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Peyton, Bailie

Born: 1803-11-26 Sumner County, Tennessee

Died: 1878-08-18 Sumner County, Tennessee

Flourished: Sumner County, Tennessee

Bailie Peyton was a lawyer, district attorney, army officer, diplomat, and U.S. representative from Tennessee. Growing up near Gallatin, Tennessee, Peyton received a classical education in preparation for a career in law. He subsequently read law, earned admission to the Tennessee bar, and commenced a law practice in Gallatin. Gravitating to politics, Peyton won election, as a Jacksonian Republican, to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1832. Two years later, he won re-election running as an anti-Jacksonian. After leaving Congress in March 1837, Peyton returned to his law practice. In 1841, he and his family moved to New Orleans, Peyton having received appointment as U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Louisiana. He remained district attorney until 1845. At the commencement of the Mexican War, Peyton enlisted for military service, becoming lieutenant colonel of the Fifth Louisiana Volunteers. He later served as aide-de-camp to General William J. Worth. In August 1849, President Zachary Taylor appointed Peyton minister to Chile, a position he held until his resignation in September 1853. Moving to San Francisco, California, Peyton resumed the practice of law, serving as prosecuting attorney for San Francisco from 1853 to 1859. Returning to Gallatin in 1859, Peyton resumed his law practice. He was a presidential elector for the Constitutional Union Party in the presidential election of 1860. In addition to his legal practice, Peyton owned a large farm, which he operated with the labor of enslaved people. In 1850, Peyton owned thirty-four enslaved people; by 1860, that number had increased to fifty-one. He was renowned for breeding racehorses.

Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 1656; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Slave Schedules, Sumner County, TN, 291; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Slave Schedules, Sumner County, TN, 13; Katherine C. Mooney, Race Horse Men: How Slavery and Freedom were Made at the Racetrack (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014), 81; Gravestone, Gallatin City Cemetery, Gallatin, TN.