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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Burial Site of Gov. Ray Blanton

Burial Site of Gov. Ray Blanton

A friend of mine recently found a map of the United States where for every state had a description about the worst thing about that state. (For instance, where he lived was the nerdiest state.) Tennessee to my amazement was listed as the most corrupt political state. My first reaction was to think that a place like Louisiana or Illinois should have that distinction. However, the more I thought about it, stories like the Tennessee Waltz scandal a few years ago to Boss Crump early in the last century came to mind. But perhaps the top of the list in my mind is Governor Blanton.

Ray Blanton was Tennessee's 44th Governor serving from 1975-79. Despite anything he may have done in that role, he is best remembered for the selling of pardons. While he was never formally charged for this scandal, the FBI did prosecute him for the illegal selling of liquor licenses. The story of the pardon scandal was turned into a book that was named after the lady who was the head of the TN Board of Pardons and paroles. "Marie" was eventually turned into a movie with attorney Fred Thompson portraying himself and launching his movie career.

Blanton died in 1996 and is buried at the cemetery at the Shiloh Church near his hometown of Adamsvile. The Shiloh church is a small area of private property surrounded by the Shiloh National Civil War Battlefield. While the Obelisk is not mentioned as a point of interest along the driving tour, the church is as the congregation predates the war.

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