FOWLER, Joseph Smith (1820-1902)

FOWLER, JOSEPH SMITH, a Senator from Tennessee; born in Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio, August 31, 1820; attended the common schools and Grove Academy, Steubenville, Ohio; graduated from Franklin College, New Athens, Ohio, in 1843; taught school in Shelby County, Ky., in 1844; professor of mathematics at Franklin College, Davidson County, Tenn., 1845-1849; studied law in Bowling Green, Ky.; admitted to the bar and practiced in Tennessee until 1861; president of Howard Female College, Gallatin, Tenn., 1856-1861; comptroller of Tennessee 1862-1865; active in the reconstruction of the State government; upon the readmission of the State of Tennessee to representation was elected as a Unionist to the United States Senate and served from July 24, 1866, to March 3, 1871; was not a candidate for reelection; chairman, Committee on Engrossed Bills (Fortieth Congress); engaged in the practice of law in Washington, D.C., until his death there on April 1, 1902; interment in Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Ky.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: 1865-1903. 300 items. Correspondence, biographical file, memorandum file, writings, and clippings. Available on 1 microfilm reel. Finding aid.

Tennessee Historical Society
Nashville, TN
Papers: A few miscellaneous letters.

Tennessee State Library and Archives
Nashville, TN
Papers: 1809-1902. Ca. 100 items. Chiefly correspondence regarding settlements of Fowler's estate; together with personal correspondence, speeches, genealogical material on the Embry and Fowler families, legal records, newspaper clippings, and other papers. Finding aid.

University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA
Papers: In Shankland family papers, ca. 1889-1894. Diaries and biographical data.

University of North Carolina
Southern Historical Collection
Chapel Hill, NC
Papers: 1863-1902. 135 items. Correspondence (chiefly 1864-1874) including letters between Fowler and Alvan Cullem Gillem, Union general and commander of 4th Military District during Reconstruction, letters relating to the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, letters from constituents, and 2 scrapbooks.

  • Durham, Walter T. "How Say You, Senator Fowler?'' Tennessee History Quarterly 42 (Spring 1983): 39-57.
  • McKellar, Kenneth. "Joseph Smith Fowler," in Tennessee Senators as seen by one of their Successors. Kingsport, Tenn.: Southern Publishers, Inc., 1942, 325-329.
  • Roske, Ralph J. "The Seven Martyrs?'' American Historical Review 64 (January 1959): 323-30.