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William Wirt Courtney (September 7, 1889 – April 6, 1961) was an American politician and a U.S. Representative from Tennessee.

William Wirt Courtney
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 7th district
In office
January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1949
Preceded byHerron C. Pearson
Succeeded byJames P. Sutton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 6th district
In office
May 11, 1939 – January 3, 1943
Preceded byClarence W. Turner
Succeeded byJ. Percy Priest
Personal details
BornSeptember 7, 1889 (1889-09-07)
Franklin, Tennessee
DiedApril 6, 1961 (1961-04-07) (aged 71)
Franklin, Tennessee
Citizenship United States
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Currey L. Taylor Courtney
Alma materSorbonne, Paris, France


Military service
AllegianceUnited States United States of America
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
RankFirst lieutenant
Unit117th Infantry, 13th Division
Battles/warsWorld War I


Born in Franklin, Tennessee, Courtney was the son of Wirt Courtney and Anne (Neely) Courtney. He graduated from Battle Ground Academy, Franklin, Tennessee, in 1907. He attended Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and the Faculté de Droit of the Sorbonne, Paris, France. He studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1911. He commenced practice in Franklin, Tennessee.


After serving as City Judge from 1915 to 1917, Courtney enlisted in the United States Army as a private in the One Hundred and Seventeenth Infantry, Thirtieth Division, in September 1917, and was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant in June 1919. He resumed the practice of law in Franklin, Tennessee. He married Currey L. Taylor on December 31, 1919, and they had four children.[1]

Courtney served as adjutant general of Tennessee in 1932, and as a member of the Tennessee National Guard in 1933 with rank of brigadier general. From 1933 to 1939, he served as circuit judge and chancellor of the Seventeenth judicial circuit of Tennessee.[2]

Elected as a Democrat to the Seventy-sixth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Clarence W. Turner, Courtney was reelected to the Seventy-seventh and to the three succeeding Congresses. He served from May 11, 1939, to January 3, 1949.[3] A confidential 1943 analysis of the House Foreign Affairs Committee by Isaiah Berlin for the British Foreign Office described Eaton as "Typical of the southern Democratic vote of complete support for the Administration's foreign policies."[4] He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1948, and resumed the practice of law.


Courtney died in Franklin, Tennessee, on April 6, 1961, (age 71 years, 211 days). He is interred at Mount Hope Cemetery.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "W. Wirt Courtney". Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  2. ^ "W. Wirt Courtney". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  3. ^ "W. Wirt Courtney". Govtrack US Congress. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  4. ^ Hachey, Thomas E. (Winter 1973–1974). "American Profiles on Capitol Hill: A Confidential Study for the British Foreign Office in 1943" (PDF). Wisconsin Magazine of History. 57 (2): 141–153. JSTOR 4634869. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-21.
  5. ^ "W. Wirt Courtney". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 9 May 2013.

External linksEdit