Finis James Garrett (1875-1956)
James Garrett was born near Ore Springs, Tennessee on August 26, 1875. He attended
local common schools and later attended Clinton College in Clinton, Kentucky. While attending
Bethel College in the mid 1890's he worked as an editor for the Weakley and Carroll County
newspapers. He also engaged in teaching in both Como and Milan, Tennessee. He graduated
Bethel College in 1897 and soon chose to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1899 and
commenced practice in Dresden the following year. On September 14, 1900, he was appointed
master in chancery and served until January 1905. He was elected to the Fifty-ninth United States
Congress in 1905 and served in eleven succeeding Congresses until 1929 when he chose to run for
the United States Senate. While in the House of Representatives he served as chairman of the
Committee on Flood Control and was minority leader for six years. His bid for a seat in Senate
failed but was soon appointed judge of the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals by
President Calvin Coolidge. He later was appointed presiding judge of the court by President
Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937 and served until his retirement on September 15, 1955. He died in
Washington, D.C. May 25, 1956. His body is intered in Sunset Cemetary, Dresden, Tennessee.
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