Civics 101: Who was John Isaac Cox?

Hank Hayes • Dec 3, 2018 at 3:12 PM

We’ve devoted a majority of our Civics 101 “lessons” so far to national issues, so let’s mix it up a bit today and consider John Isaac Cox, a Democrat, who is the only known Tennessee governor from Sullivan County. He served from 1905 to 1907.

Cox was born the son of a Confederate soldier in 1857. He studied law and opened a practice in 1885. He served as county judge and as district attorney before being elected to the state House for the 1893-95 term.

In 1900, he was elected to the state Senate. As Senate speaker, Cox became governor when Gov. James Frazier resigned. Cox’ term saw “prison riots and a renewed fight against yellow fever.”

During his term, the official state flag was adopted in 1905. After leaving the governor’s office, Cox served in the state Senate from 1907-1911 and in the state House from 1913-1915.

From 1914-1922, he was Bristol’s postmaster. He died in 1946.

Source: Tennessee Blue Book

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