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David M. Key
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
May 27, 1880 – January 21, 1895
|Appointed by||Rutherford B. Hayes|
|Preceded by||Connally Findlay Trigg|
|Succeeded by||Charles Dickens Clark|
|27th United States Postmaster General|
March 12, 1877 – June 2, 1880
|President||Rutherford B. Hayes|
|Preceded by||James Noble Tyner|
|Succeeded by||Horace Maynard|
|United States Senator
August 18, 1875 – January 19, 1877
|Preceded by||Andrew Johnson|
|Succeeded by||James E. Bailey|
David McKendree Key
January 27, 1824
|Died||February 3, 1900
|Resting place||Forest Hill Cemetery
University of Tennessee (A.M.)
|Branch/service||Confederate States of America Army|
|Years of service||1861–1865|
|Unit||43rd Tennessee Regiment|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
David McKendree Key (January 27, 1824 – February 3, 1900) was a United States Senator from Tennessee, United States Postmaster General and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Education and career
Born on January 27, 1824, near Greeneville, in Greene County, Tennessee, Key attended the common schools, then graduated from Hiwassee College in 1850 and read law the same year. He received an Artium Magister degree from East Tennessee University (now the University of Tennessee). He was admitted to the bar and entered private practice in Madisonville, Tennessee from 1850 to 1852. He continued private practice in Kingston, Tennessee from 1852 to 1853, and in Chattanooga, Tennessee from 1853 to 1861. He was a Presidential Elector on the Democratic ticket in 1856 and 1860. He served in the Confederate States Army from 1861 to 1865, during the American Civil War and was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the Forty-third Tennessee Infantry. He resumed private practice in Chattanooga from 1865 to 1880. He was a member of the Tennessee constitutional convention in 1870. He was Chancellor for the Tennessee Chancery Court for the Third Judicial District from 1870 to 1875. He was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for election to the United States House of Representatives of the 43rd United States Congress.
Key was appointed as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of former President and United States Senator Andrew Johnson and served from August 18, 1875, to January 19, 1877. He was an unsuccessful candidate for election to fill the vacancy in 1876.
Key served as Postmaster General of the United States in the cabinet of President Rutherford B. Hayes from 1877 to 1880. The only Democrat in Hayes' cabinet, his appointment was in part due to the terms of the Compromise of 1877.
Federal judicial service
Key was nominated by President Rutherford B. Hayes on May 19, 1880, to a joint seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee vacated by Judge Connally Findlay Trigg. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 27, 1880, and received his commission the same day. His service terminated on January 21, 1895, due to his retirement.
Key died on February 3, 1900, in Chattanooga. He was interred in Forest Hill Cemetery in Chattanooga.
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