Henry Tazewell

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Henry Tazewell
HENRY TAZEWELL (1753-1799).jpg
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
In office
February 20, 1795 – December 8, 1795
Preceded byRalph Izard
Succeeded bySamuel Livermore
United States Senator
from Virginia
In office
December 29, 1794 – January 24, 1799
Preceded byJohn Taylor
Succeeded byWilson C. Nicholas
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from Williamsburg City
In office
October 21, 1782 – March 31, 1785
In office
October 4, 1779 – October 1, 1781
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from Brunswick County
In office
October 7, 1776 – October 4, 1779
Member of the Virginia House of Burgesses
from Brunswick County
In office
June 1, 1775 – May 6, 1776
Personal details
Born(1753-11-27)November 27, 1753
Brunswick County, Virginia, British America
DiedJanuary 24, 1799(1799-01-24) (aged 45)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyAnti-Administration
Spouse(s)Dorothea Elizabeth Waller Tazewell
ChildrenLittleton Waller Tazewell
Sophia Ann Tazewell
Alma materThe College of William & Mary
OccupationLawyer, Politician, Judge

Henry Tazewell (November 27, 1753 – January 24, 1799) was an American politician who was instrumental in the early government of Virginia, and a US senator from Virginia.

Early life[edit]

Born in Brunswick County, Virginia, Tazewell was the son of Littleton and Mary Gray Tazewell. He attended the rural schools and graduated from the College of William and Mary at Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1770.

He married Dorothea Elizabeth Waller on January 13, 1774, who were the parents of Littleton Waller Tazewell,[1] who became a senator and governor of Virginia, and a daughter, Sophia Ann.


Tazewell studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1773, and began his practice. During the American Revolutionary War, he raised and was commissioned captain of a troop of cavalry.[2]

A member of the House of Burgesses in 1775, Tazewell was also a delegate to the Fourth Virginia Convention of 1775 and the Fifth Virginia Convention of 1776, which wrote the state constitution. From 1778 to 1785, he was a member of the Virginia General Assembly.

In 1785, Tazewell became a judge of the Virginia General Court. Elevated to its chief justice, he served from 1789 to 1793.[2] He also served as a judge on the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, later renamed the Virginia Supreme Court, in 1793.

In 1794, Tazewell was elected to the US Senate to fill the vacancy that had been caused by the resignation of John Taylor. Re-elected in 1798, he served from December 29, 1794 to his death. He served as the president pro tempore of the Senate in 1795.


Tazewell died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 24, 1799 and is interred at Christ Church Burial Ground.

Tazewell County, Virginia;[3] Tazewell, Virginia; Tazewell, Tennessee; and possibly Tazewell County, Illinois are named after him.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Henry Tazewell". Geni.com. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Henry Tazewell". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  3. ^ "Henry Tazewell". Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Retrieved 8 November 2013.

External links[edit]

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
John Taylor
U.S. senator (Class 2) from Virginia
Served alongside: Stevens T. Mason
Succeeded by
Wilson C. Nicholas
Political offices
Preceded by
Ralph Izard
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
Succeeded by
Samuel Livermore