775–1856)
April 16, 1829

October 1, 1829
Democratic NC Planter, soldier
5     William Carroll
(1788–1844)
October 1, 1829

October 12, 1835
Democratic PA Merchant, soldier
8     Newton Cannon
(1781–1841)
October 12, 1835

October 14, 1839
Whig NC Planter
9     James K. Polk
(1795–1849)
October 14, 1839

October 15, 1841
Democratic NC Lawyer/President
10     James C. Jones
(1809–1859)
October 15, 1841

October 14, 1845
Whig TN Lawyer
11     Aaron V. Brown
(1795–1859)
October 14, 1845

October 17, 1847
Democratic VA Lawyer
12     Neill S. Brown
(1810–1886)
October 17, 1847

October 16, 1849
Whig TN Lawyer
13     William Trousdale
(1790–1872)
October 16, 1849

October 16, 1851
Democratic NC Lawyer
14     William B. Campbell
(1807–1867)
October 16, 1851

October 17, 1853
Whig TN Lawyer
15     Andrew Johnson
(1808–1875)
October 17, 1853

November 3, 1857
Democratic NC Tailor, President
16     Isham G. Harris
(1818–1897)
November 3, 1857

March 12, 1862
Democratic TN Lawyer, U.S. Senator [8]
15     Andrew Johnson
(1808–1875)
March 12, 1862

March 4, 1865
Unionist/Military NC Tailor, President
    Edward H. East
(1830–1904)
March 4, 1865

April 5, 1865
Republican TN Lawyer [9]
17     William G. Brownlow
(1805–1877)
April 5, 1865

February 25, 1869
Republican VA Editor, preacher
18     Dewitt Clinton Senter
(1830–1898)
February 25, 1869

October 10, 1871
Republican TN Lawyer
19     John C. Brown
(1827–1889)
October 10, 1871

January 18, 1875
Democratic TN Lawyer
20     James D. Porter
(1828–1912)
January 18, 1875

February 16, 1879
Democratic TN Lawyer, educator
21     Albert S. Marks
(1836–1891)
February 16, 1879

January 17, 1881
Democratic KY Lawyer, chancellor
22     Alvin Hawkins
(1821–1905)
January 17, 1881

January 15, 1883
Republican KY Lawyer, judge
23     William B. Bate
(1826–1905)
January 15, 1883

January 17, 1887
Democratic TN Lawyer, U.S. Senator
24     Robert Love Taylor
(1850–1912)
January 17, 1887

January 19, 1891
Democratic TN Lawyer, U.S. Senator
25     John P. Buchanan
(1847–1930)
January 19, 1891

January 16, 1893
Democratic TN Farmer
26     Peter Turney
(1827–1903)
January 16, 1893

January 21, 1897
Democratic TN Lawyer, judge
24     Robert Love Taylor
(1850–1912)
January 21, 1897

January 16, 1899
Democratic TN Lawyer, U.S. Senator
27     Benton McMillin
(1845–1933)
January 16, 1899

January 19, 1903
Democratic KY Lawyer, diplomat
28     James B. Frazier
(1856–1937)
January 19, 1903

March 21, 1905
Democratic TN Lawyer, U.S. Senator
29     John I. Cox
(1855–1946)
March 21, 1905

January 17, 1907
Democratic TN Lawyer
30     Malcolm R. Patterson
(1861–1935)
January 17, 1907

January 26, 1911
Democratic AL Lawyer, judge
31     Ben W. Hooper
(1870–1957)
January 26, 1911

January 17, 1915
Republican TN Lawyer
32     Thomas C. Rye
(1863–1953)
January 17, 1915

January 15, 1919
Democratic TN Lawyer, judge
33     Albert H. Roberts
(1868–1946)
January 15, 1919

January 15, 1921
Democratic TN Lawyer, judge
34     Alfred A. Taylor
(1848–1931)
January 15, 1921

January 16, 1923
Republican TN Lawyer
35     Austin Peay
(1876–1927)
January 16, 1923

October 3, 1927
Democratic KY Lawyer [10]
36     Henry Hollis Horton
(1866–1934)
October 3, 1927

January 17, 1933
Democratic AL Lawyer, farmer
37     Hill McAlister
(1875–1959)
January 17, 1933

January 15, 1937
Democratic TN Lawyer
38     Gordon Browning
(1889–1976)
January 15, 1937

January 16, 1939
Democratic TN Lawyer, judge
39     Prentice Cooper
(1895–1969)
January 16, 1939

January 16, 1945
Democratic TN Lawyer
40     Jim Nance McCord
(1879–1968)
January 16, 1945

January 16, 1949
Democratic TN Editor
38     Gordon Browning
(1889–1976)
January 16, 1949

January 15, 1953
Democratic TN Lawyer, Judge
  Walter M. Haynes
41     Frank G. Clement
(1920–1969)
January 15, 1953

January 19, 1959
Democratic TN Lawyer   Jared Maddux
42     Buford Ellington
(1907–1972)
January 19, 1959

January 15, 1963
Democratic MS Farmer   William D. Baird
41     Frank G. Clement
(1920–1969)
January 15, 1963

January 16, 1967
Democratic TN Lawyer   James L. Bomar, Jr.
  Jared Maddux
42     Buford Ellington
(1907–1972)
January 16, 1967

January 16, 1971
Democratic MS Farmer   Frank Gorrell
43     Winfield Dunn
(b. 1927)
January 16, 1971

January 18, 1975
Republican MS Dentist   John S. Wilder
44     Ray Blanton
(1930–1996)
January 18, 1975

January 17, 1979
Democratic TN Farmer, businessman
45     Lamar Alexander
(b. 1940)
January 20, 1979

January 17, 1987
Republican TN Lawyer, U.S. Senator
46     Ned McWherter
(1930–2011)
January 17, 1987

January 21, 1995
Democratic TN Businessman
47     Don Sundquist
(b. 1936)
January 21, 1995

January 18, 2003
Republican IL Businessman
48     Phil Bredesen
(b. 1943)
January 18, 2003

January 15, 2011
Democratic NJ Businessman
  Ron Ramsey
49     Bill Haslam
(b. 1958)
January 15, 2011

January 19, 2019
Republican TN Businessman
  Randy McNally
50     Bill Lee
(b. 1959)
January 19, 2019

present
Republican TN Businessman

Other high offices held by governorsEdit

This is a table of congressional seats, other federal offices, and other governorships held by governors. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Tennessee except where noted. * denotes those offices which the governor resigned to take.

Governor Gubernatorial term U.S. Congress Other offices held
House Senate
William Blount 1790–1796 (territorial) S Continental Congressman from North Carolina
John Sevier 1796–1801
1803–1809
H U.S. Representative from North Carolina; Governor of the State of Franklin
Sam Houston 1827–1829 H President of the Republic of Texas; U.S. Senator from Texas; Governor of Texas
William Hall 1829 H
Newton Cannon 1835–1839 H
James K. Polk 1839–1841 H 11th President of the United States
James C. Jones 1841–1845 S
Aaron V. Brown 1845–1847 H United States Postmaster General
Neill S. Brown 1847–1849 United States Minister to Russia
William Trousdale 1849–1851 United States Minister to Brazil
William B. Campbell 1851–1853 H
Andrew Johnson 1853–1857
1862–1865
H S 17th President of the United States; 16th Vice President of the United States
Isham G. Harris 1857–1862 H S
William G. Brownlow 1865–1869 S
James D. Porter 1875–1879 United States Minister to Chile
William B. Bate 1883–1887 S
Robert Love Taylor 1897–1899 H S
Benton McMillin 1899–1903 H United States Minister to Peru; United States Minister to Guatemala
James B. Frazier 1903–1905 S*
Malcolm R. Patterson 1907–1911 H
Alfred A. Taylor 1921–1923 H
Gordon Browning 1937–1939
1949–1953
H
Prentice Cooper 1939–1945 United States Ambassador to Peru
Jim Nance McCord 1945–1949 H
Ray Blanton 1975–1979 H
Lamar Alexander 1979–1987 S United States Secretary of Education
Don Sundquist 1995–2003 H

Living former Governors of TennesseeEdit

As of January 2019, there are five former governors who are currently living at this time, the oldest being Winfield Dunn (served 1971–1975, born 1927). The most recent death of a former Tennessee governor was that of Ned McWherter (served 1987–1995, born 1930), on April 4, 2011, who is also the most recently serving governor to have died.

Governor Gubernatorial term Date of birth (and age)
Winfield Dunn 1971–1975 (1927-07-01) July 1, 1927 (age 91)
Lamar Alexander 1979–1987 (1940-07-03) July 3, 1940 (age 78)
Don Sundquist 1995–2003 (1936-03-15) March 15, 1936 (age 83)
Phil Bredesen 2003–2011 (1943-11-21) November 21, 1943 (age 75)
Bill Haslam 2011–2019 (1958-08-23) August 23, 1958 (age 60)

ReferencesEdit

Specific
  1. ^ Jonathan M. Atkins. "William Carroll" in Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture (online edition). Accessed January 27, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Government", Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
  3. ^ William Lyons, John M. Scheb, Billy Stair (2001). Government and politics in Tennessee. University of Tennessee Press. p. 48–49. ISBN 978-1-57233-141-9.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ Office of the Governor
  5. ^ "Past Governors," Tennessee Blue Book (2011–2012), pp. 547, 553.
  6. ^ Appointed governor by President George Washington
  7. ^ Numbering of the Governors was deduced from the fact that the document at www.tn.gov/sos/bluebook/11-12/2_ExecutiveBranch.pdf identifies Bill Haslam as Tennessee's 49th Governor. Governors who served multiple non-consecutive terms have their numbers repeated in italics in subsequent terms.
  8. ^ Harris continued issuing edicts as governor throughout the Civil War. Confederate Tennesseans elected Robert L. Caruthers as Harris's successor in 1863, but Caruthers never took office.
  9. ^ East was Tennessee Secretary of State from 1862–1865, appointed by Andrew Johnson, the military governor of the state under Union occupation during the Civil War. After Johnson was inaugurated as Vice President of the United States on March 4, 1865, East became the Acting Governor of Tennessee until William G. Brownlow, the "elected" governor of Tennessee, was inaugurated on April 5, 1865. The official Tennessee Blue Book does not include East in its list of former governors.
  10. ^ Peay is the only Governor of Tennessee to die in office and was succeeded by Lieutenant Governor Henry Horton.
General

External linksEdit