Thomas R. Underwood

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Thomas Rust Underwood
United States Senator
from Kentucky
In office
March 19, 1951 November 4, 1952
Appointed by Lawrence Wetherby
Preceded by Virgil Chapman
Succeeded by John S. Cooper
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Kentucky's 6th district
In office
January 3, 1949 March 17, 1951
Preceded by Virgil Chapman
Succeeded by John C. Watts
Personal details
Born(1898-03-03)March 3, 1898
Hopkinsville, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedJune 29, 1956(1956-06-29) (aged 58)
Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.
Resting place Lexington Cemetery
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Kentucky

Thomas Rust Underwood (March 3, 1898 June 29, 1956) served Kentucky in the United States House of Representatives and in the United States Senate.


Early life

Thomas Rust Underwood was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky on March 3, 1891. [1] He attended public schools and graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1917. [1] During World War I, Underwood served in the Students Army Training Corps at the University of Kentucky. [1]


Underwood worked as the general manager of the Lexington Herald from 1931 to 1935 and editor from 1935 to 1936. [1] He was a member of the Kentucky state planning board from 1931 to 1935 and secretary of the state racing commission from 1931 to 1943 and 1947 to 1947. He was secretary of the National Association of State Racing Commissioners from 1934 to 1948. [1] He then served as the assistant to the director of the Office of Economic Stabilization in 1943. [1]

He was elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-first Congress; he was reelected to the Eighty-second Congress and served from January 3, 1949, until his resignation on March 17, 1951. [1]

Underwood was appointed on March 19, 1951, to the United States Senate as a Democrat to fill the vacancy in the term ending January 3, 1955, caused by the death of Virgil Chapman and served from March 19, 1951, to November 4, 1952. He sought to retain the seat in the 1952 special election but lost to John Sherman Cooper. [1]

After his stint in the Senate, Underwood went back to his editorial duties with the Lexington Herald. [1]


Underwood died in Lexington, Kentucky on June 29, 1956. He was interred at Lexington Cemetery. [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Underwood, Thomas Rust". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress . Retrieved August 24, 2021.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Virgil Chapman
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Kentucky
(Class 2)

Succeeded by
Alben W. Barkley
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Virgil Chapman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Kentucky's 6th congressional district
Succeeded by
John C. Watts
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Virgil Chapman
United States Senator (Class 2) from Kentucky
March 19, 1951November 4, 1952
Served alongside: Earle C. Clements
Succeeded by
John Sherman Cooper