Meet U.S. Treasurer H. Theodore Tate

United States Treasurer from Tennessee

Treasurer H. Theodore Tate

H. Theodore Tate

26th Treasurer of the United States; Years Served: May 1928 - January 1929

Tennessee County of Residence: Hamblen and Grainger Counties

Place of Birth: Rutledge, Tennessee

Date of Birth: December 28, 1875

Date of Death: October 23, 1960

Political Affiliation: Republican


H. Theodore Tate was born in Rutledge, Tennessee, on December 28, 1875, to Allen S. and Ariana (Peck) Tate of Grainger County. Theo’s father, Allen, was a Civil War veteran who practiced law in Rutledge and Morristown, Tennessee.

Allen also served in prominent roles, such as Tennessee State Representative for Grainger and Hamblen counties from 1873-1875; Circuit Court Clerk for Grainger County from 1876-1878; and Attorney General for the 2nd Judicial Circuit from 1878-1886. In 1899, Allen and his family moved to Washington, D.C., where he served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Land Grant Office in the Department of the Interior.

On August 6, 1902, Theo married Margaret L. Ritchie, the daughter of Taylor and Martha (Bishop) Ritchie of Claiborne County. A few years later, Theo’s father Allen died on January 20, 1905, in Washington, D.C., and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Theo Tate began a career with the United States Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C., working his way from a clerk to Deputy Assistant Treasurer. On April 25, 1928, Tate was nominated for Treasurer of the United States after former Treasurer Frank White resigned to take a position at a private business in Chattanooga. Since the U.S. Senate was not in session at the time, President Calvin Coolidge made a recess appointment for Tate to become the 26th Treasurer of the United States on May 31, 1928. After seven months under the recess appointment designation, the Senate began the process to officially confirm Tate as Treasurer. However, some congressmen opposed his nomination, so on January 17, 1929, Tate stepped down and was replaced by Walter O. Woods from Kansas. Tate continued to work for the Treasury Department in various lower positions in the 1930s and ‘40s.

Tate retired in 1944 after serving 35 years in the U.S. government. He and his wife moved back to Tennessee, eventually residing in Morristown until Margaret’s death on July 14, 1952, when Tate moved back to Washington, D.C. to live with relatives.

On October 23, 1960, H. Theodore Tate died at the age of 84 in Washington after a short illness. His body was brought back to Hamblen County, Tenn., and was buried next to Margaret at the Emma Jarnagin Cemetery in Morristown.

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Heather Sczepczenski, Treasurer's History Project

(615) 741-2956

Mailing Address

Tennessee State Treasurer
Tennessee State Capitol, 1st Floor
600 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Nashville, TN 37243-0225