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Aaron Venable Brown

Gov. Aaron Venable Brown

  • October 14, 1845 - October 17, 1847
  • Democratic
  • July 15, 1795
  • March 8, 1859
  • Virginia
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Married twice--Sarah Woodford Burrus, Cynthia Pillow Saunders; six children
  • Representative


AARON VENABLE BROWN was born in Brunswick County, Virginia. After attending the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, he read law in Nashville and was admitted to the Bar in 1817. He was elected to the Tennessee Senate in 1821 and served all but one term until 1829. In 1831 he was elected to the Tennessee House, and in 1839 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. After resigning from Congress in 1845, he learned while on his way home from Washington, DC that he had been nominated for governor by the Democratic Party. Though a reluctant candidate, he went on to narrowly defeat his Whig opponent. During his gubernatorial administration, several railroads were chartered, improvements were made to state mental and penal institutions, and a number of male and female academies were incorporated. Brown was defeated for reelection to a second term, after which he served as a member of the Southern Convention that met in Nashville and co-authored the “Tennessee Platform,” which opposed the compromise on the slavery question pending in Congress. At the Democratic National Convention in 1856, he received twenty-nine votes as a vice-presidential candidate. He was later appointed Postmaster General under President James Buchanan. He died in Washington, DC and was buried in Nashville.


Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 5. 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.

Relation to Another Governor
  • Great grandson of Tennessee  Governor Harry Hill McAlister

Recent Tennessee Governors