Youngest U.S. Congressmen Ever

10 Youngest U.S. Congressmen Ever

The minimum required age for a Congressman is only 25 years old and everyone on this list was elected just before their 25th birthday. Most of them were 25 by the time they actually took their congressional seat. Because sources differ on his date of birth, the youngest congressman ever may have been as young as 22 years old. Some of the young congressmen on this list had very brief political careers, while others stayed in politics for decades.

10. William Carlton Mobley (December 7, 1906 – October 14, 1981)

Age at Start of Term: 25 years, 2 months, 26 days
Duration of Term: March 2, 1932 – March 3, 1933
Political Party: Democratic
State: Georgia’s 6th District

photo source: et.online-almanac.com

William Carlton Mobley was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election to replace Congressman Samuel Rutherford, who died while in office. Mobley did not seek reelection, but he continued his judicial career. He served in Georgia’s Executive Department from 1934 to 1937, under Governor Eugene Talmadge. Mobley then worked as an Assistant Attorney General of Georgia from 1941 to 1943.

After his military service, Mobley returned to Georgia to continue practicing law. In 1954, Mobley was appointed as an Associate Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Mobley later served as the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court from 1972 – 1974.

Did You Know?

In addition to his prolific judicial career, William Carlton Mobley, joined the U.S. Navy for a few years, from 1943 to 1946, and served as a Lieutenant Commander.


9. John Dennis (December 17, 1771 – August 17, 1806)

Age at Start of Term: 25 years, 2 months, 18 days
Duration of Term: March 4, 1797 – March 3, 1805
Political Party: Federalist
State: Maryland’s 8th District

photo source: et.online-almanac.com

John Dennis served in Congress for nearly a decade, but did not leave a lasting impression and there isn’t much information about his life and political career. Dennis attended Yale to study law and was admitted to the bar in 1793. After practicing law for a few years, Dennis was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1797 and went on to serve two terms. Dennis died a year after completing his term in Congress.

Did You Know?

During his time in the U.S. House of Representatives, John Dennis  was one of the House managers appointed in 1798 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against Senator William Blount of Tennessee.  


8. Stevenson Archer (October 11, 1786 – June 26, 1848)

Age at Start of Term: 25 years, 15 days
Duration of Term: March 26, 1811 – March 3, 1817; served second nonconsecutive term
Political Party: Democratic-Republican
State: Maryland

Stevenson Archerphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Stevenson Archer served as a U.S. representative from Maryland from 1811 – 1817. After returning to his law practice for a few years, Archer was once again elected to the House in 1819. He served until 1823 when he was appointed chief judge of the judicial circuit court of Baltimore and Harford Counties and Baltimore City. In 1844, Archer was appointed by Governor Thomas Pratt as chief justice of the Maryland Court of Appeals and served until his death in 1848.

Did You Know?

Stevenson Archer’s father and son were also U.S. Congressmen from Maryland.


7. William Churchwell (February 20, 1826 – August 18, 1862)

Age at Start of Term: 25 years, 12 days
Duration of Term: March 4, 1851 – March 3, 1855
Political Party: Democratic
State: Tennessee’s 2nd and 3rd District

William Churchwellphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

William Churchwell served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1851 to 1855 when he was in his mid-to-late 20s. As a younger man, Churchwell practiced law and served as one of the judges for Knox County before he was elected to Congress. Following his time in Congress, Churchwell worked as a provost marshal for the district of east Tennessee. During the American Civil War, Churchwell served in the Confederate Army and as colonel of the 34th Tennessee Infantry Regiment.

Did You Know?

Although the Democratic party’s ideologies have drastically changed since William Churchwell’s time, Churchwell is the most recent Democrat to represent the Tennessee 2nd District.


6. Jed Johnson Jr. (December 27, 1939 – December 16, 1993)

Age at Start of Term: 25 years, 7 days
Duration of Term: January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1967
Political Party: Democratic
State: Oklahoma’s 6th District

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Jed Johnson Jr. served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the late 1960s when he was in his mid-20s. As a teenager, Johnson served as a congressional page while attending school. During his last year of college, Johnson served as a delegate to the International Student Movement for the United Nations Conference at Lund, Sweden.

After graduating, Johnson was the president of the United States Youth Council from 1962 to 1964. He led a delegation from the organization to West Africa in 1963, and served as a member of the United States National Commission for UNESCO. Although he was never re-elected to Congress, Johnson continued to work in politics through non-elected roles.

Did You Know?

Since he took his seat a few days after his 25th birthday, Jed Johnson Jr. is the youngest House member to legally assume office ever.


5. Daniel Cook (1794 – October 16, 1827)

Age at Start of Term: 24 to 25 years old
Duration of Term: March 4, 1819 – March 3, 1827
Political Party: Democratic-Republican
State: Illinois at Large

Daniel Cookphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Daniel Cook was a politician, lawyer and newspaper publisher from Illinois. As a young man, Cook worked as a store clerk, but began to study law under the guidance of his uncle, Nathaniel Pope. In 1816, territorial governor Ninian Edwards appointed Cook the territorial Auditor of Public Accounts. A year later, Cook moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue a political career.

A few years later, Cook was appointed as the first Attorney General of Illinois. However, he only served in this role briefly as he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives later that year. Cook served in Congress until 1827. He died later that year, at the age of 32 because he had always had poor health.

Did You Know?

Cook County, Illinois is named for Daniel Cook.


4. William King (April 7, 1786 – April 18, 1853)

Age at Start of Term: 24 years, 10 months, 27 days
Duration of Term: March 4, 1811 – November 4, 1816
Political Party: Democratic-Republican
State: North Carolina’s 5th District

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

 

William King began his political career as a very young man and served in various roles for several decades. King entered politics and was elected as a member of the North Carolina House of Commons in 1807, when he was just 21 years old. He then served in the House of Representatives for a few years, before being elected to the U.S. Senate. During his time in the Senate, King served as the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

During the 1852 Democratic National Convention, Franklin Pierce was nominated for president, and King was nominated for vice president. Pierce and King won the election and King briefly served as vice president until his death in April 1853, just a month after his vice presidency began.

Did You Know?

Due to his close relationship with President James Buchanan, who remained a lifelong bachelor, many people speculate that he and William King might have been secret lovers. This possibly makes Buchanan the first gay president and King the first gay vice president.


3. David Dickinson (June 10, 1808 – April 27, 1845)

Age at Start of Term: 24 years, 8 months, 24 days
Duration of Term: March 4, 1833 – March 4, 1835; served a nonconsecutive second term
Political Party: Jacksonian Whig
State: Tennessee’s 8th District

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

David Dickinson is another young congressman who did not have a very notable or long political career. At the age of 24, Dickinson was elected as a Jacksonian to the U.S. House of Representatives. Dickinson later served a second term in the House in 1833 until 1835. Outside of politics, Dickinson practiced law.

Did You Know?

Although he did not die until 1845, David Dickinson was unable to attend his last session in Congress due to his failing health.


2. Jesse Wharton (July 29, 1782 – July 22, 1833)

Age at Start of Term: 24 years, 7 months, 6 days
Duration of Term: March 4, 1807 – March 3, 1809
Political Party: Democratic-Republican
State: Tennessee’s 3rd District

photo source: Library of Congress

There isn’t much information out there about Jesse Wharton because he had a short-lived political career. Wharton was elected to the House of Representatives from Tennessee’s 3rd district in 1807 and served until 1809. Following his time in the House, Wharton returned to his law practice. Then, in 1814, Wharton was appointed to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of George W. Campbell. Wharton filled the roll until a successor was elected in 1815.

Did You Know?

In 1832, Jesse Wharton was named to the Board of Visitors of the United States Military Academy.


1. William Claiborne (c. 1773-1775 – November 23, 1817)

Age at Start of Term: 22 to 24 years old
Duration of Term: November 23, 1797 – March 3, 1801
Political Party: Democratic-Republican
State: Tennessee at Large

William Claibornephoto source: Wikimedia Commons

William Claiborne’s exact date of birth is unknown, but it is believed that he was between 22 to 24 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, making Claiborne the youngest U.S. congressman ever. Although sources differ about his age, Claiborne is most likely the youngest elected and seated member of either House of Congress.

Like most young politicians, Claiborne studied law and he was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1796. The following year, he gave up his seat to run for a seat in the House. After serving in Congress, Claiborne was appointed Governor of the Territory of Orleans. When Louisiana became a state, Claiborne was elected as the first Governor of Louisiana.

Did You Know?

William Claiborne is a descendant of Colonel William Claiborne, an English pioneer who settled in the Colony of Virginia.

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