On October 5, 1891, William Norfleet Estes was born in the small community of Liberty, Tennessee in Weakley County. The family then moved to Martin, Tennessee where he spent most of his young life and received his primary and secondary education. After graduating from high school in Weakley County, Treasurer Estes went to pursue higher education at Vanderbilt University.
After graduating from Vanderbilt, he went back to Martin, Tennessee and accepted a teaching position with the McFerrin Training School. While there, he taught a variety of subjects such as English, physics, and higher algebra. In 1914, Treasurer Estes married Virginia Mason Lee from Huntingdon, Tennessee. The couple eventually had one son named William Norfleet Estes, Jr.
After several years of teaching, Treasurer Estes entered the insurance business, joining the Equitable Life Assurance Society in Dyersburg, Tennessee. In 1919, Treasurer Estes moved to Jackson, Tennessee and in the fall of that year entered the investment business with the firm of I.B. Tigert and Company. Treasurer Estes later formed his own company known as W.N. Estes Company Investments in Jackson, Tennessee.
In 1937, Governor Gordon Browning asked Treasurer Estes to organize the Department of Local Finance and to assist in the implementation of his Debt Reorganization program. Treasurer Estes continued working with the department until 1939. In 1949 he was elected State Treasurer of Tennessee by the General Assembly. Treasurer Estes served as State Treasurer from 1949 to 1953.
While Treasurer Estes was active in the business and government fields, he was also involved in many community organizations. He was a member of the Belle Meade Country Club, the Cumberland Club, and the Elks Club. He also served for many years on the Board of Trustees for the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly, including three years as the President of the Board. After working for many years, Treasurer Estes retired and made his home in Huntingdon, Tennessee. On November 2, 1973, Treasurer Estes died at the age of 82 at the Carroll County Hospital.
Reference: "Prominent Wedding at Huntingdon," Nashville Tennessean and Nashville American, August 14, 1914, p. D5; "Shelby County Register of Deeds, Death Records Index, 1949-2009," Tennessee Blue Book, 1949-1950; Tennessee Blue Book, 1951-1952; State Library and Archives Photographs Negative, CV 19313; "Shelby County Register of Deeds, Death Records Index, 1949-2009," http://register.shelby.tn.us/deathSearchResultsvital.php; "William Estes Obituary," Dresden Enterprise, November 8, 1973, p. 3.