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Thomas Elisha Winn was born near Athens, Clarke County, Georgia May 21, 1839, son of Richard Dickinson Winn (1816-1894) and Charlotte Mitchell (1813-1892) . He attended Carrollton Masonic Institute in Carroll County, Georgia, and graduated from Emory and Henry College, Washington County, Virginia, in 1860 before being admitted to the bar in 1861 and beginning his law practice in Alpharetta, Milton (now Cobb County), Georgia. He served as solicitor of the county court of Milton Co. before joining the Twenty-fourth Regiment, Georgia Infantry, during the American Civil War; as county school commissioner of Gwinnett County, Georgia from 1876 to 1890 and was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-second Congress of the United States, serving from March 4, 1891 to March 3, 1893.