Alexander O. Anderson

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Alexander Outlaw Anderson
Alexander O. Anderson (1794 – 1869).jpg
United States Senator
from Tennessee
In office
February 26, 1840 – March 3, 1841
Preceded by Hugh Lawson White
Succeeded by Spencer Jarnagin
Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court
In office
April 6, 1852 – November 2, 1852
Appointed by Governor John Bigler
Preceded by Henry A. Lyons
Succeeded by Alexander Wells
Personal details
Born (1794-11-10)November 10, 1794
Jefferson County, Tennessee (now Hamblen County, Tennessee)
Died May 23, 1869(1869-05-23) (aged 74)
Knoxville, Tennessee
Political party Democratic
Profession Politician, Lawyer, Judge

Alexander Outlaw Anderson (November 10, 1794 – May 23, 1869) was an American attorney who represented Tennessee in the United States Senate, and later served in the California State Senate, and on the California Supreme Court.


The son of longtime U.S. Senator Joseph Anderson, he was born at his father's home, "Soldier's Rest", in Jefferson County (now Hamblen County),[1] Tennessee. He was named for his grandfather, frontiersman Alexander Outlaw (1738–1826).

As a youth he graduated from Washington College near Greeneville, Tennessee. He volunteered for service in the War of 1812 and fought under Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Later that year he was admitted to the bar and began a practice in Dandridge, Tennessee. Afterwards he moved to Knoxville, and then served as the superintendent of the United States Land Office in Alabama in 1836. He was an agent in the Indian removals of 1838 for Alabama and Florida.

He was elected to the United States Senate by the Tennessee General Assembly to the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Hugh Lawson White, a member of the Whig party whose resignation was orchestrated by Governor James K. Polk so that a Democratic senator could be appointed.[2] Anderson served in that body from February 26, 1840, to March 3, 1841, when the term expired. Anderson did not stand for reelection to the seat; it was to remain vacant for a period when a group of Tennessee Democratic legislators called the "Immortal Thirteen" refused to meet and give a quorum sufficient to allow the election of a successor, apparently preferring no representation to that by a member of the other party, the Whigs.

Anderson was a leader of an overland company going to California in 1849. He served in the California State Senate in 1850 and 1851, and then was appointed by Governor John Bigler as an associate justice on the California Supreme Court, serving from April 6, 1852 to November 2, 1852, before returning to Tennessee. He later practiced law in Washington, D.C., appearing before both the Court of Claims and the Supreme Court of the United States. During the American Civil War he returned to Alabama, practicing law in Mobile and Camden. Again returning to Tennessee, he died in Knoxville on May 23, 1869, and is buried in the Old Gray Cemetery.


  1. ^ Historic American Buildings Survey. "Historical and Descriptive Data" (PDF). Rural Mount, Hamblen County, TN. U.S. Dept. of the Interior. Retrieved May 13, 2011. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Borneman, Walter R. (2008). Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America. New York: Random House, Inc. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-4000-6560-8. 

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See also[edit]

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Hugh L. White
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Tennessee
February 26, 1840 – March 3, 1841
Served alongside: Felix Grundy and Alfred O. P. Nicholson
Succeeded by
Spencer Jarnagin
Legal offices
Preceded by
Henry A. Lyons
Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court
April 6, 1852–November 2, 1852
Succeeded by
Alexander Wells