Felix Grundy

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Felix Grundy
13th United States Attorney General
In office
July 5, 1838 – January 10, 1840
President Martin Van Buren
Preceded by Benjamin F. Butler
Succeeded by Henry D. Gilpin
United States Senator
from Tennessee
In office
October 19, 1829 – July 4, 1838
Preceded by John Eaton
Succeeded by Ephraim H. Foster
In office
December 14, 1839 – December 19, 1840
Preceded by Ephraim H. Foster
Succeeded by Alfred O. P. Nicholson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1813 – 1814
Preceded by District created
Succeeded by Newton Cannon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1811 – March 3, 1813
Preceded by James H. Randolph
Succeeded by Augustus H. Pettibone
Chief Justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals
In office
Preceded by Thomas Todd
Succeeded by Ninian Edwards
Personal details
Born September 11, 1777
Berkley County, Virginia
Died December 19, 1840(1840-12-19) (aged 63)
Nashville, Tennessee
Political party Democratic-Republican
Spouse(s) Ann Phillips Rodgers

Felix Grundy (September 11, 1775[1] – December 19, 1840) was a congressman and senator from Tennessee and served as the 13th Attorney General of the United States.


Early life

Born in Berkeley County, Virginia (now Berkeley County, West Virginia), he moved to Brownsville, Pennsylvania, and then Kentucky with his parents. He was educated at home and at the Bardstown Academy in Bardstown, Kentucky.[2] He then studied law and was admitted to the Kentucky bar and commenced practice in Springfield, Kentucky, in 1799.[2]


In 1799, he was chosen to represent Washington County at the convention that drafted the second Kentucky Constitution.[2] From 1800 to 1802, he represented Washington County in the Kentucky House of Representatives.[2] He then moved to Nelson County, which he represented in the Kentucky House from 1804 to 1806.[2] On December 10, 1806, he was commissioned an associate justice on the Kentucky Court of Appeals.[2] He was elevated to Chief Justice of the court on April 11, 1807.[2] Later that year, he resigned and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he again took up the practice of law.[2]

He was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the 12th and 13th Congresses and served from March 4, 1811, until his resignation in 1814.

He then became a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1819 to 1825, and in 1820 was commissioner to settle the boundary line (state line) between Tennessee and Kentucky. He was elected as a Jacksonian in 1829 to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy in the term ending March 4, 1833, caused by the resignation of John H. Eaton to join the Cabinet of President Andrew Jackson; reelected in 1832 and served from October 19, 1829, to July 4, 1838, when he resigned to accept a Cabinet position. During this time he served as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads (21st through 24th Congresses), U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary (24th and 25th Congresses).

He entered the Cabinet when he was appointed Attorney General of the United States by President Martin Van Buren in July 1838. He resigned the post in December 1839, having been elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate on November 19, 1839, to fill the vacancy in the term commencing March 4, 1839, caused by the resignation of Ephraim Foster; the question of his eligibility to election as Senator while holding the office of Attorney General of the United States having been raised, he resigned from the Senate on December 14, 1839, and was reelected the same day, serving from December 14, 1839, until his death in Nashville, almost a year to the day later. During this stint in the upper house of the U.S. Congress he served as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Revolutionary Claims in the 26th Congress.


He is interred in the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee. There are four Grundy Counties, including the one in Illinois, named in his honor.[3] Grundy County and its county seat, Grundy Center, Iowa, are both also named in his honor. Grundy Center's annual festival "Felix Grundy Days", are held each July.


He was a mentor to future President James K. Polk. Polk purchased Grundy's home called "Grundy Place" and changed the name to "Polk Place". He lived and died there after his presidency. It was demolished in 1901.

Further reading

  • Baylor, Orville W. (April 1942). "Felix Grundy, 1777-1840". Filson Club Historical Quarterly. 16 (2). Retrieved 2011-12-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Heller III, J. Roderick (2010). Democracy's Lawyer: Felix Grundy of the Old Southwest. Baton Rouge: LSU Press. ISBN 978-0-8071-3588-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. Heller, p. 11
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Biographical Cyclopedia, p. 268
  3. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 145.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
James H. Randolph
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Augustus H. Pettibone
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Newton Cannon
United States Senate
Preceded by
John Eaton
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Tennessee
Served alongside: Hugh L. White
Succeeded by
Ephraim H. Foster
Preceded by
Ephraim H. Foster
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Tennessee
Served alongside: Hugh L. White, Alexander O. Anderson
Succeeded by
Alfred O. P. Nicholson
Political offices
Preceded by
John M. Clayton
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Succeeded by
Garret D. Wall
Legal offices
Preceded by
Benjamin F. Butler
U.S. Attorney General
Served under: Martin Van Buren

Succeeded by
Henry D. Gilpin