Thomas Neal Frazier

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Thomas Neal Frazier

Death: October 25, 1887 (77)
Immediate Family:

Son of Abner Frazier and Mary Frazier
Husband of Margaret Frazier
Father of Gov. James B. Frazier, U.S. Senator

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About Thomas Neal Frazier

Thomas N. Frazier was born on the 24th day of May, 1810, in the county of Greene and State of Tennessee. His paternal grandfather, Samuel Frazier, was of Scotch descent. He married Rebecca Julian, and they emigrated from North Carolina to Greene Co., Tenn., shortly after the close of the Revolutionary war. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention which framed the first constitution for the State of Tennessee.

His eldest son, Abner, came with him, and settled in Greene County, where he married Mary Edmonson, by whom he had five children, to wit: Samuel, Rebecca, Abner, Thomas N., and Beriah. Abner Frazier, Sr., was a farmer of moderate circumstances; he did all his means would permit to educate his children, and succeeded in giving his eldest son, Samuel, who was a cripple, a liberal education, graduating at Washington College, Tennessee. His other children received an ordinary education at the common schools of the county. His two youngest sons, Thomas N. and Beriah, succeeded, by their own exertions, in attending Greenville College for two years, during which time they applied themselves with great assiduity to the study of the sciences and the Latin language.

Thomas N. Frazier, after his short collegiate course, went to Rha Co., Tenn., where he studied the profession of the law with his. brother, Samuel, who was then attorney-general for the Fourth Judicial Circuit of the State of Tennessee. He obtained a license and commenced the practice of his profession in 1836 ; shortly after he was appointed clerk and master of the Chancery Court at Pikeville, Bledsoe Co., Tenn., which office he held for about ten years, in the mean time applying his leisure time to the practice of law in the Circuit Courts of the district where he resided. After this he resigned the office, and applied himself exclusively to the practice of his profession until the breaking out of the late war. He early attached himself to the cause of temperance, and diligently applied himself to the advancement of its principles by precept and example during the whole course of his life. In politics he was an unwavering Whig. When secession began to be publicly advocated, ho espoused the cause of the Union, and resisted the doctrine of secession to the utmost of his ability. When the Legislature of Tennessee ordered an election for members to a convention for the purpose of determining whether the State should secede or not, and also to submit to vote the question of a convention or no convention, Thomas N. Frazier was run as a Union candidate for a seat in the convention, and was elected by an overwhelming majority; the convention was, however, defeated, and none was ever held. The State afterwards seceded, and those opposed to secession were compelled to submit. Frazier acquiesced, but took no part in the Rebellion, and, deeming it unsafe to remain in Bledsoe County, removed to Rutherford County in the spring of 1861.

Soon after he settled in Rutherford County he was appointed judge of the Criminal Court for the counties of Davidson, Rutherford, and Montgomery, by Andrew Johnson, who was then Governor of Tennessee, and held the office under this appointment until 1867. He resided in Rutherford County two years, and then removed to Davidson County in January, 1866.

In 1866 there was an extraordinary session of the General Assembly convened by the proclamation of Governor Brownlow for the purpose of ratifying or rejecting a certain amendment to the Constitution of the United States. A number of the members-elect were opposed to the amendment and failed to attend, and when the House of Representatives attempted to organize it was found that there was no quorum present. After waiting and adjourning from day to day for some time, the members present, by their Speaker, issued warrants for the arrest of the absent members, and two of them were arrested and brought to the Capitol in custody. A petition for a writ of habeas corpus for their release was presented to Thomas N. Frazier, then judge of the Criminal Court for Davidson County, who granted the same, and the question was argued at length before him, who was of the opinion that there was no law in the State of Tennessee authorizing a part of the Legislature less than a quorum in either branch to enforce by warrant or otherwise the attendance of absent members, and that the arrest of members was simply illegal and void; consequently the prisoners were discharged. For this opinion and judgment the Legislature of 1867 preferred articles of impeachment against him; the same was heard by the Senate, and after a protracted, useless, and one-sided trial, the charges were sustained by a majority of the Senate, the office declared vacant, and the judge disqualified from ever holding office again in Tennessee. The next Legislature of the State of Tennessee, however, were of a different opinion, and by an act passed on the 11th of November, 1869, the impeachment and conviction were declared "unjust and undeserved, and calculated to injure an honest man, a pure patriot, and an upright and incorruptible judge, and the pains, penalties, and disqualifications imposed by said impeachment were removed, and Judge Frazier was restored to ail the rights, privileges, and immunities of other citizens, as though said impeachment had never occurred." And the Constitutional Convention which was held in 1870 fully ratified and confirmed the previous act of the Legislature removing said disabilities, and also providing for an election to fill all the offices in the State under the new constitution.

Mr. Frazier was a candidate for the same office of criminal judge, from which he had been expelled by unjust impeachment, and at the regular election in August, 1870, he was elected by a handsome majority; and Governor Senter, who had been one of his most active prosecutors in the impeachment case, signed his commission as such judge. And so the character and conduct of Judge Frazier was most triumphantly vindicated by the act of the Legislature, the Constitutional Convention, and the vote of the people he held the office for the full term of eight years, and then retired to his farm in the Second Civil District in Davidson County, whore he now resides.

Thomas N. Frazier was twice married, first to Margaret A. Spring, on the 22d of September, 1839. She was a daughter of John Spring, who was one of the first settlers in Bledsoe Co., Tenn. She died on the 16th of November, 1840. She left one child, Mary Ellen, who married Maj. George S. Deakins on the 9th of December, 1862, and died on the 27th of September, 1863. His second wife was Margaret BI. McReynolds, whom he married on the 10th of April, 1845. She was the eldest daughter of Samuel McReynolds, of Bledsoe Co., Tenn.; her father was of Irish descent ; he emigrated from the State of Virginia to Bledsoe County when quite young. He married Jane Hale, a daughter of Alexander Hale, a highly-esteemed citizen of Blount Co., Tenn. She had nine children, three of whom died in infancy; she died in 18-i-l. He afterwards married Anna Stephens, by whom he had three children. Ho died in 1865. He was a scientific and successful farmer, and by his industry and perseverance he had accumulated a large property before the war. He was a man of unimpeachable integrity, and highly esteemed by all who knew him. Margaret M. Frazier was born on the 8th of November, 1824. She has ever been a prudent, industrious, and exemplary wife, and an affectionate mother. She is the mother of five children, four of whom are now living, to wit: Samuel, Sallie, Rebecca, and James. Source: History of Davidson County, Tennessee, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers by Prof. W. W. Clayton (Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis & Co. 1880) pages 458-460

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Thomas Neal Frazier's Timeline

May 24, 1810
October 8, 1856
Pikeville, TN
October 25, 1887
Age 77