Who was our last Democrat in the U.S. House?

Hank Hayes • Dec 26, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Who was the last Democrat to hold the Northeast Tennessee seat in the U.S. House of Representatives?

Our research from the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress indicates it was Robert Love Taylor, elected as a Democrat to the 46th Congress (March 4, 1879-March 3, 1881).

Here are seven things to know about him:

1. He was known as “Our Bob.”

2. He was the brother of Republican Alf Taylor, whom he defeated in the famous “War of the Roses” Tennessee gubernatorial campaign in 1886.

3. He was born in Happy Valley in Carter County on July 31, 1850 and attended Pennington Seminary in New Jersey and Buffalo Institute (now Milligan College); he studied law in Jonesborough, was admitted to the bar in 1878 and practiced in Elizabethton and Jonesborough.

4. He was an unsuccessful candidate for re-election in 1880 to the 47th Congress and for election in 1882 to the 48th Congress.

5. He was governor of Tennessee from 1887-1891 and again from 1897-1899.

6. He was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in 1907 and served from March 4, 1907, until his death in Washington, D.C., on March 31, 1912.

7. He was buried in the Old Gray Cemetery in Knoxville and then re-interred in the Monta Vista Cemetery in Johnson City in 1938.

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