The Gold Headed Cane
A Cherished Heirloom"

Gold Headed Cane

The Gold Headed Cane
was presented to my grandfather Hon. John Brewer Weems
 upon his retirement from the 44th General Assembly of Tennessee.

On the top of the cane is inscribed:
"Presented to J, Weems
Mexican Veteran
By members of the 44th General Assembly

On side panel 1
First Reg Tennessee Volunteers

Panel 2
Col W.B. Campbell

Panel 3
Company A

Panel 4
Captain J,W, Whitfield


Who was



William B. Campbell, lawyer, soldier, state legislator, congressman, and governor, was born on Mansker's Creek, Sumner County, on February 1, 1807, the son of David and Catherine Bowen Campbell. He studied law at Abingdon, Virginia, with his relative, Governor David Campbell. He returned to Tennessee in 1829, settled in Carthage, and was admitted to the bar in 1830. In 1831 Campbell was elected as district attorney, and four years later, his district sent him to the Tennessee General Assembly. That same year, he married Frances Owen, daughter of Dr. John Owen of Carthage. He resigned his seat in the legislature to serve as captain of a mounted volunteer company in the Creek and Seminole War under Colonel William Trousdale. When he returned from the war in Florida, he was elected and served as a Whig member of the twenty-fifth, twenty-sixth, and twenty-seventh sessions of the United States Congress.

When the Mexican War broke out in 1846, Campbell was elected colonel of the First Tennessee Volunteers, which saw action at Monterey, Vera Cruz, and Cerro Gordo and earned recognition as the "Bloody First." At the storming of Monterey, Campbell's command "Boys, follow me!" became the slogan for the Whig Party in the Tennessee gubernatorial campaign of 1851. In the summer of 1847 Campbell was elected judge of the circuit court, where he served four years.

In 1851 Campbell ran as the Whig candidate for governor and defeated Democratic incumbent William Trousdale. After serving one two-year term as governor, Campbell retired to private life in 1853 and accepted the presidency of the Bank of Middle Tennessee. In 1859 he returned to public service as circuit court judge.

During the presidential campaign of 1860 Campbell supported John Bell, the Constitutional Union candidate. Following the election of Lincoln, he canvassed the state in opposition to secession. Commissioned as brigadier general of volunteers in the Union army by President Lincoln in 1862, Campbell resigned later that year because of poor health

Following the readmission of Tennessee to the Union in 1866, Campbell was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Congress, where he supported the conservative Reconstruction policies of President Andrew Johnson. Campbell died at Lebanon on August 19, 1867, and was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery.

In 1942 the War Department established a World War II army training camp on the Kentucky-Tennessee border between Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and Clarksville, Tennessee. The adjutant general of the United States Army named the camp in honor of William Bowen Campbell to perpetuate the memory of this outstanding soldier, lawyer, judge, and public figure who devoted nearly four decades to the service of his state and country

John H. Thweatt, Tennessee State Library and Archives

 Fort campbell


Fort Campbell, Ky., is named in honor of Brig. Gen. William Bowen Campbell, the last Whig Governor of Tennessee. He was elected Colonel of the First Tennessee Volunteers, the "Bloody First," and is remembered in history as he led his regiment in the storming of Monterey in 1846 with the cry, "Boys, Follow Me!"

The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War, and in Mexico as La Invasión Estadounidense (the United States Invasion), La Intervención Norteamericana (the North American Intervention), La Guerra de Defensa (the war of defence), or La Guerra del 47 (the War of '47) was a military conflict fought between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848, in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas. Mexico had not recognized the secession of Texas in 1836 and announced its intention to take back what it considered a rebel province.

In the United States, the war was a partisan issue, supported by most Democrats and opposed by most Whigs, with popular belief in the Manifest Destiny of the United States ultimately translating into public support for the war. In Mexico, the war was considered a matter of national pride.

The most important consequence of the war was the Mexican Cession, in which the Mexican territories of Alta California and Santa Fé de Nuevo México,were ceded to the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In Mexico, the enormous loss (52%) of territory encouraged the central government to enact policies to colonize its northern territories as a hedge against further losses.


After Mexico gained independence from the Spanish Empire at the end of the Mexican War of Independence in 1821, the Mexican Empire inherited ownership of the provinces of Alta California, Nuevo Mexico, and Texas, from Spain. (These territories are now States within the United States of America.) Weakened and virtually bankrupt from the Mexican War of Independence, the new Mexican government found it difficult to govern its northern territories, which in any case were thousands of miles from Mexico City, the capital.

Although the United States made overtures to the Mexican government to buy Texas, Mexico, ruled by Agustín I of Mexico (Iturbide), opposed it. Mexico intended to colonize its northern provinces.

Mexico's Constitution of 1835 prohibited slavery. Many Texans were slave owners who had emigrated from Tennessee and other slave states in the United States. These Texans objected to the abolition of slavery. They were further incensed in 1836 when General Antonio López de Santa Anna abolished the 1835 constitution and established a new constitution that attempted to centralize power. The new centralist constitution enshrined the Siete Leyes, which included secular reforms but granted additional powers to the president, such as the power to close congress and suppress the judiciary. Several Mexican states rebelled against the new central government under Santa Anna, including Texas (then a department of the state of Coahuila y Tejas), San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, Durango, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Yucatán, Jalisco and Zacatecas.

A violent insurgency, known as the Texas Revolution, started in 1836. General Santa Anna responded by engaging in two battles against rebel forces, the Álamo and Goliad, which encouraged a wider revolt in Texas.

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