John Overton, Sr., (1766 - 1833)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Louisa County, VA
Death: Died in Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee, United States
Managed by: Willis Hickox
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About John Overton, Sr.,

http://www.tn.gov/tsla/history/manuscripts/findingaids/ths409.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Overton_(judge)

JOHN W. OVERTON was secretary to President Andrew Jackson.

John Overton (April 9, 1766 – April 12, 1833) was an advisor of Andrew Jackson, a judge at the Superior Court of Tennessee, a banker and political leader.

Overton was born in Louisa County, Virginia. In 1787 he began his law career and moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1789, to practice law at the Davidson County court. Overton was elected to succeed Andrew Jackson as a member of the Superior Court of Tennessee in 1804, where he served as a judge until 1810. In 1819, Overton founded Memphis, Tennessee on land he owned with Andrew Jackson and James Winchester.

On April 12, 1833, John Overton died at Travellers Rest, his Nashville home. The nearby John Overton Comprehensive High School, located just across railroad tracks that abut the property, is named for him.

JOHN OVERTON

1766-1833

John Overton, trusted friend and advisor to Andrew Jackson, was an early Tennessee lawyer, jurist, banker, and political leader. Born in Louisa County, Virginia, Overton moved to Mercer County in present-day Kentucky in 1787 to begin his law career. He boarded with the family of Lewis Robards and his wife Rachel Donelson Robards, whose subsequent divorce and marriage to Andrew Jackson, Overton defended.

Overton moved to Nashville in March 1789 and began practicing law in the Davidson County court; he was admitted to the bar in April 1790. He lodged with young Jackson, who was in the early stages of his own legal career, and the two frequently worked together to represent certain clients. The personal and professional relationship between the two men expanded into a business partnership in May 1794, when Overton became Jackson's partner in land speculation.

Overton represented Sumner County as a delegate to the 1789 North Carolina convention to ratify the U.S. Constitution. In 1795 he received an appointment from President George Washington as supervisor of revenue for the District of Tennessee, Territory South of the River Ohio. The following June, Washington appointed Overton to the post of district inspector of the revenue.

Between 1803 and 1806 Overton, as agent for the state of Tennessee, negotiated a settlement with North Carolina regarding the latter's right to dispose of land located within the new state. Under the terms of Overton's compromise, Tennessee ceded most of the western third of its territory to the United States, agreed to recognize land warrants that had been issued by North Carolina, and obtained clear title to the remaining land within its bounds.

In August 1804 Overton was elected to succeed Jackson as a member of the Superior Court of Tennessee, the forerunner of the Tennessee Supreme Court. He served on that court until January 1810 and was one of the judges of its successor, the Supreme Court of Errors and Appeals, from November 1811 until his resignation from the bench in 1816.

In collaboration with Judge Thomas Emerson, Overton published the initial two volumes of the Tennessee Reports (1813-17), the first official compilation of published decisions by Tennessee's highest courts. Judge Overton owned a substantial law library (in 1808, his collection contained some 160 volumes) and apparently served as an agent for eastern publishers of law treatises. Cumberland College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1825.

After his resignation, Overton married Mary McConnell (White) May in 1820. He returned to the practice of law and to tutoring prospective new lawyers at his home, Travellers Rest, before turning his attention to his substantial business interests and to promoting Jackson's political career. Reputed to be one of the wealthiest men in Tennessee, Overton had engaged in the slave trade and by 1819 had become leader of the powerful Blount-Overton political/banking organization. As head of the Nashville branch of Knoxville's Bank of the State of Tennessee, Overton and his fellow bankers opposed the resumption of specie payments and the adoption of small-debtor measures that followed the national depression triggered by the Panic of 1819. Their opposition contributed to the landslide election of William Carroll, the anti-bank candidate for governor in 1821, and to the eventual closing of the Blount-Overton banks. As a founder of Memphis (1819) on land he owned with Jackson and General James Winchester, Overton devoted a substantial portion of his later years to promoting the new town's growth and development.

Whenever Jackson's interests were at stake, Overton was on hand to ensure that they were represented and protected, if not promoted. As a young lawyer, he handled legal and business matters for Jackson. In late 1821 or early 1822 Overton helped organize the Nashville Junto, a loose committee of Jackson's closest personal friends, to plan and promote the general's election to the presidency. In 1822 Overton joined with Felix Grundy and mobilized the Blount-Overton faction in the Tennessee General Assembly to nominate Jackson for president. Overton used his personal knowledge of the facts surrounding Jackson's controversial marriage to draft an effective brief defending Jackson against the bitter personal attacks during the 1828 presidential campaign. Overton remained an intimate political advisor to Jackson throughout his first term as president. Although his resistance to Jackson's choice of Martin Van Buren as a running mate in 1832 concerned some of Jackson's other lieutenants, Overton was selected as chairman of the Baltimore convention to renominate the president. Ill health prevented his acceptance of the position.

Though independent and occasionally rebellious when it came to his relations with Jackson, Overton was viewed as a family member, and the two men remained close to the end. According to tradition, Overton's last words were of Jackson.

TRAVELLERS REST

Travellers Rest was the Nashville home of Judge John and Mary Overton and their descendants for 150 years. In 1954 the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in Tennessee rescued the house from threatened demolition by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad after the railroad's Radnor Yards and mid-twentieth-century suburban growth began encroaching on the house and its remaining historic outbuildings. The Colonial Dames initiated the research into Judge Overton and his descendants and began the restoration.

In the late 1790s Overton purchased a Revolutionary War grant from the heirs of David Maxwell and proceeded to build a vernacular Federal style house. As the cellar was being dug in 1798, the workers discovered the remains of a prehistoric Native American village--arrowheads, pottery, animal bones, and human remains. As the first to examine the wealth of buried artifacts, John Overton originally named the house "Golgotha," hill of skulls. From the 1800s to 1996 several teams of professional archaeologists have researched the site and determined that a Mississippian village of two to three hundred people occupied this site between A.D. 1000 and 1400. Unique artifacts from these digs have enhanced scholarship about the Mississippian peoples.

The 1799 house and its 1808, 1828 and post-Civil War additions, plus the historic outbuildings, stand as above ground artifacts, which likewise have been vigorously "read" by historians in an attempt to portray accurately the lives of later inhabitants, both black and white. With snatches of documentation, including the 1833 death inventory of Overton, total restoration of the house to the period of the first Overtons is underway.

Overton was one of the wealthiest and most learned men of his time, and his large plantation thrived. Slave labor built and maintained the buildings and fields of Travellers Rest. The layout of the yard, patterns of movement within the house, remnants of tools, and the very bricks of the structures provide insight not only to the Overton slaves but their white masters as well. In its modern day role as a historic house museum, Travellers Rest and its grounds remain visual texts of the cultural, social, economic, and political history of Tennessee.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Overton_(judge)

Overton (April 9, 1766 – April 12, 1833) was an advisor of Andrew Jackson, a judge at the Superior Court of Tennessee, a banker and political leader.


Overton was born in Louisa County, Virginia. His parents were James Overton and Mary Waller; his father was a great-grandson of Robert Overton, the Parliamentarian military commander during the English Civil War (and friend of Marvell and Milton).


In 1787 he began his law career and moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1789, to practice law at the Davidson County court. Overton was elected to succeed his friend Andrew Jackson as a member of the Superior Court of Tennessee in 1804, where he served as a judge until 1810. His elder brother Thomas Overton served as Jackson's second in his duel with Charles Dickinson. In 1819, Overton founded Memphis, Tennessee on land he owned with Andrew Jackson and James Winchester.


On April 12, 1833, John Overton died at Travellers Rest, his Nashville home. The nearby John Overton Comprehensive High School, located just across railroad tracks that abut the property, is named for him.


Overton was married to Mary McConnell White, the daughter of Knoxville founder, James White.

-------------------- http://www.tn.gov/tsla/history/manuscripts/findingaids/ths4.pdf

1766, April 9 Born in Louisa County, Virginia, son of James and Mary Waller Overton Taught school for several years

1787 Emigrated to Kentucky for purposes of studying law 1789 Moved to Nashville to practice law where he met and became a close friend of Andrew Jackson

1790 Became a supervisor of Federal excise in Southwest Territory 1794 Became a land speculator and with Jackson purchased the rice tract upon which the town of Memphis was founded

1804-1810 Succeeded Jackson upon the bench of the Superior Court of Tennessee 1811-1816 Appointed a member of the Supreme Court of the State to succeed George Campbell which he held for five years 1813-1817 Published two volumes of Tennessee Reports which cover cases tried before the Court from 1791 to 1816 1794-1817 Became recognized authority on all matters relating to land legislation 1821 Joined with William B. Lewis and John H. Eaton to form an informal committee of close personal friends for the advancement of Jackson’s candidacy for the presidency

Married Mary McConnell (White) May, daughter of General James White and sister of Hugh Lawson White

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6009425

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Judge John Overton Sr.'s Timeline

1766
April 9, 1766
Louisa County, VA
1820
July 28, 1820
Age 54
1821
1821
Age 54
Nashville, TN, USA
1823
1823
Age 56
1826
1826
Age 59
1833
April 12, 1833
Age 67
Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee, United States