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Governor William Trousdale

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Office Dates:  Oct 16, 1849 - Oct 16, 1851

Born:  Sep 23, 1790

Passed:  Mar 27, 1872

Birth State:  North Carolina

Party:  Democrat

Family:  Married Mary Ann Bugg; seven children

National Office(s) Served:  Ambassador

Military Service:  Army

WILLIAM TROUSDALE was born in Orange County, North Carolina, and moved with his family to Tennessee at the age of six. He attended common schools, was privately tutored, and studied law, becoming a member of the Bar in 1820. Trousdale came to be known as the "War Horse of Sumner County" for his distinguished military service. In the Creek War of 1813 he rose to the rank of Lieutenant. He then went on to serve with General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Talledega and demonstrated gallantry at the Battle of New Orleans. At the outbreak of the Seminole War, he was elected Colonel of a regiment of mounted men. And he served with distinction in the Mexican War. He served in the Tennessee Senate in 1835 and 1836, after which he waged three unsuccessful campaigns for Congress before making a successful bid for governor. His two years as governor were marked by intense rivalry between Whigs and Democrats, and he was in fact defeated for reelection by the Whig candidate against whom he had campaigned for a seat in Congress. Two years later President Franklin Pierce appointed him Minister to Brazil, a job that he took in part with the hope that the Brazilian climate there would prove beneficial to his health, which had deteriorated due to rheumatism. Eventually his illness forced his retirement, and he died at his home in Gallatin. Trousdale County is named in his honor.


The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 7. New York: James T. White & Company.

Past Governors of Tennessee

Philips, Margaret I. The Governors of Tennessee. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, 2001.

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

White, Robert H. Messages of the Governors of Tennessee, 1845-1857. Nashville: The Tennessee Historical Commission, Vol. 4, 1952.