Dixon Hall Lewis

Dixon Hall Lewis

Dinwiddie County, Virginia, USA
Death 25 Oct 1848 (aged 46)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Plot Section 89, Lot 9931
Memorial ID 3277 · View Source
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US Congressman and Senator from Alabama. Born on the Bothwick plantation in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, he was raised in Georgia and graduated from South Carolina College at Columbia in 1820. That same year he moved to Alabama, where he was admitted to the bar in 1823 and set up law practice in Montgomery. From 1826 to 1828 he was a member of the State House of Representatives. A Democrat, Lewis was elected to eight consecutive terms in the US House of Representatives, representing Alabama's 3rd and 4th Districts, and served from 1829 to 1844. In the latter year he was appointed US Senator to complete the term of William R. King, who had resigned; he was elected to a full term in 1847. During his time on Capitol Hill Lewis was Chairman of the House Committee on Indian Affairs and the Senate Committees on Finance and Retrenchment. A States' Rights extremist, he supported slavery and nullification (which proposed that state governments could overrule federal laws), and his powerful oratory helped put Alabama on the road to secession. But he became something of a legend not for his agenda or legislative abilities but for his physical girth. Weighing in at 430 pounds, Lewis was the heaviest man ever to serve in Congress. He gave speeches sitting down because standing for long periods was difficult for him, and he had to travel in custom-built carriages. (On one occasion his heft caused him to fall through the bottom of a stagecoach). At the time it was commonly joked in Washington that Alabama had the largest representation of any state. Lewis's obesity eventually ruined his health and he died at 46 in New York City, where he had gone to seek medical advice. Transporting his body home proved too complicated so he was buried in Brooklyn, an ironic fate for such an ardent Southerner.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 1 Aug 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial 3277
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dixon Hall Lewis (10 Aug 1802–25 Oct 1848), Find a Grave Memorial no. 3277, citing Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .