ALFRED ALEXANDER TAYLOR was born in Happy Valley, Tennessee. After attending Buffalo Institute (Milligan College), he studied law and practiced in Jonesboro and later in Johnson City. He served in the Tennessee House of Representatives (1875-1877) and was a presidential elector for three Republican tickets. In 1886 he ran for governor against his brother, Bob, a democrat, in a colorful campaign that came to be known as the “War of the Roses.” When Alfred Taylor lost, he returned to his law practice but was elected to Congress soon after, serving for three terms. He was once again chosen by the Republican Party to run for governor in 1920, this time successfully. During his administration, legislation was enacted creating the office of state tax commissioner, expanding the power of the Railroad and Public Utilities Commission, providing funds to establish Andrew Johnson’s tailor shop in Greeneville as a historic site, and creating the Tennessee Historical Commission to collect and preserve evidence of the state’s history. Taylor was also instrumental in persuading Congress to convert a wartime nitrate plant at Muscle Shoals into a power plant for the Tennessee Valley. He was defeated for reelection in 1922 and retired to his home in Johnson City, where he died.
Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress
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.
Taylor, Jr., Robert K. "Apprenticeship in the First District: Bob and Alfred Taylor's Early Congressional Races," Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Vol. XXVIII (1969:1), pp 24-41.
White, Robert H. Messages of the Governors of Tennessee, 1921-1933. Nashville: The Tennessee Historical Commission, Vol. 10, 1952.
Relation to Another Governor
Brother of Tennessee Governor Robert Love Taylor