Open main menu

Thetus Willrette Sims (April 25, 1852 – December 17, 1939) was an American politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives for the 8th congressional district of Tennessee.

Thetus W. Sims
Thetus W. Sims from Tennessee
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 8th district
In office
March 4, 1897 – March 3, 1921
Preceded byJohn E. McCall
Succeeded byLon A. Scott
Personal details
Born(1852-04-25)April 25, 1852
Wayne County, Tennessee
DiedDecember 17, 1939(1939-12-17) (aged 87)
Washington, D.C.
Resting placeRock Creek Cemetery
Citizenship United States
Political partyDemocratic Party (United States)
Spouse(s)Nannie Kitrell Sims
ChildrenEdna Sims

Erskine Kent Sims

Tom Sims

Elizabeth Sims

Marie Sims

Paul Sims

Enid Sims
Alma materCumberland University


Sims was born on April 25, 1852 near Waynesboro, Tennessee in Wayne County son of George Washington and Sarah Jane Whitson Sims. He attended a private school at Martin Mills and moved with his parents to Savannah, Tennessee in Hardin County in 1862 during the Civil War.

Thetus W. Sims' former residence in Washington, D.C.

Sims attended Savannah (Tennessee) College and graduated from Cumberland School of Law at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee in June 1876. He was admitted to the bar the same year.[1] He married Nannie Kitrell on December 26, 1877, and they had seven children, Edna, Erskine, Tom, Elizabeth, Marie, Paul, and Enid.[2]


Sims commenced practice in Linden, Tennessee in Perry County. He was the superintendent of public instruction for Perry County, Tennessee from 1882 to 1884.

Sims was elected to the House in the fall of 1896 as a Democrat. He was reelected to the eleven succeeding Congresses.

His tenure in the House lasted for 12 terms in office from March 4, 1897 to March 3, 1921.[3]

An important advocate for the nineteenth amendment which gave women the right to vote.[4] Tennessee was also the last state to ratify the nineteenth amendment.

Pushed for the Sims Act, which forbade interstate transportation of fight films, primarily boxing after the Johnson v Flynn fight in 1912. The act was known as the first time Congress took censorship action in regards to films and remained on the book until 1940.[5]

Returning to Lexington, Tennessee in Henderson County, Sims resumed the practice of law for a few years. He retired from active business pursuits in 1930 shortly after the beginning of the Great Depression and returned to Washington, D.C..


Sims died on December 17, 1939(1939-12-17) (aged 87) In Washington, D.C. He is interred at Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C.[6] He was the father-in-law of politician Louis Brownlow.


  1. ^ "Thetus W. Sims". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Thetus W. Sims". Sims - 1965 edition. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Thetus W. Sims". Govtrack US Congress. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  4. ^ "Representative Thetus Sims of Tennessee". US House of Representatives. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  5. ^ Grieveson, Lee (2004). Policing Cinema: Movies and Censorship in Early-Twentieth-Century America. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520239661.
  6. ^ "Thetus W. Sims". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 29 April 2013.

External linksEdit