RHEA, John

1753–1832

Biography

RHEA, John, a Representative from Tennessee; born in the parish of Langhorn, County Londonderry, Ireland, in 1753; immigrated to the United States in 1769 with his parents, who settled in Philadelphia, Pa.; moved to Piney Creek, Md., in 1771 and to eastern Tennessee in 1778; completed preparatory studies and was graduated from Princeton College in 1780; member of the Patriot force in the Battle of King's Mountain in October 1780; clerk of the Sullivan County Court in the proposed State of Franklin and subsequently in North Carolina 1785-1790; member of the house of commons of North Carolina; was a delegate to the State convention that ratified the Federal Constitution in 1789; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1789; delegate to the constitutional convention of Tennessee in 1796; attorney general of Greene County, Tenn., in 1796; member of the State house of representatives in 1796 and 1797; elected as a Republican to the Eighth and to the five succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1803-March 3, 1815); chairman, Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads (Tenth through Thirteenth Congresses), Committee on Pensions and Revolutionary Claims (Fifteenth through Seventeenth Congresses); appointed United States commissioner to treat with the Choctaw Nation in 1816; elected to the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Congresses (March 4, 1817-March 3, 1823); actively connected with higher education in Tennessee; retired from active pursuits and resided on the Rhea plantation near Blountville, Sullivan County, Tenn., where he died May 27, 1832; interment in the Blountville Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Tennessee State Library and Archives

Nashville, TN
Papers: In Rhea family papers, 1769-1859. ca. 300 items and 6 volumes. Includes substantial correspondence with his brother on conditions before, during, and after the War of 1812. Unpublished register in library.
Papers: 1805-1831. 1 reel of microfilm (35 items). Originals in Library of Congress.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Bolden, John. "John Rhea, His Views and Voting Record in Congress, 1803-1815 and 1817-1823." Master's thesis, Tennessee State A & I University, 1958.

Hamer, Marguerite B. "John Rhea of Tennessee." East Tennessee Historical Society's Publications 4 (January 1932): 35-44.

Jordan, Robert D. "Some Phases of the Private Life and Public Career of John Rhea." Master's thesis, East Tennessee State University, 1952.

Rhea, John. Debate on the Spanish treaty, in the House of Representatives. [Washington, D.C.?: N.p., 1820?]

------. John Rhea, of Tennessee, to his constituents. [Washington, D.C.?: N.p., 1810?]

------. John Rhea of Tennessee to his constituents. [Washington: N.p., 1813].

------. John Rhea, of Tennessee, to his constituents. [Washington: N.p., 1815].

------. John Rhea, of Tennessee, to his constituents. [Washington, D.C.?: N.p., 1821?]

------. Mr. Rhea's motion. Washington City: R.C. Weightman, 1811.

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