Charles Tait

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For the Australian film director, see Charles Tait (film director).
Charles Tait
United States Senator
from Georgia
In office
November 27, 1809 – March 4, 1819
Preceded by John Milledge
Succeeded by John Elliott
Personal details
Born (1768-02-01)February 1, 1768
Hanover, Virginia
Died October 7, 1835(1835-10-07) (aged 67)
Monroe County, Alabama
Political party Democratic-Republican

Charles Tait (February 1, 1768 – October 7, 1835) was an American politician. A Democratic Republican, he served as a United States Senator from Georgia and later as a United States federal judge.

Early life[edit]

Born near Hanover, Virginia, Charles Tait moved to Georgia in 1783 with his parents, who settled near Petersburg, where he completed preparatory studies. Tait attended Wilkes Academy, Washington, Georgia in 1786 and 1787 and Cokesbury College in Abingdon, Maryland in 1788.

Academic and Legal Career[edit]

Tait was a professor of French in Cokesburg College from 1789 to 1794, while he also read law and was admitted to the Georgia bar in 1795. He was a rector and professor at Richmond Academy, Augusta, Georgia from 1795 to 1798, when he commenced the practice of law in Elbert County. He was presiding judge of the western circuit court of Georgia from 1803 to 1809.

Political career[edit]

He was elected as a Democratic Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Milledge, and was reelected in 1813, serving from November 27, 1809 to March 3, 1819. During the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Congress he was chairman on the Committee on Naval Affairs. After serving in the Senate, he moved to Wilcox County, Alabama in 1819.

On May 10, 1820, Tait was nominated by President James Monroe to a new seat on the United States District Court for the District of Alabama, created by 3 Stat. 564. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 13, 1820, and received his commission the same day. On March 10, 1824, the District was subdivided, and Tait was reassigned by operation of law to the newly created Northern District and Southern District of Alabama. Tait continued in service as the sole federal judge assigned to both districts until his resignation on February 1, 1826.

Tait then lived as a planter at what is now called the Dellet House in Claiborne, Alabama. He declined a mission to Great Britain in 1828. In 1833-34, Tait hosted Timothy Abbott Conrad, a paleontologist from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, at his home in order to encourage the young man's explorations of Alabama fossils. Conrad described dozens of species of fossil mollusks from Claiborne Bluff alone, making it a popular destination among paleontologists.

Charles Tait died near Claiborne on October 7, 1835 and was interred in Dry Forks Cemetery on his country estate in Wilcox County, Alabama.


United States Senate
Preceded by
John Milledge
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Georgia
Served alongside: William H. Crawford, William B. Bulloch, William Wyatt Bibb, George M. Troup, John Forsyth
Succeeded by
John Elliott