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Robert Looney Caruthers (July 31, 1800 – October 2, 1882) was a distinguished attorney and politician who was elected governor of the state of Tennessee. He is buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Lebanon, Tennessee.[1]


Caruthers had a distinguished career as an attorney and educator. He served as the Tennessee state attorney general (1827-1832), and after as a member of the Tennessee state legislature and the United States Congress. He and his brother, Abraham Caruthers, founded Cumberland School of Law, in Lebanon, Tennessee, which is one of the oldest law schools in the United States, by formalizing an arrangement between it and Cumberland University.[1] During the 1960s Cumberland University sold Cumberland Law School to Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.


Caruthers was elected during the American Civil War when the Confederate states controlled Tennessee in 1863. However, by the time that he was to have been inaugurated, the Confederate Government controlled a relatively small portion of Tennessee, so he never actually served or was inaugurated as governor. Therefore, Caruthers is not counted in official lists of those who served as governor of Tennessee. But the fact that he was elected is one reason for discrepancies in reference works, which state the number of people have served as governor of Tennessee.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Lebanon, Tennessee: A Tour of Our City" (PDF). Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved February 5, 2007. 

Template:Start box |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #cccccc" | Confederate States House of Representatives |- style="text-align: center;" |- style="text-align:center;" |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
none |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|Representative to the Provisional Confederate Congress from Tennessee
1861 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
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