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Full text of "An address in memory of Thomas M. Holt, governor of North Carolina ... Delivered in the hall of the House of representatives, Raleigh, October 27, 1898"

F 259 
.H78 
Copy 1 



AN ADDRKSS 



IN MEMORY OF 



Thomas M. Holt, 



GOVERNOR OF NORTH CAROLINA, AND FOR TWELVE YEARS 

PRESIDENT OF THE NORTH CAROLINA 

AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY. 



DEl.IVERKI) IX THE HA 1,1, OF THE 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 

RALEIGH, OCTOBER 27, 1898. 



By C. B. DENSON, 

.\t the rcqufsl (if Pivsidnit .Joliii S. GuiiiiiKliiiin and the K.\.'cutiv< 
Ooiniiiittf.' o|- ihc \. c. .\Kricnltural Sdci.'ty. 



K.VI.EIGll. .\. c. : 
Al.FORU. BYNI M it ChRISTOPHEKS. I'HINTEI!.- 



F 259 
.H78 
Copy 1 



AN ADDRBSS 



IN MEMORY OF 



Thomas M. Holt, 



GOVERNOR OF NORTH CAROLINA, AND FOR TWELVE YEARS 

PRESIDENT OF THE NORTH CAROLINA 

AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY. 



DELIVERED IN THE HAM. ( ) I' THE 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 

RALEIGH, OCTOBER 27, 1898. 



By C. B. DENSON, 

At the ivqufst of I'lvsidciit .John 8. CuiiiiifrliMiii and the K.\eeutiv( 
Ooiiimittee (,(■ th«' X. C. Afirietiltunil Soeiety. 



R.VI.EIGH. N. C. : 

Ar.l-OKD, BVM M ct Christoi'iieks. I'kintehs. 

]Sl»i». 



■Hi* 



[From the procet'dings of tht^ Annual Meeting of the Noi-tli Carolina Agricultural 
Society, October '27th, 1898, Col. John S. Cuningham of Person, President, and 
Hon. ,Iohn NichoLs of Wake, Secretary.] 

" At the conclusion of the address commemorative of tlie life and 
character of the late Governor Thomas M. Holt, the following resolu- 
tion was offered by Maj. A. M. McPheeters, accompanied by appro- 
jiriate remarks : 

" ' Resolved, That tite tlniiiks of the North Corollna Agriciiltnr'il Sdcict;/ 
be fjiren to ('apt. ('. B. Deumn for his able, eloquent and truthftd address 
on the life and character of the distingnisjied and beloved e.r-Presidnit of 
this Society, the late Gov. Thos. M. Unit, ivho so long, faitlf all ij and Intel- 
ligently served one Socictg.' 

■'The resokition was seconded by Col. Julian S. Carr, wlio paid an 
eloquent tribute to the deceased statesman. 

"In announcing tlie unanimous passage of the resolution. President 
Oiminghani made toucliing references to the sacrifices and services 
in behalf of the Society of the honored dead, and accorded Gov. Holt 
a high position among the best beloved sons of Nortli Carolina." 



flUft 
1 F '08 



ADDRESS, 



Mr. President and Gentlemen of the North Carolina 
a(iricultural society. 

Ladies and Gentlemen : — This spot is sacred with iiiemories of 
great North Carolinians. Its very walls are vocal with the 
names of Statesmen, jurists, soldiers — leaders all, the peerage of 
the mind and the heart. 

I (!()me to speak of one whose tones yet linger on the ear ; who 
sat here for many long years as the presiding officer of the State 
Agricultural Society, who ascended that Chair as the Speaker of 
the chosen representatives of the State, as he graced, indeed, a 
like position in the Senate Chamber of this Capitol, and whose 
words of counsel were read from this stand, while Governor of 
the Commonwealth. 

An)id the illustrious shades that encircle us, on this, the crown- 
ing night of the State Fair, whose unseen presence so dominates 
our hearts, as his whose service to his people, we commemorate 
in tills hour? 

Time and space are needed for the complete recognition of 
great souls, no less than of objects and events. As yet, we are 
too near the dead. Distance reveals the relation of the moun- 
tain to the landscape. 

Every year of his life displayed new strength and greater 
possibilities in the typical Carolinian whose career we consider. 
In steady evolution, his character came to its consummate devel- 
opment through a chain of events absolutely Providential. It 
will remain for another generation, [)erhaps, to reach the crown 
and flower of his efforts for the welfare of his beloved State. 

Well has a })hilosopher said, " C'haracter is of a stellar and 
undiminishable greatness." 

What the subject of this slight tribute may have said, or may 
have done, is merely the index to what he was. " Character is 
nature in the highest form," we are told. The study of this 
hour is the building of character as shown in the life of one of 
the y:reatest of North Carolina's sons. 



Thomas Michael Holt was horn on the sacred field of the 
struggle of Alamance (at that time* a part of Orange County), 
July 15th, 1831, and was the second son of Edwin M. Holt 
and Emily Banks Holt. His grandfather was Michael Holt, of 
Haw fields, who was one of the first legislators to insist upon 
internal improvement fi>r the advancement of the people. There 
is high authority for the statement that the family descends 
from that of the famous jurist of the name in English annals. 

E M. Holt had ten children — seven sons and three daughters; 
all of whom became interested in cotton manufactures, and, with 
their children and connections, form to day the most eminent 
group of cotton manufacturers in North Carolina. He was horn 
in J 807, in Orange, and bpginning with seven slaves as a farmer, 
owned seventy at the opening of the war. He added also a 
country store on his firm, and a grist mill on Alamance Creek. 

The operations of a small steam cotton mill at Greenshoro 
attracted his notice, and in 1832 he builta mill, for water power, 
on Alamance Creek, obtaining the machinery from Paterson, 
N. J. At first, in his simple frame building, with 1200 spindles, 
he spun only bunch yarns, sent out in wagons to the country 
stores. Then he made cloth, and about 1850, began to manu- 
facture the Alamance Plaids, which from that day, became 
familiar to the commercial world. The old factory was burned 
in 1871, but was immediately rebuilt. These were the first plaid 
looms broutrht south of the Potomac. 

He died in 1884, having lived to see the enormous exi)ansion 
of his work in the hands of his children and others. To-day 
North Carolina has more mills and more spindles than any South- 
ern State. 

Of him, an eminent man declared, "The man who creates 
something is, after all, the benefactor of his people." 

Thomas M. Holt laid the foun:lation of his strong health, and 
developed his manly frame, in manual labor upon the farm. He 
acquired industrious habits and vigor of muscle and quickness 
of eye, at the plow itself, and in the wheat field he loved to reap 
and bind. Men of his race love the soil, and its conquest by 
the might of their strong arms. 



Those early lessons were never forgotten. They antedated all 
other experiences. He was a farmer born, and to return to the 
fields and the lowing kine was his recreation. 

As soon as the disturbances of war were over, and his pros- 
perity in manufactures gave him means to employ his energies 
in farming, he bought Linwood, on the Yadkin, it> Davidson 
County (in 1866). Here he condiicled one of the most admira- 
ble farms in the country, having at times a thousand acres of 
wheat or of clover, and exhibited stock, and implements the best 
to be obtained, and husbandry of a model character. Yet it was 
not for show. It was a paying investment, besides gratifying 
his early tastes. On a single occasion, he sent more than a score 
of Devon calves to the Fair, to be distributed as premiums there- 
after, and as gifts to those who were seeking to improve agricul- 
ture. 

At one time he issued the uniijne advertisement of several hun- 
dred tons of fine clover hay, and several hundred bushels of 
clover seed harveste*! at Linwood, never offered on such a scale 
by any farmer in our State before. Tliis circumstance was the 
basis of an interesting manuscript found among the papers of the 
late Hon. Paul Cameron, of Orange, himself an agriculturist of 
high distinction. 

From his father's farm, after preparation at home, he l>ecame 
the pupil of Dr. Alex. Wilson, the eminent Presbyterian divine 
in charge of Caldwell Institute, then in Hillsboro. He was for- 
tunate in a preceptor, whose pupils took rank amoug the first in 
the State. The young student entered the Sophomore class of 
the University, in June, 1849, and found himself with such 
gifted associates as Richard H. Battle, Thos. C. Fuller, and A. 
M. Waddell, who yet survive, and Z. B. A^auce, W. C. Kerr 
and Thomas Settle, who have played their great part, and passed 
away. 

From the first, the wish of the father coincided with his own 
tastes — that he should give his life to mercantile and manufac- 
turing pursuits, rather than to the learned professions. J^efore 
the completion of the college course, therefore, he was sent to 
Philadelphia to learn the wholesale dry goods business, and there 



he mastered commercial details and forms of great value to him 
throughout life. 

The partnership between E. M. Holt and his brother-in-law, 
William A. Carrigan, in the Alamance Mills, lasted fourteen 
years; when, in order to be with his sons, who had moved to 
Arkansas, Mr. Carrigan sold his interest to Mr. Holt. Thomas 
was now recalled from Philadelphia, and for ten years worked 
for and with his father as a partner. 

His farming life and his collegiate and commercial courses were 
the prelude to severe and effective work as a mechanic. He must 
know and handle everything for himself. Long years after, 
when walking with your speaker in his spacious grounds at Haw 
River, he pointed across the stream to the factory, and said, " I 
always determined to know my business thoroughly. There is 
nothing there that I have not done with my own hands. I have 
been at the dye-tub and the gin, and have worked from the foun- 
dation to the roof. If need be, there is no portion of the 
machinery that I cannot take to pieces and repair, and no man's 
task which I cannot do myself. Too much will not be required 
of any one, but it takes faithful work for honest goods, and that 
I must have. I am proud that my father trained me to work." 

In 1853, a wandering Frenchman, an expert dyer, taught the 
art to the young manufacturer, with an eighty-gallon copper 
boiler and an iron pot ; and for eight years he worked in the dye 
tubs after the dye house was built. Four box looms were put 
in, and his language of after years was justified : " I am entitled 
to the honor of having dyed with my own hands, and had woven 
under my own supervision the first yard of colored cotton goods 
manufactured in the South. My father trained all his sons in 
the manufacturing business, and as we grew up, we branched out 
for ourselves and built other mills, but the plaid business began 
in the little mill on the banks of Alamance Creek." 

In 1854, the North Carolina Railroad was built across Haw 
River, and four years after the factory known as the Granite 
Mills was bought. It had but 528 spindles, but was gradually 
extended and improved. The war came, goods from the outside 



world were cut off by armed Hues and a releutless blockade. 
Clothiug for the army aud the people was au imperious necessity. 

In 1862, the father sold his interest in the Granite Mills to 
the son, aud now increased to 1,000 spindles, they ran day aud 
night throughout the war. Ten days after Appomattox, Colonel 
Holt began the making of brick, to add to the mill, aud he was 
the first man trom the South to go North for new machinery. In 
the Spring of 1866, he was fairly at work again, this time with 
1,152 spindles. 

And now industry and skill and integrity had made their 
mark. Steadily his great enterprise grew and prospered. A 
town rose about him, chiefly of the homes of his own tenants, to 
which in later years, he added churches for the Methodists aud 
Baptists, chiefly built by his benefactions. As hard working as 
the humblest, he was kind and cousiderate to the weak, while 
inflexibly demanding faithful work from all who were able. 

And so, in 1871, the Granite Flour Mills, all the water power, 
and a large area of adjacent land were added, and eventually the 
roller process introduced into the flour mills. In 1871, came the 
looms for sheetings and plaids, cheviots, etc., and by a steady 
and constant progress, advancement proceeded until in the mills 
at Haw River 13,000 spindles, and many hundred looms were 
making plaids, cheviots, cottonades, suitings and sheetings, 
and they go to the ends of the earth, with the demand always 
increasing. 

But in the earlier days there were times that required iron 
resolution. At one period there was a long depression aud a 
falling market. Goods were made at a loss and piled up without 
buyers, until a vast amount of capital had been absorbed, and 
temporary stoppage seemed the only resource. But that meant 
suffering to some, destitution to others. Calling his faithful 
operatives together, the intrepid master told them the truth, 
and offered to continue, if they willed, with half wages paid, 
and the other half to be credited to them aud paid when the 
goods could be sold. They joyfully acceded — relief came in 
due time, all were paid to the uttermost, and good sense and 
mutual confidence prevented loss and distress, and knit anew the 
strong bonds of regard between the employer and employed. 



No such thing as a strike ever occiirreH there. His knowl- 
edge, his skill and industry won their respect ; his justice and 
fidelity, their regard ; his sympathy and generosity, their love 
and reverence. To them he became not so much the master, as 
the father. 

How large an element in the prosperity of this Commonwealth 
the manufacture of cotton is destined to become, it would be 
rash to predict; but already, with such a leader, there are four- 
teen mills controlled by the Holt family and connections; there are 
twenty-two mills in the County of Alamance alone, and no less 
than 224 daily adding to the wealth of North Carolina. 

The growing influence of the farmer of Liuwood, and manu- 
facturer of Haw River, was felt in the State, and when the expan- 
sion of the Fair at Raleigh was determined upon in 1872, Colonel 
Holt was chosen as its President, and another revelation of the 
power within him was displayed. The occasion, perhaps, will 
justify some reference to an institution which occupies so large a 
place in our contemporaneous annals. 

When the history of the development of North Carolina in 
the latter half of the nineteenth century shall be written, it will 
be found that the work of the North Carolina Agricultural Society 
was one of its greatest factors. 

The annual Fair at Raleigh was the great State holiday, and 
much more than that. There has nothing been in the year like the 
prolonged harvest home of the Fair Week for the general coming 
together of North Carolinians, and the taking counsel and encour- 
agement for another year's advancement. 

It was much more than a holiday. It was a great market 
and a great school. The outside world came to see what could 
be produced here, and what manner of people we were. 

Likewise, in turn, they brought their fine breeds of stock, 
their improved machinery and appliances in every branch of 
agricultural industry ; new seeds, tools, implements and methods 
were examined and discussed. 

The nightly meetings at the Capitol knit anew old friendships, 
and attracted the progressive spirits of the country. Plans and 
policies were proposed that ripened into substantial blessings. 



9 



The Fair was the gatewav throno-h which iinmig-ration entered 
the State. It was an unparalleled advertisement of the good 
things in modern life, from a steam engine or a w^nd mill, to an 
embroidered handkerchief or a sewing needle. It brought 
together schools and colleges in friendly riv^ah'v. It arrayed 
the whole State Guard togetlier in encampment for the first time 
and made them feel the strength of union. 

From its membership, its committees, agitation and ceaseless 
labor, came the whole Agricultural Department, the State Museum, 
North Carolina Experiment Station (largely through Presi- 
dent Kemp P. Battle), and as a later outcome of the same, the 
Agricultural and Mechanical College, To its existence may be 
ascribed the exhil)its by the State at the Expositions of Boston, 
Atlanta, New Orleans and at the World's Fairs at Vienna and 
Chicago, preparing the way for the developnaeut awaiting us in 
the future. 

Through its comn)ittees, after inspection, it favored the stock 
law of Mecklenburg for sections suited thereto, and condemned 
the introduction of European grapes at Ridgeway. To one of 
its members, the late Professor Kerr, is due the suggestion to 
save the grapes in Europe by grafting upon American varieties, 
which has preserved an immense industry to the world. 

The far reaching influence of the Society upon the State is a 
theme well worthy of the historian's analysis. Many valuable 
organizations hav^e grown out of its meetings — historical and 
hoiticultural societies, dairymen's associations, and the like. 

So, likewise, did it lead to a great State Exp()>ition (under our 
distinguished townsman, Wm. S. Primrose), and lend its co-op- 
eration to the celebration of the Centennial of the Capital City. 

It has been the meeting place of the battle-scarred veterans 
of the Civil War, and it opened its hospitable gates to the soldier 
boys of the Fifth Maryland and others of sister States not less 
than our own. 

It is impossible to write the record of the generation since the 
war between the States without noting the strong and steady 
influence of the State Fair. It has been an honor to North 
Carolina, a great means of popular enlightenment and recreation, 
and a fountain of improving social agencies. 



10 



The State Agricultural Society was organized in the early 
fifties, such men as Kemp P. Battle of Raleigh, Dancy of Edge- 
combe, R. H. Smith of Halifax, and similar influential citizens 
at its head. The early Fairs were held in the eastern part of the 
city, the grounds being small and the accommodations resembling 
those of the County Fairs. 

After the interruption of the war, followed by military occu- 
pation, and paralysis of effort for the time being, about 1869 the 
Fair was again doing its work, under the Presidency of Hon. 
Kemp P. Battle. With its progress larger grounds and better 
railroad connections were needed, and in 1872 Col. Thomas M. 
Holt, who had long been one of its firmest supporters, was called 
to the helm as President. 

He was appealed to to guide a movement involving much 
money and credit. In the summer of 1873 the work was actively 
pushed on the new grounds in the northwest, near the city, track 
laid out and buildings begun. At the critical moment, when the 
track proved unexpectedly expensive, and delays had occurred 
in finishing the structures, exposed to the weather, the Black 
Friday of September, 1873, took place, ushering in the most 
terrible panic and business depression ever known. Everywhere 
enterprise was paralysed, credit gone, and confidence destroyed. 

But Colonel Holt stood firm, and certain members of the 
Executive Committee joined him in giving their credit to secure 
from the banks and private sources means to put buildings and 
grounds in condition to hold the Thirteenth Annual Fair, and to 
pay certain pressing claims inherited for years. Shortness of 
time compelled high prices at the currency rates existing, and the 
whole had to be courageously met. 

That this great institution continued to exist, and was held 
intact through long years thereafter of profound depression 
and of complete wreck of similar Fairs elsewhere, is due to the 
lion-hearted President, and to the men who stood with him and 
pledged their credit, redeeming it eventually with the money, 
share by share. The principal of this has never been repaid to* 
the present day. 



11 



Presideot Holt, at one time, did not hesitate to draw his check 
for five thousand dollars to keep the premium list paid up and 
for other liabilities. This was subsequently returned except about 
one thousand dollars. On anotlier occasion, when the State 
Guard was here, without provision at that time by the State for 
the encampment or their support, he paid large bills for quarters 
and supplies, trusting to the future of the Fair for reimburse- 
ment. 

Urged by his faithful friends of the Executive Committee, he 
stood at his post for twelve years, and the remembrance that they 
had preserved to the people one of their most cherished and 
valued institutions was the only reward of self-sacrifice and devo- 
tion to the public good. 

Receiving no pecuniary return, he declined even the privilege 
of complimentary tickets for his personal friends, yet he advanced 
freely from his private means in every time of financial depres- 
sion, and every year the necessary funds for contingent expenses, 
until he could be reimbursed after the Fair. 

And faithfully he upheld this buiden four times as long as any 
other man, and against the wish of personal friends, who saw his 
sacrifices of time and labor, in the midst of the greatest respon- 
sibilities at home, until the day came when he could no longer 
refuse to consider other interests, and hoped that the future of 
the Fair was secure to the people of North Carolina. 

He knew and declared that the permanent welfare of this people 
depended upon successful industries, upon improved agriculture 
and progressive manufactures. He believed with his whole heart 
that the State Fair was the greatest object lesson to them that 
had been devised. 

Few, perhaps, realize what care and responsibility rest upon 
the presiding officer of this great institution. It is like the con- 
duct of a government by voluntary and unpaid officers. Receiv- 
ing no salary or allowances of any description, he must, from 
patriotic love of his State and people, exert every energy of mind 
and body and use every influence to reconcile opposing interests 
and win cordial co-operation. From its peculiar circumstances, 
he must meet all contingencies, and draw freely upon his credit. 



12 



and, I may add, upon his private means, as most or all of them 
have done, ineludincy the })resent occnpant of that honored posi- 
tion. 

It is an imperishable honor to North Carolina that such good 
and true men have nobly borne this res[)onsibility since Colonel 
Holt, as Wm. G. Upchnreh, Richard H. Battle, Julian S. Carr, 
Benehan Cameron, and now the chivalrous gentleman, the prince 
of tobacco farmers and devoted friend of President Holt, John 
S. Cuningham, who presides over its destinies to-day. 

The people make no mistake when they honor each and all of 
these as great leaders in the front ranks of the creators of wealth, 
the farmers and manufacturers. But, in a distinctive sense, the 
Fair remains as a monument of the indomitable will, the devo- 
ted perseverance, and the ardent State pride of Thomas M. Holt. 

Recognizing his capacity for business, and confiding in his 
practical wisdom, he was elected a director of the North Car- 
olina Railroad Company in 1869 by the stockholders, and was 
connected with it through life. He was President one year 
during the administration of Governor Caldwell, and wiien 
Major William A. Smith resigned the Presidency, during Gov- 
ernor Brogden's terra, to enter Congress, he was again chosen 
President, and that by a Board of op[)osite political opinions. 
This be held for a score of years, witnessing the gradual and 
steady increase of its value. 

In this capacity it was given to him to perform a great service 
to the people of North Carolina. At the time of the compro- 
mise of the State debt, part of which was a lien on the State's 
stock in the North Carolina Railroad, the whole matter was in 
the hands of the receiver of the Federal Court. Few in that 
hour believed that the property of the State could be saved. 
Those millions, indeed, were regarded as lost, like all other 
wrecks of the war. 

But at the critical moment Colonel Holt associated with him 
some otiier leading business men of influence and patriotism, and 
voluntarily journeyed to the North to appeal to the men who held 
the bonds secured by this lien, and convince them of their and our 
interests. After much eifort, and even a breakingoff of all nego- 



13 

tiatious at one time, his struggle was successful. A compromise 
was eifected, and three-fourths of the stock of the road was pre- 
served as the property of the people of North Carolina. It was 
the act of a man of business and a patriot. Political position he 
did not desire ; he had never sought or held office. But the 
annual tribute to the State Treasury forever will be a monument 
to those good men and true that will outlive the stones of this 
Capitol. 

His people demanded his services as a magistrate, a member 
of the old County Court, before the war, and as Chairman of 
the County Finance Committee, and they remembered his fidelity 
to duty. So, in 1872, when the County was in debt, her institu- 
tions languishing, and credit gone, he suffered himself to be 
chosen as a Commissioner. At the first meeting, the overseer of 
the poor reported the roofs Itaking and shingles rotted, and no 
supplies for food and clothing, or credit. Commissioner Holt 
gave him an order for lumber, and instructions to drive to his 
store and get the supplies for which the poor were suffering. 

Four years after there was a general demand that he should 
sacrifice his wishes, leave his great business interests, and go to 
the Senate of 1876. Politics as a game did not attract him. 
What could it give? Money was rapidly accumulating, occupa- 
tion was interesting and absorbing, influence wide spread with 
men of all party views was already his, A small mind fixed 
upon the pecuniary loss, by absence from business, might have 
refused; a selfish man, from love of ease and control; a timid 
man, from dread of the struggle for the best things. 

It is fashionable to ascribe dishonesty to all politicians. Some 
deny that any leader in politics can be thoroughly honest ; can 
be a truly good man before his fellows and his Maker. 

Not so have pronounced the great minds in all ages. Pythag- 
oras declared, " Men should know that, in this theatre of man's 
life, it is reserved only for God and spirits to be lookers on." 

Diogenes said, ^'Sustine non abdlne" ; that is, bear the burden, 
do not flee from it. 

Lord Bacon, in his sonorous prose, affirms, "A contemplative 
life which does not cast any beam of heat or light upon human 



14 



society, is not known to Divnnity ; and the necessity of advanc- 
ing the public good censures that philosophy which flies from 
perturbations." 

Milton, though warned by his physician, gave up the sight of 
his only remaining eye to perform the duty essential, as he deemed 
it, to the safety of the liberties of the people. 

So, nny we not say of Vance, dying at his post after the sacri- 
fice of an eye, like his exemplar? 

If " Men of character," as a writer says, " are the sconcience of 
society," sad will be the condition of that community that shall be 
deprived of their leadership from blind prejudice. 

Colonel Holt appeared as a candidate for the Senate, and was 
charged with having, as Commissioner, delivered large supplies 
to the poor-house (now the Home), at great profits. The wagons 
had been seen at his store receiving the goods. The reply was 
characteristic. Calling the County Treasurer to the stand, Colonel 
Holt asked, if in the four years past, any bill had ever been pre- 
sented for those supplies, and when the answer came in the nega- 
tive, the magnanimous speaker apologized for the necessity that 
had wrung from him the public avowal of a charity buried until 
that day in his own generous breast. 

He received 650 more votes than any man had ever polled in 
the County for any office whatever, and it is honorable to that 
people to say that he was elected as a patriot, by men of all 
opinions — a friend and a leader, and not a partisan. One of 
the wise sayings of Emerson is, that " The people know that 
they need in a leader not only talent, but the power to make the 
talent trusted." 

It is worthy of note, that his name outran all others upon the 
the ticket with which it was associated, as long as he lived, both 
at home and abroad, as on the State ticket. 

In 1882, 1884 and 1886, he went to the House of Representa- 
tives, being chosen to the Speakership in 1884. A discrimi- 
nating writer of the day said of his service: 

" Of experience in both branches of the Legislature, a good parlia- 
mentarian through conduct of piiblic affairs; full of energy, life and 
vim, quick in thought and action, of strictest honor and integrity ; 



15 



earnest, faithful and conscientious in the discharge of iiis duty ; direct, 
straight-forward, firm and manly; just, fair and impartial; not 
enticed by allurement from the plain path of duty, nor deterred 
therefrom by opposition ; broad-minded and level-headed, the duties 
of his exalted office were administered with ability, and in a business 
like manner, to the entire satisfaction of his fellow-members of both 
political parties, and to the people of the State." 

Among tlie measures iu which he took an active part were the 
steps for the building of the Western North Carolina Railroad, 
and the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley, which some of his con- 
stituents had mistakenly opposed. He was in the forefront in 
the founding of the Department of Agriculture, which almost 
introduced a new era by the control of the quality of fertilizers 
sold to our farmers by millions. A member of its first Board 
and Chairman of its Finance Committee, he gave strong sup- 
port to Professor Kerr, to whose constructive genius was really 
due the organization of that Department, for which others reaped 
the credit. 

Colonel Holt was a friend to education in every form. He 
voted always for liberal appropriations for public schools, and 
for the University. 

His services, in the adjustment of the State debt, have been 
referred to. 

He was always ready to defend the interests, and extend the 
operations of all the Asylums and Hospitals for the afflicted, the 
insane and the deaf and dumb, the blind, the disabled, and the 
orphan, carrying into his public life a firm conviction of the 
duty of the strong to provide for the weak. 

From year to year, there was a new unfolding of the native 
powers, disciplined by the five-fold training of the farm, the 
college, the workshop, the counting-room, and the halls of State. 
Many said he would be useful on committees from his practical 
knowledge. But they were surprised to see him hold his own 
in debate with the experienced and ingenious masters of speech. 
Often he put the most brilliant to rout. He used plain language, 
to the point. He was candid, sometimes confounding his friends 
with honest admissions of any weak points iu his case. He was 



16 

ready to accept any improvement that was gennine. He scorned 
a specious show. He overwhehned at last with the simple truth, 
fresh from an honest heart. Rectitu(Je of purpose shone like 
the sunlight through his every act. 

The people were swift to perceive that he gloried in being one 
of them, typical North Carolinian that he was. They saw that 
for them he had the triple friendship of the heart to feel for 
their needs, the head to plan the relief, and the hand to execute 
the mission. 

Men who admired his energy in private life, but doubted his 
mastery of public affairs, found themselves insensibly seeking 
his unerring judgment, and following his leadership. 

What was his secret? He knew to whom he spoke, for he 
was of the people, and he knew thoroughly what he spoke. 
Success lay in character, that " reserved force which acts directly 
by presence and without means." Not without the power to 
speak and to write, it was when he laid aside the careful manu- 
script, and returned to the plain, blunt words of the loom or the 
plow, and looked the incarnation of truth, and manliness and 
courage, that the effect was most lasting and profound, 

"Man," a philosopher says, "is sometimes the expression of 
the same laws that govern the tides and the sun." 

Elected in 1888, as Lieutenant Governor, he returned to the 
Senate as its presiding officer, in the sessions of 1889 and 1891, 
but was unexpectedly called to the Executive Chair by the sud- 
den death of his distinguished colleague Daniel G. Fowle, April 
8th, 1891. 

Summoned from his business cares to a^sume the delicate and 
multiflirions duties of the Governorship, he applied himself with 
accustomed fidelity to the task. His early habits made him the 
first <;omer to the official desk in the morning. He sought to 
know everything that might assist him in his duties. He was 
approachable by the humblest. If ever a man lived who loved 
North Carolina with his whole heart, and studied the well-being 
of the people as the object of his life, that man was Thomas M. 
Holt. 



17 



Says the Rev. Dr. MoCorkle, his pastor and friend : 

" When, in the maturity of his powers, he was providentially called 
to take the Chair of State made vacant by the death of the gifted and 
lamented Governor Fowle, he brought to that high office a capacity 
for mastering details, a painstaking patience, a practical wisdom, a 
faultless devotion to principle, and a wealth of useful knowledge, that 
made him eminently fit for the place." 

As his administration proceeded, respect deepened into admi- 
ration, and the regret at its termination was not confined to the 
inend^ers of his own political party. With wonderful unity the 
press had recognized his stature as a statesman. 

Said the Fayetteville Observer (E. J. Hale), referring to his 
message to the Legislature : 

" Nothing can be of greater imj)ortanee now to tlie people of North 
Carolina than the study of their own affairs. This the remarkable 
message of that remarkable man, who is about to retire for a season 
from the headship of the State, will enable them to make. 

■'We call Governor Holt a remarkable man, and we do so with delib- 
eration. He is a very able man, and North Carolina has rarely enjoyed 
his equal in the gubernatorial office. Take him all in all. the verdict 
of history will be that he comes next to Vance. 

"Governor Holt writes good English, and he says what he has to 
say in the fewest words. This is the highest order of writing, and 
when so written, if the subjects be important to the people, and the 
attitude of the writer wisely taken, then the paper of one in Governor 
Holt's position becomes statesmanlike. Lastly, if we find that all of 
his state papers have been of this character, recording or presaging 
the wise acts of a sensible, patriotic and courageous man, we must call 
the author a statesman. By this test Governor Holt easily takes rank 
as a statesman. We entirely mistake the people of North Carolina if 
they do not require many years mcu-e of [)ublic service from this North 
Carolinian of North Carolinians." 

The State Chronicle (Thos, R. Jernigan) used this language: 

"The administration of Governor Holt has been comparatively 
short, but lie will leave the Executive chair with tlie reputation of 
one of the best Governors that North Carolina has ever had. No Chief 
Magistrate of this Commonwealth has ever vacated the office whose 
acts have been more generally approved and commended by the 
people of the whole State than have the acts of Tliomas M. Holt. 



18 



" The Governor has grown every clay in the confidence of the people, 
and his reputation is not only now coequal with the State but is also 
national. 

'• During his administration questions as difficult and important as 
ever engrossed the attention of any Governor have been thrust upon 
him, and were promptly and ably decided. Noteworthy are the vari- 
ous railroad matters and questions of taxation, fully explained in his 
message. Governor Holt pushed these, and their solution, by which 
the State has been and will be further benefited, is in great part due to 
the clear and discriminating judgment of her Chief Executive officer. 

" So far as the State of North Carolina is concerned, the fame of 
Governor Holt is complete. There is not a citizen of the Common- 
wealth, whose opinion is worthy of consideration, wiio will not sin- 
cerely regret the day when he resumes his place as a private citizen." 

All sections echoed the same voice. The Southport Leader 
declared : 

" With the same absence of a pretentious personality with which he 
took his seat as Governor nearly two years ago, Thomas M. Holt last 
week stepped from the Chief Executive office of the State. 

" He has made a mos't admirable record, in every particular com- 
manding the respect of all the people of the State, irrespective of 
party. For his untiring zeal and devotion, with regret will the people 
see Mr. Holt leave the office which he has so creditably filled, yet all 
must feel a pride and satisfaction that North Carolina has a man of 
such character who, in public and private life, has so faithfully exe- 
cuted his duties and obligations." 

The High Point Enterprise delivered this judgment : 

"Thomas M. Holt, in many respects, was the greatest (lovernor 
North Carolina has had since the war. Broad and liberal in his views, 
and possessing peculiar executive ability, he never had to inquire into 
the wishes of those who represented certain sentiments when a public 
question confronted him. He was too big to fear responsibility and 
too cosmopolitan to become a bigot." 

The Asheboro Courier said of him : 

" Me came to be recognized as the e((ual of any of the State's great 
sons in the domain of statesmanship. He retired from office with the 
resjject and good will of the people of all parties, and returned to his 
private business with added honors and hosts of new friends." 

A writer in the Atlanta Journal remarks : 

" Ilis administration was one of tlic piircsl and bravest in llie his- 



19 

tory of North Carolina State government. His only message to the 
Legislature is regarded as in many respects the ablest public docu- 
ment ever read before tiiat body." 

One more of the admiring comments that would fill volumes 
may he cited. Said oue of the leading editors of the State : 

"It is neither compliment nor adulation to say that in becoming a 
private citizen he loses not one whit of the esteem that he commanded 
as Governor. Less than two years ago he entered the Executive office, 
but in this brief period he has commanded the admiration and confi- 
dence of our people to a degree surpassed by no other Governor in this 
generation, with the possible exception of Vance. 

"No other (xovernor that the State ever had has combined in him- 
self in as high a degree so many of the excellent qualities that distin- 
guish our people. His conduct of public business has been essentially 
what it would have been had it been jiossible for the State collectively 
to manage its own affairs. 

"His speeches are marked by clearness, earnestness, breadth of 
thought and courageous honesty of conviction upon public matters 
agitating the people. No man ever faced issue more boldly or with 
less regard for self. 

" In handling public questions, whether State or National, he has 
shown a rare combination of practical wisdom, of political knowledge 
and of strong intellectual power. 

" He has shown a sympathy with the needs of our people. His recent 
message to the Legislature has never been surpassed in North Caro- 
lina for clearness, for comprehensiveness, and for statesmanlike appre- 
ciation of the requirements of a great and rapidly growing Common- 
wealth. It may well serve as a guide-post for this generation. 

"The social duties of his office were performed with modesty, quiet 
dignity and hospitality. 

" Thomas M. Hi^lt and his administration may well be treasured by 
North Carolina as tyjncal other best virtues." 

He was urged, oi various occasions, to address his fellow- 
citizens, aud with all his cares, f )und time to counsel and eu- 
courage, especially at the Fairs, as at Poplar Tent and Newbern, 
and iu behalf of education at Davidson and the Universify. His 
aim was to inspire aud uplift. 

In an address at the State Fair, he welcomed the Mechanical 
Parade iu these words: 

" I must remind you of the intimate need, the farmer and manufac- 
turer have, each for the other; being both, I know them. They are 



20 



the right and left wings of the same army. Tliey are the Siamese 
twins of industry. The farmer requires a consumer of his products, 
and tlie best consumer is tlie mechanic at lais door. 

"The true interests of the farmer and manufacturer are, and ever 
must be, identical. Who harms one, inflicts a blow upon the other, 
and is the common enemy of both. 

"A people altogether agricultural are invariably poor. Political 
economy indicates this, and human history demonstrates it, beyond a 
doubt. Wealth is the reward of skill. While it is not the chief good 
of men or of nations, yet it is the means, in this age, of enormous in- 
fluence for good. 

" North Carolina as she may be, with her plains and hills dotted 
with manufacturing towns, and her lialf hundred of minerals fashioned 
into princely contributions to the commerce of the world, her valleys 
teeming with a thrifty population, and coffers bursting with riches, 
think you not that the majesty of power, at that day, will hang upon 
the tongues of her statesmen in the national councils ? 

" God has given us almost boundless resources. We have but to use 
intelligently and perseveringly what lies about us ready for our grasp." 

Four years after, in 1891, he talks to his Linwood neighbors, 
at tlie Cabarrus Fair, in the same cheering strain: 

" We have it in our hands to be the most independent people, and 
the richest in every element of happiness, on the globe. Let us use 
self-restraint in our eager grasp at a money crop. Encourage every 
form of home industry. Let this i-each every detail of life. 

" Believe and act upon the truth, that right here God has blessed us 
with the gifts of as goodly a land as the heavens look down upon. 
Take heart and rejoice that we have the intelligence and the industry 
to win success. If there are obstacles in the way, we shall move them, 
too. 

" The tide is turning. In spite of the tariff and the pension roll, the 
])ercentage of real and personal property gained in the last decade by 
the South, is shown by the census of 1890, to exceed the average of 
the Union. Keep step to the march of North Carolina. We can not 
all think alike, but at least let us credit each other with honesty of 
|)urpose and patriotism of heart in all that affects the welfare of our 
grand old State. 

" You are a (xod-fearing people. Your churches of Poplar Tent, 
Uock River and others reach beyond Revolutionary days. I invoke 
the calm conservative sentiment of such a people, to ' Prove all things, 
hold fast to that which is good.' I have spoken to you in all plain- 
ness and sincerity, and would have you feel that in your Governor you 
have a friend to every true citizen. 

"May we all live to see plenty and peace at every honest lireside." 



21 



Never was there a man more free from affectation or pride. 
He cast aside all prt)ps and advantag;es from his great wealth, 
won by his own arm and brain, and was independent of the 
trappings of place. He wonld be known for himself alone. Pur- 
sued by the mutterings of envy, and the false accusation that he 
was too rich to regard the people, he did not reply with plati- 
tudes upon the dignity of labor, uttered at a safe distance from 
the grime and smoke of toil, but in simple, strong words at 
Newbern, he said : '* My heart is with the man who labors for 
his daily bread, and his little ones. I know what it is to work. 
For years these arms have plunged into the dye-tub to the 
shoulder." 

As by an electric spark, the gathering affections of the people 
were welded to the kingly soul greater than the purple of office, 
grander than a Cffisar on his throne. 

The physical i)enalty of labor of mind and body fell upon 
him, and all his later years were shadowed by suffering from a 
malady which lie met with fortitude, and struggled to overcome 
as long as hope was possible. 

To the apprehension of his family and his most intimate 
friends he undertook, as an invalid, labors from which strong 
men would shrink. 

At this time, retired from office, one of the episodes of his 
life which gave him keen satisfaction, was his gift of the monu- 
ment on the Battle Grounds of Guilford, to the memory of 
the North Carolina Troops, who on March 15th, 1781, fought 
the Hessians and Tarleton's cavalry, after the Continental Line 
had retreated from the field of battle. 

On the occasion of the celebration. Governor Holt disclaimed 
any intention to deliver a speech, but simply said : 

" If there be any people tm American soil entitled to celebrate the 
Fourth of July, it is the people of Alamance and Guilford Counties. 
I was taught in my school days that the Revolution began at Concord 
and ended at Yorktown, not a word of which was true. It began at 
Alamance, and ended practically at Guilford Court House." 

Judge Schenck thanked the donor for his great- hearted ness in 
building that mouuraent where the North Carolina riflemen made 



22 



their stand all alone, and declared that tiie desire of his heart had 
been accomplished. 

From the lamented Judge Robert P. Dick, came an addrees, 
which he was too ill to deliver in person, in which he said : 

" We delight to honor Governor Thomas M. Holt, wiio with munifi- 
cent liberality has erected this costly and ap})ropriate monument, 
soon to be unveiled before us by the hands of lovely girls ; repre- 
sentatives of youth, beauty, purity, truth, patriotism and honor. His 
wise, just, impartial and beneficent administration of the office of 
Chief Executive of our State, will have an eminent place in our civil 
and political annals, but his name, inscribed on this monument as 
donor, will ever lie his highest honor, as it will associate him for all 
time with the heroic men and deeds that conferred immortal glory 
on the Battle of Guilford Court House." 

This was the expression of a political opponent in high judi- 
cial station, and the hand that penned these lines has itself been 
folded in its last rest. 

Two years later, he added the superb stature of Major Joseph 
Winston, crowning the monument erected to his men. At the 
first view of this work of art, the Greensboro Recovd declared : 

" With spontaneous feelings of gratitude and reverence, the name 
of Holt came upon every lip. How happy must be the man who had 
means and magnanimity enough to erect this great tribute to the 
memory of the heroes who laid deep and strong the foundations of 
the mightiest government upon eartli ! 

"The name of Thomas Michael Holt will grow in lustre, and 
invoke the reverence of posterity. His example will be commended 
to ambitious and enlightt^ned youtli, as the noblest type of manhood. 
May God bless him and inspire many to imitate his virtues! " 

At tlie unveiling of the statue. Dr. Winston said : 

"On the 27th February, 1775, Josep Winston, with the Surry Kifle- 
men, at Moore's Creek, gained the first battle of the Revolution 
fought upon Southern soil. Six years later, on the i6th March, 1781, 
on yonder hill, .Joseph AVinston, with the Surry I\iflemen, made the 
last charge upon the British columns, in al)attle tliat practically ended 
the American Revolution. His noble statue stands upon the spot. A 
loyal heart has put it there. Long may the patriotic donor live to 
enrich his State with sterling virtues, and with patriotic munificence 
bless his people and perpetuate his memory ! " 



23 



Of this, the poet said 



" Dead is that soul that does not flame, 
At sight of Guilford's deathless name, 
And her three children's — heirs of fame. 
By Alamance's child 
Graven on that fair memorial to their deed up-]iiled. 

They live who die the world to bless, 

Though never their sod a footstep press. 

As they sink in forgetfulness 

Out on the world's dark verge. 

Oblivion's ocean-moan their only funeral dirge. 

And they still live! when that proud stone 

Is by the battering years o'erthrovvn, 

And, mingled with their dust, is blown 

Round earth's unpeopled shore, 

Then they shall live, and on and on, forever more." 

Already with these kind wislies and prophecies of future hap- 
piness and greater triumphs sounding in his ears, he knew that 
the grasp of mortal disease was upon him. Strengthened to 
endure by his faithful physician and son-in-law, and by his 
annual rest at Buffalo Springs, with friends that he loved, con- 
spicuous among whom was President Cuningham, he yet recog- 
nized the coming of the inevitable, with the philosophy of a 
Socrates, or rather, with the sublime faith of the Christian. 

When he came to pay his tril)ute to the Confederate dead, on 
that great day for our State, when her fair women unveiled yon- 
der monumental pile, what he had suffered was written upon his 
face, and the hearts of his friends saidi within them. 

He had rendered distinguished services to education, not only in 
the General Assembly, but as a trustee of Davidson College and 
of the University; by his contributions and his addresses; and 
the last of his public honors in life was the conferring upon him 
of the degree of LL.D. by the University. 

But his deep appreciation of higher education was best shown 
by his aid to the struggling student, unknown to the world. 
Circumstances once forced upon the knowledge of your speaker, 
then in educational life, the flict that Governor Holt kept an 



24 



annual fund, taken from the means with which Providence blessed 
his labors, and devoted it to the help of talented young men, 
shut out by poverty from higher education and greater service 
to society. Revealed in the confidence of the friendship of years, 
this secret of his inner life was not for the applause of men, and 
was not to be made known, but now its memory is part of the 
the priceless legacy of his example. 

In 1855 Governor Holt married Louisa, daughter of Samuel 
and Mary A. B. Moore, and their children were Charles T. Holt, 
Cora M., who married Dr. E. C. Laird, Daisy M., who became 
the wife of Alfred W. Haywood, Esq., Ella N., who married 
Charles Bruce Wright, Esq., and Tlioraas M. Holt, Jr., whose 
untimely death has broken the circle. 

In the bosom of such a family as this was his greatest happi- 
ness, and when the shadows of illness and deep ))hysical depres- 
sion thickened about him, he turned to the loving tenderness of 
that home. 

For forty years he bore an almost romantic affection for the 
wife of his youth, sharing her refined tastes, and eager to antici- 
{)ate her every wish. Never perha|)S were bonds of devotion 
stronger than those of the father and his children, repeating in 
that generation the filial love for his own parents. Many a time 
he recounted to your speaker the lessons of his early days. 
Indeed, his last disappointment was his inability to see the vener- 
able mother who survived him. His brothers found him worthy 
of the name, in all that sacred word implies. 

More than a quarter of a century ago, when the assembled 
Press Association of North Carolina were his guests at Haw 
River, it fell to y<'ur speaker, one of the least of ihem, to reply 
to his cordial welcome, and hail the coming future in cotton 
raanufaclure, under the lead of a Na[)oleon of industry. The 
prediction has been signally verified, but most of the guests, 
like Engelhard and Woodson, Pritchard and Stamps, and their 
compeers have departed, and now their host also. 

Thrown into intimate business relations for five years, and 
honored with his friendship and correspondence for more than 
five times that number, it was especially sad to see in the letters 



25 

of the last mouths of his h'fe, how the depression of continued 
suffering had racked his mind with anxiety, not for himself, or 
so much for those for whom he had provided so well, but for 
the well being of the people, the welfare of the State. 

Yet the star of Christian hope in a better world shone with 
unclouded brilliancy. He had been a ruling elder of the Pres- 
byterian Church more than thirty years, loved the worship of 
God, made the Scriptures the book of his heart, preserved the 
family altar. His was the religion that keepeth itself unspotted 
from the world, and visiteth the widow and the fatherless in their 
affliction. This is holy ground and we may not dwell upon it. 

After patient submission to grievous suffering, the end came 
with a brief attack of pneumonia. In the darkness, he fixed 
the eye of faith upon a Heavenly Father, and resigned his 
beloved ones, assured of a wiser and more loving guardian for 
them than the best of earth. 

It was on Saturday evening, April 11th, 189G. 

His venerated pastor said, " For himself he expressed no 
doubt or fear, but he was anxious for the fntcne of his country, 
for the happiness of the many dependent ui)on him, and the 
prosperity of his beloved State. At the last he gathered about 
him the childreu of his love, and gave ihem to know that he 
was not afraid to die. And with more suffering, the veil of 
unconsciousness fell, and in sleep he 'was not, for God took 
him.'" 

Anticipated as it had been, the shock of his departure was pro- 
found throughout the State. Governor Elias Carr telegraphed : 

"The people of the entire State mourn with yon the j^reat loss sus- 
tained in the deatli of her lionored, i)atri()tic and ljeh)ved Ex-Gov- 
ernor." 

The Council offered the State plat in Oak wood, and requested 
his burial there. 

But he had selected his last resting-place among his kindred, 
as he had chosen friends to bear- him to the tomb. From remote 
sections came an unparalleled gathering of the most eminent in 
Carolina, in every walk of life. Serene and peaceful was his 



26 



look, as he lay among the most exquisite floral tributes from far 
and near, that nature and art could combine. 

For two miles the procession wound its way. Who that was 
there can ever forget the faces of that vast throng? Not one 
but felt that a friend was taken away. All the factories of Ala- 
mance were closed and their bells tolling a people's loss. 

The dignity of sorrow rendered the services august in their 
simplicity. Eight active and twenty honorary pall-bearers bore 
him to the grave,* 

One classmate (Rev. E. H. Harding) lifted his voice in prayer, 
and another (Maj. Jas. W. Wilson) placed the first clod of earth 
upon his coffin. In that hour, the highest and the humblest, 
even in the pain of parting, bent before the Most High, and 
thanked God for the good example of His servant, who had 
kept the faith. 

With one voice the press reflected the feeling of the people. 
The News and Observer said : 

"The hai'd that has guided the four thousand that live in Haw 
River and Graham is stilled ; its work is done, but such works of mail 
live behind him ; glancing up from the green wooded hills of Ala- 
mance, the great brick chimneys will stand as monuments, and the 
smoke that pours from their throats will go up as incense from a peo- 
])le who remember their employer not as a master, but as a friend." 

The Charlotte Observer was prompt to declare : 

"North Carolina has had few, if any, better Governors than Hon 
Thomas M. Holt made it, and yet it is not on his record as legislator 
and Governor, as honorable to the State and creditable to himself, as 
it is, that his fame deserves to rest, but in this, that he has added as 
much or more than any other man, to the State's material welafre. 
He has created industries, he has given employment to labor, he has 



*The active pall-bearers were-: G. P. Albright, J. S. Ouningham, 
S. F. Telfair, Kenehan Oameron, Benjamin Robinson, T. B. AVomack ; 
and the honorary pall-bearers were : A. B. Anelrevvs, \Vm. Boylan. Sr., 
Elias Garr, Li. 11. Battle, G. M. Busbee, J. G. Caldwell, G. B. Denson, 
K. T. (jray, T. D. Hogg, G. G. Latta, James McKee, P. B. Kuffin, 
J. E. Shepherd, Plenry Fries, F. .J. Haywood, Thomas S. Kenan, J. G. 
MacKae, A. M. McPheeters, Sidney Scott, J. W. Wilson. 



27 



elevated people who but for him would have occupied lower stations. 
Advancing himself, lie has helped others. He has added to the sum 
of human liappiness, and been a benefactor to liis race." 

The Reidsville Revieiv contained this just and touching tribute : 

" Thomas Holt has been a man of the people, and not of the purple. 
The honors of public station have displayed and emphasized the vir- 
tues of his private walk. In every relation of life the native nobility 
■of his character has asserted itself. 

" As a gentleman, he was a modern Sir Gaiahad. He was a million- 
aire in money, but a multi-millionaire in manliness. He was a man 
of strong, unconventional, elementary common sense. His mental 
processes were not intricate, but his judgment unerring. The allure- 
ments of official ambition could not tempt him, nor the temporary pas- 
sion of popular clamor move him from following the dictates of duty. 

" In the Governor's chair, at the head of one of the greatest indus- 
trial interests of the State — in all of the large spheres of business and 
political activities in which he moved, a strong, central figure, he 
remained the same simple, sincere man — the wise and candid coun- 
sellor, the kind friend, the sympathetic neighbor. 

" Of larger build and stronger mold than most of his fellows, wealth 
could not deafen his ear, deaden his nerves, and destroy the finer sen- 
sibilities of humanity, nor could position exalt him above those whom 
men call ' the plain people.' He retained his love for the people, as 
he always remained one of the people. ' God rest thee, noble gentle- 
man !' 

"Death may cut short your useful, your illustrious career, but 
your noble example will live as the gentle and gracious memory of 
a kindlier day." 

To note briefly the expressions which came from this and many 
other States. 

The Greensboro Record affirmed : 

" For forty years he was an influential factor in the Slate's history, 
a foremost leader in industrial upbuilding, education and acjvance- 
ment, agricultural improvement, and political reformation." 

A writer in the Atlanta Journal said : 

" Few men in North Carolina could be so missed as Thos. M. Holt. 
His life was a beautiful example of integrity of pur])ose and love for 
the State of liis nativity. And tlie people loved him." 



28 



The Fisherman and .Farmer of the far Northeast, used this 
hmguage : 

" North Oarolina inourn.s the death of one of her most faithful sons, 
and every citizen of the State feels that he has lost a personal friend. 

" (jovernor Holt was to North Oarolina as Lee to the South and 
Washington to his country." 

The Wilmington Star declared: 

"As a citizen, iie w*as patriotic and devoted; as a son, fond and 
proud of his mother State ; as a business man, broad-gauged and pro- 
gressive. In every position he served North Carolina well and loyally. 
She may have produced more brilliant sons, but none have gone from 
her more deserving of honored remembrance." 

The Keivs and Observer said : 

"The people mourn the death of a patriot and a Christian — there 
are no terms of higher eulogy. He loved his State as he loved his 
family, was proud of its achievements,, jealous of its good name, and 
devoted to its every interest. He patterned his life by the precepts 
of the Gospel. As he grew older, the Bible became more and more to 
him the word of life. To intimate friends he loved to talk of religious 
things, and left behind the assurance that ' all is well.' " 

Perhaps the most discriminating judgment was pronounced by 
Edward J. Hale : 

" lie was Tiot gifted with those brilliant (jualities that ciiarm for the 
moment, but pass away, to leave nothing of good to human kind. But 
his was the genius to produce great results from a systematized con- 
trol of his faculties that has ])robably had no ecjual in the history of 
our State. 

" This was the source of his peculiar strength, which often surjjassed 
even his friends and intimates, and we repeat the statement made 
when he retired from office, that North Carolina never had an abler 
executive, and few who were his ecpial." 

Time forbids to linger longer over this sad, but precious privi- 
lege, accorded to one who loved him for half a life time, to por- 
tray his matchless life and character. Rather has it seemed meet 
to record utterances of the gifted pens of others throughout our 
borders. Bereavement is too recent to trust one's self to per- 
sonal recollections. 



29 

Yet, let us declare to the young who Khali follow that this man 
was the highest type of their race, the noblest example for their 
imitation. He reverenced womanhood ; he never stooped to 
vice. With the one han<i he was diligent in his calliug, with 
the other lie remembered the poor. Hiscoat-of-arms might well 
be that of Swift's imaginary kingdom, with the figure of the 
an^el lifting the lame to his feet again. 

He loved children ; his eyes brightened as he spoke of his own, 
and not a page on this floor but worshipped him. He gave his 
best to every duty. 

Self-control was the central power of his life, and the key of 
success. And so the man was greater than his offices, Governor 
though he was; larger than his wealth, extensive as it might be; 
stronger than his talents, however numerous and useful ; immeas- 
urably more than anything he did, it was for himself, for what 
he was, honest, good and true, that his people loved him. 

North Carolina's annals are illumined by great names. Nash, 
at Germantowu, in the smoke of battle, and Murfree, on his 
bloody path of glory at Stony Point, no less than Pettigrew, 
upon the heights of Gettysburg, and Whiting amid the shells of 
Fisher; Blakely Jones, on the deck of the Wasp, and Bagley, in 
the bay of Cardenas, transmit her traditions from generation to 
generation, and they will be watchwords for daring and valor 
forever. 

Nor are her civic glories less. As long as she exists, a Macon's 
undaunted independence, a Murphy's provident forethought, the 
judgment of Ruffin, celebrated around the world, the learning of 
Badger, the enterprise of Morehead, the wisdom of Graham, the 
culture of Gaston, or the eloquence of Vance, will be the jewels 
of her coronet. Conspicuous among these, too, will be the star, 
typical of patriotism, that emblazons the fame of Holt, aglow 
with the fire of pride in his State, and love of her people. Of 
all that brilliant galaxy, a peculiar splendor, a serene and celes- 
tial halo hangs about the name of him who, while revering the 
past and building monuments to heroic virtue, led the way to 
the future, with every throb of his great heart and effort of his 



so 



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nnfliticliing- will, aud lifted thousands of" his coiiiitrvineii to bet- 
ter things and happier lives. 

God bless the memory of the statesman who can make honest 
firesides hap})v I His victories are not shows of a day, but for 
all time; his trinmphs may not be inscribed in letters of brass, 
but they are written on the hearts of the people. 

Another has said with tender y-raee : 



'•It were well tliat the niemory ol' ^uich a man be kei>t green. ^.O 
Xortli Carolinian ever did more for his State, nor did any man ever go 
to his grave with cleaner hands or a])nrerheart. Appreciation of his 
virtues (lid not end witii hit^ death." 

No, it did not end with his death, and when the time shall 
come, as eome it will, that North Carolina shall rear the lanrel- 
crownet^ marble to the memory of Thomas Michael Holt, let her 
remember the words that the statesman wrote for the nnveilino: 
of his gift of Winston's statue, when he no longer had the 
strength to speak. Snrely his own unconscious pen traced his 
fittest epitaph : 

" If I know my own heart. I desire no other eartlily lot than to lie 
able to add my mite to the furtherance of the !iai)piness of the i)e(>i)le 
and the glory of North (Carolina." 



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