Dixon Hall Lewis

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Dixon Hall Lewis
DixonHallLewis.jpg
United States Senator
from Alabama
In office
April 22, 1844 – October 25, 1848
Preceded by William R. King
Succeeded by Benjamin Fitzpatrick
Personal details
Born (1802-08-10)August 10, 1802
Dinwiddie County, Virginia
Died October 25, 1848(1848-10-25) (aged 46)
New York, New York
Political party Democratic
Alma mater South Carolina College

Dixon Hall Lewis (August 10, 1802 – October 25, 1848) was an American politician who served as a Representative and a Senator from Alabama.

Life and career[edit]

Lewis was born on Bothwick plantation, Dinwiddie County, Virginia, and moved to Hancock County, Georgia, with his parents in 1806. He graduated from Mount Zion Academy and from South Carolina College at Columbia in 1820. He moved to Autauga County, Alabama, the same year, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1823. That same year he constructed a house ("Old Homestead") in the town of Lowndesboro, Alabama, twenty miles west of the state capitol in Montgomery. He began to practice law in Montgomery and was elected a member of the Alabama House of Representatives in 1826, serving until 1828. He was elected as a States Rights Democrat to the twenty-first and to the seven succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1829, to April 22, 1844, when he resigned the House to join the Senate. He served as chairman of the United States House Committee on Indian Affairs from 1831 to 1835.

Dixon H. Lewis's house in Lowndesboro, Alabama, 1935

In 1844 Lewis was appointed by his brother-in-law Governor Benjamin Fitzpatrick to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William R. King in 1844. He was reelected as the Democratic candidate in 1847 and served from April 22, 1844, until his death in New York City on October 25, 1848. In the Senate he served as chairman of the Finance Committee from 1845 to 1847.

A strikingly obese figure, Lewis was known to weigh as much as 500 pounds (227 kg), making him the heaviest member of Congress ever. A specially-constructed seat was provided in the Senate chambers for him, and his carriage was fitted with unusually heavy suspension springs. According to the WPA Federal Writers' Project publication Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South, a popular witticism among Lewis's colleagues was the observation that Alabama had the largest representation of any state.

References[edit]

  • Alabama State Planning Commission. (1941) Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South. American Guide Series. Compiled by Workers of the Writer's Project of the Works Projects Administration in the State of Alabama.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
George Washington Owen
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 3rd congressional district

March 4, 1829 – March 3, 1833
Succeeded by
Samuel Wright Mardis
Preceded by
(none)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 4th congressional district

March 4, 1833 – March 3, 1841
Succeeded by
William Winter Payne
Preceded by
George Whitfield Crabb
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 3rd congressional district

March 4, 1841 – March 3, 1844
Succeeded by
William Lowndes Yancey
United States Senate
Preceded by
William R. King
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Alabama
April 22, 1844 – October 25, 1848
Served alongside: Arthur P. Bagby and William R. King
Succeeded by
Benjamin Fitzpatrick
Political offices
Preceded by
John C. Calhoun
South Carolina
Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance
1846–1847
Succeeded by
Charles Atherton
New Hampshire