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Littleton Waller Tazewell

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Title: Littleton Waller Tazewell  
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Subject: John Floyd (Virginia politician), William Cabell Rives, List of College of William & Mary alumni, John Taylor of Caroline, William Branch Giles
Collection: 1774 Births, 1860 Deaths, College of William & Mary Alumni, Democratic Party (United States) Vice Presidential Nominees, Democratic Party State Governors of the United States, Democratic-Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Democratic-Republican Party United States Senators, Governors of Virginia, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Virginia, People from Williamsburg, Virginia, United States Senators from Virginia, United States Vice-Presidential Candidates, 1840, Virginia Democratic-Republicans, Virginia Democrats, Virginia Lawyers, Virginia Whigs, Whig Party State Governors of the United States
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Littleton Waller Tazewell

Littleton Waller Tazewell
26th Governor of Virginia
In office
March 31, 1834 – April 30, 1836
Preceded by John Floyd
Succeeded by Wyndham Robertson (acting)
29th President pro tempore of the United States Senate
In office
July 9, 1832 – July 16, 1832
Preceded by Samuel Smith
Succeeded by Hugh Lawson White
United States Senator
from Virginia
In office
December 7, 1824 – July 16, 1832
Preceded by John Taylor
Succeeded by William C. Rives
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 13th district
In office
November 26, 1800 – March 3, 1801
Preceded by John Marshall
Succeeded by John Clopton
Personal details
Born (1774-12-17)December 17, 1774
Williamsburg, Virginia
Died May 6, 1860(1860-05-06) (aged 85)
Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic-Republican
Spouse(s) Anne Stratton
Alma mater College of William and Mary
Profession Politician, Lawyer

Littleton Waller Tazewell (December 17, 1774 – May 6, 1860) was a U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator from and the 26th Governor of Virginia.


Tazewell, son of Henry Tazewell, was born in Williamsburg, Virginia, where his grandfather Benjamin Waller was a lawyer, who taught him Latin.[1] Tazewell was privately tutored by John Wickham; he later graduated from the College of William and Mary at Williamsburg in 1791. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1796, and commenced practice in James City County, Virginia. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1798 to 1800. Elected to the Sixth United States Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Marshall, he served from November 26, 1800, to March 4, 1801. Tazewell moved to Norfolk, Virginia in 1802. He held public office again in 1804 in the Virginia General Assembly until 1806. Then again served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1816 to 1817. He was one of the commissioners of claims under the treaty with Spain ceding Florida in 1821.

Tazewell was elected in 1824 to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of John Taylor. Re-elected in 1829, he served from December 7, 1824, to July 16, 1832, when he resigned. While in the Senate, he was President pro tempore of the Senate during the Twenty-second United States Congress and chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. His principal published work is Review of the Negotiations between the United States and Great Britain Respecting the Commerce of the Two Countries (1829) New International Encyclopedia. Tazewell received 11 electoral votes for Vice-President in the election of 1840.

Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Littleton Waller Tazewell, 1825. Library of Congress

Politically, Tazewell was a Jeffersonian Republican, and upon the fissure of that party he associated with the Jacksonian Democrats. Tazewell was elected to the U.S. House in 1800 to complete the term in the Sixth Congress when John Marshall resigned. Tazewell was senator from 1824 to 1832.

Tazewell served as a delegate from Norfolk to the Virginia Constitutional Convention in 1829-1830,[2]

When the Whigs secured majorities in the Virginia Assembly for six years, they first elected the Old Republican as a Whig governor 1834-36, when he resigned a year before the end of his term.[3] Tazewell's governorship was marked by promoting expansion of both the James River canal and the Kanawha Canal. Under his leadership, the Assembly instructed Virginia’s US Senators to support internal improvements, protective tariffs, and a national bank in support of Henry Clay’s American System.[4]

Following his term as Governor of Virginia from 1834 until 1836, Tazewell retired from public life. He died in Norfolk, Virginia, on May 6, 1860. Initially interred on his estate on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, he was re-interred in 1866 at Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk.

Tazewell, Virginia, Tazewell County, Virginia and Tazewell County, Illinois are named in his honor, and in his father's honor, as are the cities of Tazewell and New Tazewell, Tennessee. A plaque in his honor is found at the corner of Tazewell and Granby streets in Norfolk, near the Tazewell Hotel and Suites, where his two-story house was located. His house, known as the Boush-Tazewell House, was completely dismantled and re-erected in its present location about three miles from its original site around 1902.[5] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.[6]

Tazewell was the maternal grandfather of Littleton Waller Tazewell Bradford (1848–1918), a prominent Virginia politician, and a founder of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.


  1. ^ Virginia and Virginians, R. A. Brock, University of Virginia Library
  2. ^ Heinemann, Ronald L.,, "Old Dominion, New Commonwealth: a history of Virginia 1607-2007", 2007, ISBN 978-0-8139-2609-4, p.172.
  3. ^ Salmon, Emily J. and Edward D.C. Campbell, Jr., “The Hornbook of Virginia History”, ISBN 0-88490-177-7, 1994, p.109
  4. ^ Dabney, Virginius. “Virginia: the New Dominion”, ISBN 978-0-8139-1015-4, 1971 p. 219
  5. ^ Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission Staff (January 1974). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Boush-Tazewell House" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historic Resources. 
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  

External links

  • Congressional biography
  • Discourse on the Life and Character of the Hon. Littleton Waller Tazewell Hugh Blair Grigsby, Published by J. D. Ghiselin, Norfolk, 1860
  • A Guide to the Executive Papers of Governor Littleton W. Tazewell, 1834-1836 at The Library of Virginia
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Marshall
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 13th congressional district

November 26, 1800 – March 4, 1801
Succeeded by
John Clopton
United States Senate
Preceded by
John Taylor
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Virginia
December 7, 1824 – July 16, 1832
Served alongside: James Barbour, John Randolph,
John Tyler, Jr.
Succeeded by
William C. Rives
Political offices
Preceded by
Samuel Smith
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
July 9, 1832 – July 16, 1832
Succeeded by
Hugh L. White
Preceded by
John Floyd
Governor of Virginia
March 31, 1834 – April 30, 1836
Succeeded by
Wyndham Robertson
Acting Governor
Party political offices
Preceded by
Richard M. Johnson
William Smith
Democratic vice presidential candidate

Succeeded by
George M. Dallas
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Benjamin Tappan
Oldest living U.S. Senator
April 20, 1857 – May 6, 1860
Succeeded by
William Wilkins
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