William L. Frierson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
William L. Frierson
William L. Frierson DOJ photo.jpg
16th United States Solicitor General
In office
June 1, 1920 – June 30, 1921[1]
PresidentWoodrow Wilson
Preceded byAlexander C. King
Succeeded byJames M. Beck
Personal details
Born(1868-09-03)September 3, 1868
Shelbyville, Tennessee
DiedMay 25, 1953(1953-05-25) (aged 84)
Columbia, Tennessee
Alma materSouthern Presbyterian University
Southwestern Law School

William Little Frierson (September 3, 1868 – May 25, 1953) was an American lawyer, judge, and politician. During his career he served as the United States Solicitor General (1920–1921), United States Assistant Attorney General (1917–1920), and mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee (1905–1907).


Frierson was born on September 3, 1868, in Shelbyville, Tennessee to Robert Payne and Mary (Little) Frierson. He graduated in 1887 from Southern Presbyterian University in Clarksville, Tennessee. In 1929, Frierson received an honorary law degree from Southwestern Law School in Memphis, Tennessee. He began practicing law in his hometown of Shelbyville in 1889. The following year he moved to Chattanooga, where he worked in various law firms until 1917.

Frierson held a variety of local government positions before being appointed United States Solicitor General. In 1905, Frierson was elected mayor of Chattanooga and held that position until 1907. He served as city attorney from 1912-1915. Subsequently, Frierson was named a special justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1916. In 1917, Frierson was appointed United States Assistant Attorney General, a position he held until 1920. During his time as Assistant Attorney General, he was involved in the Hughes Aircraft Investigation, where he questioned witnesses to the production and inspection of timber for American aircraft. In June 1920, President Woodrow Wilson nominated and the Senate confirmed Frierson to be solicitor general. As SG, Frierson made persuasive arguments upholding the National Prohibition Act of 1919, which enforced the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution dealing with the prohibition of alcohol. When the question arose regarding the sale and possession of alcohol by Americans on ships, the Supreme Court agreed with his argument that no liquor could be sold on any U.S. flagged vessels.

After serving as solicitor general, Frierson returned to Chattanooga to be a member of the Williams & Frierson law firm. From 1922-1923, he served as president of the Tennessee State Bar Association. William married Margaret (Daniel) on April 20, 1892, with whom he had three children: Margaret Williamson, Robert Payne, and Sue Lawwill. On May 25, 1953, Frierson died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 84.


  1. ^ Jost, Kenneth (1993). The Supreme Court A to Z. CQ Press. p. 428. ISBN 9781608717446.

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Office of the Solicitor General.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Alexander C. King
Solicitor General
Succeeded by
James M. Beck