"Tennessee Trails" through Bedford County

Bedford County TN Biographies


The legal profession of Bedford county numbers among its representative members William Henry Crowell, who is engaged in active practice in Shelbyville. He was born in Cannon county on the

1st of March, 1876,(** SEE NOTE BELOW) a son of Hiram Brittain and Margaret Emily (Cook) Crowell. On the paternal side he is of Dutch and Indian descent. His grandmother, Levina Pressgroves, was a direct descendant of Pocahontas. Hiram B. Crowell was for forty years a minister in the Methodist Episcopal church. He was active in that connection at the time of his demise. On the maternal side William Henry Crowell is of English descent. His mother was born in Tennessee, a daughter of Emily Cook, who was born in England. He came to this country at an early date and served in the Continental army in the Revolutionary war. His death occurred at the battle of New Orleans. Both the Crowell and Cook families were among the pioncer settlers of Bedford county. In the acquirement of his early education William Henry Crowell attended the public schools of Bedford county and subsequently enrolled in the University of Tennessee. He studied law at that institution and was graduated in 1896, with the LL. B. degree. After graduation he entered the active practice of law in Shelbyville and in a profession where advancement depends upon individual merit, he has won substantial success. Gradually he extended his legal operations to several adjoining states and he served as special judge for a short time.

In 1910 he was appointed United States commissioner under Judge Sanford and he is still holding that office. On the 23d of January, 1922, he was admitted to practice before the United States supreme court at Washington, D. C. He was a highly endorsed candidate for appointment as United States district attorney, for the middle district of Tennessee, being endorsed by the courts and the bar of the state. He has always been a stanch republican and active in party affairs. He was elector for the fifth congressional district and was a delegate to the national republican convention when McKinley was nominated for president. Mr. Crowell has achieved success in legal and political circles because he is a great fighter, a man of great courage, constant study and of real devotion to duty. On the 6th of May, 1902, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Crowell and Miss Mamye Lou Cunningham of Wartrace. To their union two children have been born: James B., nineteen years of age; and Margaret, thirteen. Fraternally Mr. Crowell is identified with Lodge No. 1021, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and he is an active member of the Lions Club. His religious faith is that of the Presbyterian church and he was a delegate to the seventh international Sunday school convention at Zurich, Switzerland. He had the honor of a private audience with Pope Leo in 1913. During the World war Mr. Crowell gave generously of his time and money in the furtherance of the government's interests, and was actively connected with the draft.
From "Tennessee the Volunteer State" Volume 3
** Family research has determined the date of birth to be 1 March 1874 from the book "Turrentine Family".

Joyce Hodges has also found his WW I Draft registration that supports the 1874 birth year.

** See Another Bio: lawyer; born Hollow Springs, Tenn., March 1, 1874; German and English descent; son of _____ Crowell and Margarette (Cook) Crowell; father’s occupation minister of the gospel; graduated from University of Tenn. LL.B. degree 1895; in early life was merchant and farmer; married Mayme Lou Cunningham May 2, 1902; member B.P.O.E. Lodge No. 1029, Murfreesboro, Tenn.; former postmaster, Elector for 5th Congressional District and delegate to Republican National Convention at Philadelphia, Pa. 1900; member of United Brethren church and elected lay delegate to general conference of that church at Dayton, Ohio 1910; actively engaged in the practice of law, Shelbyville, Tenn.
Source: Who’s Who in Tennessee, Memphis: Paul & Douglass Co., Publishers, 1911; transcribed by Kim Mohler

See Biography of his brother - Ernest Wendell Crowell

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