Ernest W. Essary was born near the Village of Lone Elm (Chesterfield), eight miles east of Lexington. He had his early educational training in the common schools of the County, after which he entered the Southwestern Baptist (now Union) University at Jackson, where he received his B. A. Degree. He then returned to his native county where he became principal of a school at Lexington. After two years he entered the Cumberland University Law School at Lebanon, Tennessee, receiving his Law Degree there, and was licensed to practice law on May 18, 1896. He then returned to Lexington and formed partnership with S. E. Murray, the style of the firm being "Murray & Essary". This partnership continued for several years after which a partnership was formed with W. H. Denison, the style of the firm being Essary & Denison. This association continued until Denison retired to become Circuit Judge of this Judicial Circuit. In the fall of 1896 he was elected to the Legislature and represented Henderson County two terms. He was then elected Mayor of the Town of Lexington and served one term. In the Presidential Campaign of 1904 Mr. Essary was a Republican Elector from the Eighth Congressional District and in 1908 was sent as a delegate to the National Republican Convention at Chicago from the State at large. From 1910 to 1914 he was State Prison Commissioner. When Hoover was nominated as a Candidate for President, Mr. Essary again represented his District as a Republican Delegate to that Convention at Kansas City, Missouri.

Mr. Essary is the present County Attorney for Henderson County and is engaged in practicing law with his son under the style of "Essary & Essary". Mr. Essary was married to the eldest daughter of Dr. W. T. Watson and from that union he had two children, a son Ernest, W. Jr., who is now a law partner with him, and a daughter, Mary Louise, who intermarried with Elmer O. Scates, now residing in Memphis, Tennessee. His father, Mr. William Essary of Chesterfield, is perhaps the oldest citizen in the County. He was a Union soldier during the Civil War and has since been an influential citizen. He has ever been a friend to the poor and has helped many a man purchase a home. He is yet active, driving or riding his horse when he wishes, and is loved and honored by those who know him.

From Auburn Powers 1930 History of Henderson County TN

Also see Tennessee General Assembly Biographies

Holding the record for the longest law practice in Lexington and Henderson County is Ernest W. Essary, Sr., who started in 1896.

Born near Chesterfield on July 3, 1870, Mr. Essary is the son of the late WIlliam P. and Louisa Essary. He came to Lexington in 1895. He was married Aug. 15, 1901 to the late Alba Watson. Mr. Essary has a son, E.W. Essary Jr., engaged with him in law practice, and a daughter Mrs. Stuart Gayle.

He attended public schools in the county and was graduated from Union Univ. and Cumberland Univ. Mr. Essary was a member of the state legislature from 1896 to 1991, state prison commissioner and member of the board of pardons, and has been mayor and member of the board of aldermen, member of city school board, and county attorney.

He was delegate to the Republican convention which n ominated W.H. Taft and later to the convention which nominated Herbert Hoover.

March 21, 1952 Lexington Progress "People You Know".

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