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–by Lauren Borchard

Sometimes, it’s the juxtapositions that give a name its air of insouciance. That’s the case with Representatives Thomas Jefferson Busby and Bolling Hall.

A portrait of Thomas Jefferson “Jeff” Busby (findagrave.com)

Ah, Thomas Jefferson Busby. His name starts out with such promise, referencing a revered founding father, and then makes a dramatic switch with a last name redolent with the excess 1930s movie musical extravaganzas. In actuality, he seems to have lacked the flair of either and apparently went by “Jeff.” Busby (1884-1964) represented Mississippi in the House from March 4, 1923 to January 3, 1935, and worked as a lawyer both before and after. His most noted work during his time in Congress is the 1934 legislation he authored providing funds for a survey of the Natchez Trace, which eventually led to the construction of the Natchez Trace Parkway, which began with the survey and was finally completed in 2005.

Members of the Democratic baseball team, including “Jeff” Busby” (Library of Congress)

Next, Bolling Hall. It’s neither fair nor nice to snigger at a person whose name simply happens to sound like something else, especially something that probably didn’t exist when he or she was named. Nonetheless, I can’t help it: I giggle and wonder if Hall bowled inside or outside, or if he ever took a very long nap.

A portrait of Bolling Hall (findagrave.com)

Hall was born in Virginia in 1767 and fought in the Revolution at age 16 (now I feel even more guilty for giggling). He moved to Georgia in 1792 and served in local and state government before winning election to Congress. He represented Georgia in the House from 1811 to 1817 and moved to Alabama when he retired. In 1824 he helped welcome Lafayette to the area during his nationwide tour. Hall died on his Alabama plantation in 1836.

So there you have it: now we all know a little more about two worthy but otherwise forgotten members of Congress.

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