Joseph W. Byrns, Sr.

Joseph Wellington Byrns ( born July 20, 1869 in Cedar Hill, Robertson County, Tennessee, † June 4, 1936 in Washington, DC ) was an American politician of the Democratic Party, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Tennessee and Speaker of the House.


After attending general schools and the High School of Nashville, he studied from 1887 to 1890 Law at the Law School Vanderbilt University. After his subsequent admission he took up a career as a lawyer in Nashville.

His political career began as a deputy in the House of Representatives from Tennessee, where he was elected 1895-1901. Subsequently, he was from 1901 to 1903 the Senate of Tennessee at. In 1902, he competed unsuccessfully for the office of District Attorney ( District Attorney General ) in Davidson County. 1908 Byrns was first elected to represent the Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and represented there by 13 subsequent re- elections of March 4, 1909 until his death in the first sixth and since March 4, 1933, the fifth electoral district of Tennessee.

Later, he was from 1928 to 1930 chairman of the campaign committee of Democrats ( Congressional Campaign Committee ). Between March 1931 and March 1933, he was first Chairman of the Investment Committee ( Committee on Appropriations ) and thereafter until January 1935 Group Chairman and thus leader of the Democratic majority faction ( Majority Leader ).

On January 3, 1935 Byrns eventually became Speaker of the House and held that office until his death on June 4, 1936. Byrns was the first speaker, whose term began in January immediately after the beginning of the legislative period. At the time of his death he was nominated for the forthcoming elections to the 75th U.S. Congress. After the funeral ceremony in the Hall of the U.S. House of Representatives, he was buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nashville.

His son Joseph was later also for a fifth term Congressman for Tennessee's congressional district.