Back to former Virginia governors
Littleton Waller Tazewell

Gov. Littleton Waller Tazewell

  • March 31, 1834 - April 30, 1836
  • Whig
  • December 17, 1774
  • May 6, 1860
  • Virginia
  • College of William and Mary
  • Married Anne Stratton; nine children
  • Resigned
  • Representative, Senator


LITTLETON WALLER TAZEWELL was born in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was awarded a bachelor of arts degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg in 1791, after which he studied law. He was elected to three consecutive terms in the Virginia House of Delegates, serving from 1798 to 1800. He was subsequently elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Marshall, serving from 1800 to 1801. He went on to serve two more terms in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1804 to 1806, and an additional term from 1816 to 1817. He declined appointment as Minister to Great Britain but was elected to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of John Taylor, serving from 1824 to 1832. He was elected by the state legislature to serve as governor two years later, and his administration was marked by Virginia’s receipt of $400,000 as payment for Revolutionary War claims, as well as by pressure to abolish slavery–an institution that Tazewell condemned. After resigning from office, Tazewell retired to private life.


Garraty, John A. and Carnes, Mark C., eds. American National Biography, Vol. 21. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Library of Virginia. Littleton Waller Tazwell. Letters, 1799. Accession 40927. Personal Papers Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA 23219.

Library of Virginia, Virginia Governor, Executive Papers (1834-1836: Tazewell). Accession 42998. State Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA 23219.

Library of Virginia. Tazwell Family. Papers, 1623-1930. Accession 24194. Personal Papers Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA 23219.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 5. New York: James T. White & Company.

Malone, Dumas, eds. Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. XVIII. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1943.

Peterson, Norma Lois. Littleton Waller Tazewell. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, c1983.

Sawyers, Timothy R. The Public Career of Littleton Waller Tazewell, 1824-1836. Doctoral thesis submitted to Miami University, 1972. Ann Arbor: UNI, 2000 (photocopy).

Smith, Margaret Vowell. Virginia, 1492-1892: A History of the Executives. Washington, D.C.: W. H. Lowdermilk & Co., 1893.

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

Tazewell, C.W. Jr., ed.. Governor L. W. Tazewell and the Founding of the University of Virginia. Virginia Beach, VA: C.W. Tazewell, 1983.

Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Vol. II. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1998.

Virginia Biographical Dictionary, Vol, 2. St. Clair Shores, MI: Somerset Publishers, Inc.

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress


Recent Virginia Governors