Henry Tazewell

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Henry Tazewell
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
DiedJanuary 24, 1799(1799-01-24) (aged 45)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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 the U.S. state of Virginia, and a United States Senator from Virginia.


Born in Brunswick County, Virginia, Tazewell was the son of Littleton and Mary Gray Tazewell. He attended the rural schools, then graduated from the College of William and Mary at Williamsburg, Virginia in 1770. He married Dorothea Elizabeth Waller on January 13, 1774. The couple were the parents of Littleton Waller Tazewell,[1] who became senator and governor of Virginia; and a daughter, Sophia Ann.


Tazewell studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1773, and began his practice. During the 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 delegate to the Fourth Virginia Convention of 1775 and the Fifth Virginia Convention of 1776 that wrote the state constitution. From 1778 to 1785 he was a member of General Assembly.

In 1785, Tazewell became judge of the Virginia General Court, and was elevated to Chief Justice of that court, serving in that capacity 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 into the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Taylor. Reelected in 1798, he served from December 29, 1794, until his death. He served as the President pro tempore of the United States 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