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Dixon Hall Lewis

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Dixon Hall Lewis (August 10 1802October 25 1848) was an American politician who served as a Representative and a Senator from Alabama.

Lewis was born on Bothwick plantation, Dinwiddie County, Virginia, and moved to Hancock County, Georgia, with his parents in 1806. He graduated from Mount Zion Academy and from South Carolina College at Columbia in 1820. He moved to Autauga County, Alabama, the same year, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1823. That same year he constructed a house ("Old Homestead") in the town of Lowndesboro, Alabama, 20 miles west of the state capitol in Montgomery. He began to practice law in Montgomery and was elected a member of the State House of Representatives in 1826, serving until 1828. He was elected as a States Rights Democrat to the Twenty-first and to the seven succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1829, to April 22, 1844, when he resigned the House to join the Senate. He served as chairman of the House Committee on Indian Affairs from 1831 to 1835.

In 1844 Lewis was appointed to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William R. King in 1844. He was reelected as the Democratic candidate in 1847 and served from April 22, 1844, until his death in New York City on October 25, 1848. In the Senate he served as chairman of the Finance Committee from 1845 to 1847.

A strikingly obese figure, Lewis was known to weigh as much as 500 lbs. (227 kg). A specially-constructed seat was provided in the Senate chambers for him, and his carriage was fitted with unusually heavy suspension springs. According to the WPA Writer's Project publication Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South, a popular witticism among Lewis' colleagues was the observation that Alabama had the largest representation of any state.

Preceded by:
William R. King
U.S. Senator from Alabama
1844-1848
Succeeded by:
Benjamin Fitzpatrick
Served alongside: Arthur P. Bagby, William R. King

References

  • Alabama State Planning Commission. (1941) Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South. American Guide Series. Compiled by Workers of the Writer's Project of the Works Projects Administration in the State of Alabama.
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