I was browsing the 1982 Almanac of American Politics and came across a fascinating chart detailing the control of state legislatures. We all know that the South used to be solidly Democratic for generations post-Appomattox, but did you have any idea it was this solid?
TN is an interesting case. Southern states that have fewer blacks than their Confederate brethren (Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas) always had a more robust two-party system. The mountain communities in Virginia and Tennessee especially were always more sympathetic to Lincoln’s Republicans — West Virginia was the extension of that sentiment. In fact, I’m not sure that the eastern division of Tennessee has ever once elected a Democrat to Congress, ever.
You might want to check on the figure for Texas’s lower house; those numbers add up to 97 and the Texas House has 150 members. Wikipedia says the composition in 1982 was 113 Democrats and 37 Republicans. And today, it’s a near-reversal, with 101 Republicans and 49 Democrats.
Also according to Wikipedia, Arkansas is the only state where Democrats currently have majorities in both chambers of their state legislature. In Louisiana and Mississippi, they control one chamber.