SCHS: Court History — Rosette Detail

John Catron, 1837-1865

Justice John Catron, 1837-1865
JOHN CATRON was born of German ancestry in Pennsylvania in approximately 1786, but little is known about his early years. They appear to have been spent in Virginia and Kentucky. There is no record of his schooling. In 1812, Catron moved to the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee and served under General Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. He was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1815, and in1818 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he established a practice specializing in land law. In 1824, he was elected to the Supreme Court of Errors and Appeals. In 1831, the Legislature created the office of Chief Justice of the Court and Catron was elected to the position. Under a further reorganization in 1834, the position of Chief Justice was abolished. Catron returned to private practice and became active in national politics. When Congress expanded the Supreme Court of the United States from seven to nine members, President Andrew Jackson nominated Catron to one of the new seats on March 3, 1837. The Senate confirmed the appointment on March 8, 1837. Catron served on the Supreme Court for twenty-eight years. He died on May 30, 1865, at the age of seventy-nine.