Oscar B. Lovette

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Oscar Byrd “O. B.” Lovette
Oscar Lovette campaign.jpg
Former U.S. Representative from Tennessee's 1st Congressional District
From: March 4, 1931 – March 3, 1933
Predecessor Brazilla Carroll Reece
Successor Brazilla Carroll Reece
Former State Representative
from Tennessee

From: 1895–1897
Predecessor ???
Successor ???
Party Independent Republican
Spouse(s) Lillie Fowler (died 1924)
Mabel McKinney Rogan

Oscar Byrd Lovette (December 20, 1871 – July 6, 1934), also known as O. B. Lovette,[1] was an attorney, banker, university trustee, and Tennessee Republican who briefly served in the United States House of Representatives from the 1st congressional district for one term. He was previously a member of the lower state legislature.


Lovette was born in Greenville, Tennessee (located in Greene County) to John Dixon Lovett and the former Mary Emily Woolsey. After completing Parrottsville High school, he attended Tusculum College, where he graduated from in 1893. Lovette also completed studies in law and was admitted to the bar in 1896.

From 1912 to 1918, Lovette was the president of a local bank.

Political career

U.S. House of Representatives

During the 1930 Midterm Elections, Lovette challenged incumbent Republican congressman B. Carroll Reece. The latter opposed the Senate Muscle Shoals bill introduced by Nebraska liberal Republican senator George Norris (and subsequently a forerunner to the Tennessee Valley Authority),[1] claiming that it:[2]

...originated in Red Russia.

Reece sided with private enterprise over the federal government giving nitrates to farmers while Lovette proudly declared his support for the Norris bill.[2] Reece's viewpoints aligned with that of President Herbert Hoover, who supported the incumbent congressman and sent a letter reading:[2]

I hear your opponents are charging you with failure to serve the interests of your constituents because you refused to accept the Senate plan for dealing with Muscle Shoals.

However, Reece faced enough backlash from constituents and was defeated in the general election by Lovette, who ran as an Independent affiliated with the GOP.[3]

Not much is tracked of Lovette's voting record in the House, though he missed nearly a quarter of all roll call votes.[4] During his tenure, patronage involving the district still went through his predecessor and rival Reece due to the latter's favorability among the Hoover Administration.[5] President Hoover consistently ignored recommendations pertaining to patronage by Lovette and instead handed federal offices to Reece supporters.[6]

In the 1932 elections, Reece made a comeback and narrowly defeated Lovette in the general election by four percentage points to return to his old seat.[7] According to historian Ray Hill of The Knoxville Focus:[8]

Reece never forgot why he had lost to Oscar B. Lovette in 1930; following his return to the House of Representatives, Carroll Reece became a supporter of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Reece frequently voted against the majority of his fellow Republicans, many of whom disliked the very notion of the TVA, to support the Tennessee Valley Authority. When asked why he didn’t go along with his party, Carroll Reece candidly replied no politician in Tennessee could survive politically by opposing the TVA. Reece had fought the bill sponsored by Senator George W. Norris of Nebraska, while Second District Congressman J. Will Taylor had supported it. Reece had lost his seat in Congress because of his opposition while the controversial Taylor had continued to hang on to his seat.

Indeed, the poverty among the Appalachian Mountains (due to its unsuitable nature for development) where the district was located in contributed to a populist bent among constituents who, although voted conservative Republicans into office, supported some federal action to aid citizens against local problems.


After suffering from pneumonia and a heart attack, Lovette died on July 6, 1934 at the age of sixty-two.[6] He is interred at Oak Grove Cemetery.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hill, Ray (June 6, 2021). Carroll Reece: Tennessee’s ‘Mr. Republican’ Part 10. The Knoxville Focus. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Hill, Ray (April 25, 2021). Carroll Reece: Tennessee’s ‘Mr. Republican’ Pt7. The Knoxville Focus. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  3. TN District 01 Race - Nov 04, 1930. Our Campaigns. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  4. Rep. Oscar Lovette. GovTrack.us. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  5. Hill, Ray (June 20, 2021). Carroll Reece: Tennessee’s ‘Mr. Republican’ Pt12. The Knoxville Focus. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hill, Ray (August 1, 2021). Carroll Reece: Tennessee’s ‘Mr. Republican’ Part 15. The Knoxville Focus. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  7. TN District 01 Race - Nov 08, 1932. Our Campaigns. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  8. Hill, Ray (July 18, 2021). Carroll Reece: Tennessee’s ‘Mr. Republican’ Part 13. The Knoxville Focus. Retrieved August 10, 2021.

External links

  • Profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Profile at Find a Grave