John Rhea

John Rhea (* 1753 in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, † May 27, 1832 in Blountville, Tennessee ) was an American politician. Between 1803 and 1823 he represented two times the state of Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives.


In 1769, John Rhea came with his parents in the then British Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. About Piney Creek in Maryland, the family arrived in 1778, the area of the eastern part of the later state of Tennessee. Until 1780 Rhea studied at Princeton College. During the end of the Revolutionary War, he participated in the Battle of Kings Mountain in October 1780. Later he became usher in Sullivan County, which was originally part of the short-lived State of Franklin and thereafter from North Carolina. In 1796 this area eventually fell to the newly formed state of Tennessee. Rhea exercised the office of bailiff 1785-1790. During this time he was also a member of the House of Representatives from North Carolina. In 1789 he was a member of the delegation that ratified the United States Constitution for North Carolina. After studying law Rhea was admitted in the same year as a lawyer. In 1796 he was a member of the Constituent Assembly in Tennessee. In the same year he became district attorney in Greene County. Between 1796 and 1797 Rhea also sat as an MP in the House of Representatives from Tennessee.

Politically, he joined the movement led by Thomas Jefferson and was a member of the founded of this Democratic- Republican Party. In the state- wide discharged congressional elections of 1802 Rhea was for the then newly created third seat of Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington DC chosen, where he took up his new mandate on March 4, 1803. After five re- elections, he was able to complete in Congress until March 3, 1815 six legislative periods. In this time were, among others, the Louisiana Purchase, by which the U.S. government area was considerably enlarged, and the British -American War of 1812. In 1804, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution was adopted. From 1807 to 1815 John Rhea was chairman of the Postal Committee. He also served on the committee dealing with severance pay and compensation from the revolutionary period.

After his preliminary leaving the U.S. House of Representatives Rhea was 1816 negotiators in negotiations with the Choctaw Indians in the year. In the congressional elections of 1816 he was elected to Congress again in the fifth district of his state, where he replaced Isaac Thomas on March 4, 1817. After two re- elections he could until March 3, 1823 three further terms to spend the House of Representatives. During this time, he again led the chair of the Committee for severance and compensation from the revolutionary period. At that time, he also strove to improve the education system in Tennessee. He was a founder of Blount College, later the University of Tennessee emerged from the.

After his final retirement from Congress, John Rhea withdrew into retirement, which he spent on his plantation near Blountville. There he is on May 27, 1832 and passed away. The Rhea County, Tennessee is named after him.