Richard Boone Cheatham

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Richard Boone Cheatham (December 8, 1824 – May 7, 1877) was the mayor of Nashville, Tennessee during the opening years of the Civil War.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Cheatham was born in Springfield, Tennessee. His father, Richard Cheatham, was a Whig politician who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1836.

Politics[edit]

He was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1859 and resigned the following year to become Mayor of Nashville.

Less than a year after the outbreak of the Civil War and Tennessee secession from the Union, the Union army, under General Ulysses S. Grant captured Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River on February 16, 1862. This left Nashville almost indefensible. As the Union troops approached Nashville, panic erupted in the city. Cheatham urged the citizens to be calm and not to burn the city. On February 25, Union troops marched into Nashville and Cheatham along with ten other prominent citizens officially surrendered Nashville to Union General Don Carlos Buell.

Later, military governor (and future president of the United States) Andrew Johnson had Cheatham arrested for refusing to take an oath of loyalty to the U.S. Constitution. Johnson had Unionist John Hugh Smith replace Cheatham as mayor.

After the war, Cheatham was elected back to the Tennessee House of Representatives and served one term from 1869 until 1871.

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Frances Ann Bugg. He died six years later and was buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville. His two brothers, Edward Saunders Cheatham (1818-1878) and Boyd M. Cheatham, also served in the Tennessee state legislature. One of his daughters, Katherine "Kitty" Cheatham (born in 1864), grew to become a famous children's musician. His cousin was Major General Benjamin Franklin Cheatham.

Political offices
Preceded by
Samuel N. Hollingsworth
Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee
1860-1862
Succeeded by
John Hugh Smith

References[edit]

  • Zimmerman, Mark (2004). Guide to Civil War Nashville. Nashville: Battle of Nashville Preservation Society. ISBN 0-9747236-0-6.