Robert Weakley

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Robert Weakley
Portrait of Weakley by Washington B. Cooper
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1809 – March 3, 1811
Preceded byGeorge W. Campbell
Succeeded byJohn Sevier
Member of the Tennessee Senate
In office
Personal details
Born(1764-07-20)July 20, 1764
Halifax County, Virginia Colony, British America
DiedFebruary 4, 1845(1845-02-04) (aged 80)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Resting placeMount Olivet Cemrtery
Nashville, Tennessee
Spouse(s)Jane Locke Weakly
ChildrenMary, Narcissa, Robert Locke, Jane Baird
Professionfarmer, surveyor

Robert Weakley (July 20, 1764 – February 4, 1845) was an American politician who represented Tennessee in the United States House of Representatives from 1809 to 1811.

Early life[edit]

Weakley was born in Halifax County in the Colony of Virginia on July 20, 1764, and he attended schools in Princeton, New Jersey. He married Jane Locke, of Salisbury, North Carolina, in 1791. They had four children, Mary, Narcissa, Robert Locke and Jane Baird.[1]


Weakley joined the Revolutionary Army at the age of sixteen and served until the close of the American Revolutionary War, fighting in the battles of Alamance and Guilford Courthouse.[2]

On April 18, 1782, Weakley left his home in Halifax County with a horse, bridle and saddle, and $1.75. He went to Rowan County, North Carolina to study surveying with General Griffith Rutherford. During the winter of 1783, he moved to the Cumberland settlements, and set up residence on Whites Creek in Davidson County. He moved to his estate in Nashville, "Lockeland", in 1800.

Weakley was also a co-founder of the town of Jefferson in Rutherford County, Tennessee. He and Thomas Bedford, a fellow land speculator, were granted as assignees a North Carolina land grant and had laid out 102 town lots and a Public Square by 1803, at the junction of the East and West Forks of the Stones River. The town of Jefferson was the first county seat of government for Rutherford County, and contributed immensely to the early economic development of the area during the first decade after its formation. The Stones River provided for direct access for goods and commodities such as timber and other cash crops to be shipped by flat boat to the Cumberland River and Nashville and thereby to far away ports such as New Orleans, Pittsburg, and beyond.[3]

In 1819, Weakley, along with several other notable early Nashville residents such as Dr. John Shelby, petitioned the Tennessee Assembly for permission to establish the Nashville Bridge Company. Weakley and Shelby subsequently served as commissioners for the newly formed company. By 1823, the Nashville Bridge Company's first bridge project, which was also the first covered bridge to span the Cumberland River, was completed near the Public Square in Nashville at a cost of $75,000. This bridge was demolished in 1851 to allow for larger and taller steamboats to access the commercial wharfs at Nashville.[4]

In 1785, Weakley moved to the part of North Carolina that later became Tennessee and engaged in agricultural pursuits. He was a member of the North Carolina convention that ratified the Constitution of the United States in 1789. In 1791, he was the Brigade Inspector of the militia of Mero District, in what was then the Southwest Territory. In 1796 he was elected to the first Tennessee House of Representatives. In 1798, he was a Colonel of the 2nd Regiment of the Davidson County Militia. He served as Senator in the Tennessee Senate in 1799, 1803, 1807 and 1819.

Weakley was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the Eleventh Congress, which lasted from March 4, 1809 to March 3, 1811.[5]

In 1819, Weakley was appointed commissioner to treat with the Chickasaw Indians. He served as Speaker of the Tennessee Senate from 1819 to 1821 and from 1823 to 1825. He was a member of the state constitutional convention in 1834.[6]

Death and legacy[edit]

Weakley died near Nashville, Tennessee on February 4, 1845 (age 80 years, 199 days). He was interred in the family vault at "Lockeland," on his estate currently in the suburb of East Nashville. He was reinterred at Nashville's Mount Olivet Cemetery in 1947. Weakley County, Tennessee is named for him.[7]


  1. ^ "Robert Weakley". Internet Archive. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  2. ^ Vaughan, Virginia; Charles Wann Crawford (1983). Weakley County. Memphis, TN: Memphis State University Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-87870-188-9.
  3. ^ Rutherford County Historical Society, Publication No. 17, "Robert Weakley", Summer 1981. Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
  4. ^ [1]. Accessed 6/23/13.
  5. ^ "Robert Weakley". Govtrack US Congress. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  6. ^ "Robert Weakley". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  7. ^ Tennessee Blue Book (PDF). 2007–2008. Nashville, TN: Tennessee Department of State. 2007. p. 513.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George W. Campbell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
John Sevier