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  Stewart, A. Tom
NameA. Tom Stewart
Winchester, Tennessee , United States
Born January 11, 1892
DiedOctober 10, 1972 (80 years)
ContributorChase McFadden
Last ModifedChronicler
Sep 12, 2020 07:10am
InfoA(rthur) Thomas Stewart - Tennessee attorney and Democratic US Senator 1939-1949.

Stewart was born in Dunlap, Tennessee. He graduated from the Pryor Institute, a private Methodist college in Jasper, Tennessee (1909). He then entered the University of Tennessee but had to drop out after two months after he contracted malarial fever. After teaching in a rural school in Marion County, Stewart entered Emory College (now Emory University) in Atlanta, Georgia and earned his law degree from Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee (1913). He opened his law practice in Birmingham, Alabama, practicing there 1913-1915 before opening a practice in Jasper, Tennessee (1915-1919). Stewart served as an assistant to Attorney General Ben McKenzie during his final two years in Jasper. In 1919, Stewart moved to Winchester, Tennessee, where he lived until 1949.

District Attorney in Winchester, Tennessee (1923-1939). Stewart rose to prominence when he prosecuted the famous Scopes "Monkey" trial in Dayton. His role was overshadowed by William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow but Stewart was the leading prosecutor for the case. His staff was resposible for preparing the case and the witnesses. Stewart objected to Bryan's appearance as a witness in the trial.

In 1936, Stewart served as campaign manager for Burgin Dossett's unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Tennessee. Gordon Browning, the successful candidate and then Governor, was supported by Boss Crump of Memphis.

US Senate (D-TN) 1939-1949. By the time Stewart decided to run for the Senate in 1938, Boss Crump was in a political argument with Gov. Browning and supported three men (including Stewart) running in the Democratic primaries of 1938. These three men, dubbed the "Three Blind Mice," were all victorious in the primary and then in the general election. In the Senate, Stewart had a generally conservative voting record. He emphasized constituent service and often helped the legislative agenda of Tennessee's other Senator, Kenneth McKellar. Stewart supported farm legislation and opposed Communists.

Stewart was defeated for renomination in 1948. Boss Crump disapproved of Stewart's votes regarding the TVA and recruited John A. Mitchell to challenge him. Stewart considered retiring but once US Rep. Estes Kefauver also entered the race, Stewart thought he had a better chance to win a three-way race. In the end, Kefauver won with 42% to Stewart's 32% and Mitchrell's 24%.

After his defeat in 1948, Stewart practiced law in Nashville. He was a speculative candidate to oppose Kefauver in 1954 but opted to pass on the race. He died of a heart attack in his home in Skyline Apartments on West End Avenue, Nashville and was interred at Winchester Cemetery.

Nashville Tennessean, 10/12/1972


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Importance? 8.00000 Average


  08/04/1948 TN US Senate - D Primary Lost 31.93% (-10.31%)
  11/03/1942 TN US Senate Won 68.88% (+47.36%)
  08/06/1942 TN US Senate - D Primary Won 51.89% (+7.45%)
  11/08/1938 TN US Senate - Special Election Won 70.50% (+44.30%)
  08/04/1938 TN US Senate - Special D Primary Won 49.26% (+20.55%)
TN Governor - D Primary - Aug 06, 1936 D Burgin E. Dossett