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From a portrait by William Carl Broune, 1859, in possession of John Motley 

Morehead III, Rye, N. Y., showing the charter of the 

North Carolina R. R. in his right hand 

John Motley Morehead 


The Development 


North CaroHna 





"The Life and Writings of James Wilson," 



An Introddction 



Judge of the United States District Court, Eastern District of 

North Carolina 




Copyright, 1922 


Burton Alva Konkle 






Walter Roy Konkle 




































Chapter XVI. 

Chapter XVII. 

A Son of the Piedmont, 1796 1 

Under Three Great Teachers, 1811 12 

Love as Well as Law, and "Quiescere non 

Possum," 1819 36 

Lost Atlantis' Legacy of Problems to North 

Carolina 50 

Morehead Attacks the Educational and Con- 
stitutional Problems, 1821 63 

Other Problems Follow, 1822 76 

Measures for Development and Its Organ, a 

New Constitution, 1828 101 

Revision of the Constitution and Transfer 

of Political Power to the West, 1835. 144 

Morehead and the Rise of the Whig Party 

in North Carolina, 1836 170 

A Whig Leader and Governor and the First 

Railways, 1840 199 

The Same Continued, 1842 225 

A National Whig Leader, a Presidential Pos- 
sibility and President of the National 
Whig Convention, Philadelphia, 1845. 273 

His Campaign to Unite East and West 

North Carolina by Railroads, 1849... 294 

President and Builder of the North Caro- 
lina Railroad, 1850 308 

Building the Eastern Extension and. an 
Ocean Port, and Whig Leadership, 
1856 324 

He Enters the Assembly to Defend and Ex- 
tend the Railway West and North. A 
Great Vision of Transportation, 1858. 345 

Defender of the Union in the State Senate 

and National Whig Convention, 1859. . 363 

Chapter XVIII. The Peace Conference : Governor More- 
head's Last Efforts to Preserve the 
Union, 4th February, 1861 374 

Chapter XIX. In the Confederate Provisional Congress, 

Richmond, July, 1861-February, 1862. 386 

Chapter XX. The Closing Years of "The Father of Mod- 
ern North Carolina," 1862-1866 399 


I. Frontispiece : John Motley Morehead I. 
II. Maps of the Piedmont and Roanoke Valley.. 1 

III. Maps of Virginia Counties Created, 1634 to 

1675, with Kent Island 2 

IV. Maps of Virginia Counties Created, 1671 to 

1733 4 

V. Maps of Virginia Counties Created 1734 to 

1748 5 

VI. Lauchope House, Lanarkshire, Scotland 6 

VII. "Old South Hall" and Dialectic Society, Uni- 
versity of North Carolina 24 

VIII. Map of North Carolina, with places men- 
tioned, 1819 36 

IX. Archibald DeBow Murphey 42 

X. Book-plate of John Motley Morehead 49 

XI. Maps Showing the Origin of North Carolina, 

1665 to 1695 54 

XII. Maps of North Carolina County Development, 

1696 to 1749 56 

XIII. State Capitol at Raleigh, 1794-1831 64 

XIV. Map of North Carolina, showing what is 

now Tennessee, 1783 68 

XV. Map of North Carolina, showing East-West 

and Valley Divisions, 1821 74 

XVI. "Blandwood," the Morehead residence, 

Greensboro, in 1921 80 

XVII. First "Carlton" letter, heading and signature, 

1827 92 

XVIII. Joseph Caldwell 96 

XIX. The Original Cotton Mill of Mr. Morehead 

at Leaksville (Spray), N. C 104 

XX. Map of North Carolina, showing Eastern 

Counties that joined the West, 1831 110 

XXI. Map of North Carolina, showing vote for, 
and ratification of the new State Consti- 
tution, 1835 168 

XXII. First Picture of a Train in a Xorth Carolina 

Paper, 1836 170 

XXIII. Map of X'orth Carolina, showing the Whig 

Vote of 1836 174 

XXIV. Edgeworth Female Seminary, Greensboro, 

X. C '. 178 

XXV. A Raleigh & Gaston Railroad Coach, First 

Picture, 1838 182 

XXVI. A Georgia Train, of 1838 184 

XXVII. Map of Xorth Carolina, showing Railroads 

and Whig Vote, 1840 210 

XXVIII. Executive Mansion, or "Government House," 

Raleigh, 1840 212 

XXIX. The Capitol, Raleigh, 1840 and Today 214 

XXX. Governor John Motley Morehead, 1841 216 

XXXI. Xational Whig Convention Hall, Philadel- 
phia, exterior and interior, 1848 282 

XXXII. .Mrs. John Motley Morehead, 1855 320 

XXXIII. Railroad Map of North Carolina in 1856.... 322 

XXXIV. Map of Morehead City (Port), North Caro- 

lina, 1857 340 

XXXV. ?klap of North Carolina, showing Unionist 

Vote, 1860 370 

XXXVI. Confederate Capitol, Richmond, 1861-65.... 392 

XXXVII. Railroad Map of North Carolina in 1865.... 412 
XXXVIII. Bust of Governor John Motley Morehead, at 

Raleigh 418 


In 1906, when the present writer was director of the 
patriotic effort to honor the chief maker of our national 
constitution, James Wilson, by removing his remains from 
Edenton, North Carolina, to Philadelphia, the leaders of that 
state were so generous and gracious in their cooperation, that 
I expressed the hope that both Pennsylvania and myself 
might render some reciprocal service in recognition of it. 

Fourteen years passed before the opportunity came, when 
I accidentally came to know something of the career of this 
famous Carolina statesman, Governor John Motley More- 
head, and his relations to the development of that great 
state. By a strange coincidence, his name was the earliest 
public name to fasten itself in the mind of the writer, as a 
mere boy in Indiana overhearing a conversation of his 
parents, in which occurred the expression "How could so 
good a man as Governor Morehead do it?" — meaning, 
thereby, join the secession movement. Doubtless the reason 
why this caught the Hoosier lad's attention in those middle 
'60s, was because he had never before heard that a secession- 
ist could be "good," so he wondered about this unique case 
and remembered it. When the boy grew to be a man, how- 
ever, and was nursed in an illness in the South, where he was 
writing some sketches, by the daughter of a Confederate 
Congressman and sister of a General in her armies, the veil 
fell from those same parents' eyes and they saw that good- 
ness was by no means confined to one section ; while the son 
came to have some of the dearest friends of his life in the 
Southland, and became one of the generation that knows 
no South, no East, no West, no North, but only one mag- 
nificent country. 

To write a life of Morehead, therefore, became to one 
who, for twenty-five years had written on Pennsylvania's 
relation to national history, a unique adventure, made pos- 
sible through the exigencies of the great war. That event 
came at a period when my six-volume. Life and Writings 

of James Wilson, and my David Lloyd and the First Half- 
Century of Pennsylvania were ready for press and hence 
delayed. My George Bryan and the Constitution of Penn- 
sylvania was then produced, and was issued in the spring 
of 1922, while the present volume appears in the following 
autumn. It is the purpose of the writer to issue the Lloyd 
in the spring of 1923 and a new work Thomas Willing and 
the First Half -Century of American Finance the fall of that 
year, to be followed by the six-volume Life and Writings 
of James Wilson, and following that William Wilkins and 
the Rise and Fall of Democracy in Pennsylvania. The 
process sounds much like a bombardment, which, as the 
congestion of issue is due to the great war, may be consid- 
ered perfectly natural. 

In preparing the Morchead and its study of the great state 
of North Carolina, many delightful friendships and cour- 
tesies should be mentioned if they were not so numerous. 
A few must certainly be recognized, and first among them 
are those of my friend Major John Motley Morehead III, 
the distinguished scientist and engineer of the Union Carbide 
and Carbon Corporation of New York, grandson of the sub- 
ject of this volume, who, although not a resident of the state 
for nearly thirty years, has become one of her honored sons, 
a discoverer of that notable product acetylene gas, as his 
equally distinguished father, James Turner Morehead, was 
of carbide. Major Morehead issued his own beautiful vol- 
ume. The Morehead Family of Virginia and North Carolina 
in 1921, and his encouragement made the present volume 
possible. In Raleigh the helpfulness of Chief Justice Walter 
Clark, Professor R. D. W. Connor, Dr. D. H. Hill, Mr. R. B. 
House, Col. Fred Olds, Col. J. Bryan Grimes, and others of 
the Historical Commission ; Marshall Delancey Haywood 
of the Law Library; Justice Hoke of the Supreme Court; 
Governor Morrison, Judge H. G. Connor of the United 
States Court ; Col. Samuel A. Ashe, clerk of that Court ; 
Miss Mary Hilliard Hinton; Mr. W. D. Self, clerk of the 
State Corporation Commission; Mrs. H. S. Gay; and last, 
but by no means least. State Librarian, Miss Carrie Brough- 
ton, and her efficient and courteous stafif to whom the writer 

is greatly indebted for aid in his long work in that insti- 
tution. In Greensboro also the aid of Mrs. Joseph M. 
Morehead, her son James T. Morehead, Esq., Mr. Victor 
C. McAdoo, John Michaux, Esq., Judge Wm. B. Bynum 
and Librarian Nellie C. Rowe and her staff of the Public 
Library and former Librarian, Miss Caldwell, must be ac- 
knowledged ; as well as that of Mr. and Mrs. B. Frank 
Mebane, and Senator and Mrs. Walker of Spray; and Mrs. 
W. T. Harris of Danville, Va., as also Mr. and Mrs. Lindsay 
Patterson of Winston-Salem ; John M. Morehead, Esq., of 
Charlotte ; J. Lathrop Morehead, Esq., and Professor Boyd 
of Trinity College, Durham ; Dr. J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton 
of the University of North Carolina ; William Henry Hoyt, 
Esq., of New York; Mrs. J. Allison Hodges; Miss Emma 
Morehead Whitfield and Mr. Morgan P. Robinson of Rich- 
mond, Va., and Mrs. Gen. R. D. Johnston of Winchester, 
Va., cannot be passed by. Among these, the writer is es- 
pecially grateful to Professor Connor and Mr. House for 
patient criticism of the text. He has also to express warm 
appreciation of the willingness of his valued friend, Judge 
Henry G. Connor, to write the introduction — a man of whom 
Bishop Cheshire has recently so beautifully said — "He 
stands so high that no man can be put above him and few on 
his level." 

Finally, a word about the maps : These are chiefly new, 
prepared by the author from the best available sources, and, 
where originals do not exist, by a constructive process based 
on the principle that if a county is wholly derived from an- 
other county the latter must have contained the former — the 
only mode by which an approximate map of some counties 
can be obtained. The maps are designed for illustration of 
the text, however, not as minute and ultimate authorities, 
even though they have aimed at accuracy. That some fron- 
tier counties were created to extend to the Pacific ocean 
illustrates the vague notions of geography and the varying 
extent of British claims westwardly at different periods, 
not necessarily the legal bounds. 




As the result of repeated efforts by the people of Western 
North Carolina to secure amendments to the Constitution of 
1776, a Convention composed of two delegates from each 
County, met at Raleigh, June 4, 1835. The members of this 
Convention were instructed by the Act, pursuant to which 
the people ratified the call, to reduce the number of Senators 
to not less than thirty-four nor more than fifty, to be elected 
by Districts composed of Counties in proportion to the 
amount of public taxes paid into the Treasury of the State 
by the citizens thereof, and to reduce the number of the 
House of Commons to not less than ninety, nor more than 
one hundred and twenty, to be elected by Counties or Dis- 
tricts according to their federal population, each County to 
have at least one member of the House of Commons. The 
adoption of other amendments was committed to the dis- 
cretion of the Convention. The demand for a change in 
the basis of representation had, for more than thirty years, 
been a subject of deep concern, and at times intense 
feeling, to the people of the Central and Western Counties. 
The County system prevented making this and other 
changes necessary to bring the organic law into harmony 
with the growth of the State, and enable the West to 
secure a system of Internal Improvement with State aid. 
This aroused the fear of Eastern Delegates that plans would 
be adopted, fixing upon that Section, where the burden 
would be heaviest, taxation for the building of railroads and 

A prominent Western delegate said : "If the West had the 
power, a system of Internal Improvements would be com- 
menced which would change the face of things and put at 
once a check to the tide of emigration which is depopulating 
the State." 

A leading exponent and advocate of the Eastern view de- 
clared that "Highways, or other modes of transportation, 
would not benefit the West because nine-tenths of their 
land is exhausted and not worth cultivation, contrasted 

with hundreds and thousands of acres brought into market 
in the Southwestern States." 

Swain, Morehead and other Western delegates, with 
Gaston from the East, led the contest for the change. 
Gaston discussed, with the ability and broad patriotism 
which always marked and controlled his course in dealing 
with every question, the origin and history of the contro- 
versy. The struggle of the strong men of the East and the 
West, who were called upon to settle this question, the merits 
of which are so clear to us now, resulted in the adoption of 
the Report, fixing the number of Senators at Fifty, elected 
from Districts formed upon the basis of property and tax- 
ation and the members of the House of Commons at One 
Hundred and Twenty, based upon Federal numbers — each 
County having at least one member, the remaining members 
being apportioned among the larger Counties. This plan was 
adopted by a vote of 75 to 52, the negative vote coming 
from the East. A sufficient number of Eastern delegates, 
under the leadership of Gaston, joining with the West, 
carried the question. It is impossible to understand the "de- 
velopment of North Carolina" from 1835 to 1860, unless we 
read the Debates in the Convention of 1835. 

Morehead, as the advocate and wise leader of those 
policies, was elected Governor in 1840 and again in 1842. 
He was among the earliest, most enthusiastic and influential 
founders of the movement which culminated in the con- 
struction of the North Carolina Railroad and a system of 
roads extending from Beaufort to Charlotte and from Salis- 
bury to the Tennessee line. 

The story of the labors of Governor Morehead, to 
whom the title has been given of the "Architect and Builder 
of Public Works of North Carolina," is intensely interesting 
and stimulating to patriotic pride. This story is most inter- 
estingly told by Mr. Konkle in the following pages. 

Recalling the pessimistic utterances of the reactionary 
sentiment of members of the Convention of 1835, we see the 
realization of the vision of Governor Morehead, Gaston and 
those who co-operated with them, as eloquently and truth- 
fully described by one who has made a study of our history : 
"The traveler today, along the line of the North Carolina 
Railroad, sees the fulfilment of Morehead's dream. He 

finds himself in one of the most productive Sections of the 
New World. He traverses it from one end to the other 
at a speed of forty miles an hour, surrounded by every com- 
fort and convenience of modern travel. He passes through 
a region bound together by a thousand miles of steel rails, 
by telegraph and telephone lines and by nearly two thousand 
miles of improved country roads. He finds a population 
engaged not only in agriculture, but in manufacturing, in 
commerce, in transportation and in a hundred other enter- 
prises. He hears the hum of hundreds of modern mills 
and factories operating millions of spindles and looms by 
steam, water, electricity, employing more than fifty millions 
of capital and sending their products to the uttermost parts 
of the earth. His train passes through farm lands v/hich, 
since Morehead's time, has increased in value more than 
ten fold, producing ten times as much cotton and a hundred 
times as much tobacco. From his car window he sees a 
thousand modern schoolhouses, alive with the energy and 
activity of one hundred thousand school children. He 
passes through cities of twenty to thirty thousand and towns 
of five to ten thousand inhabitants. Better than all, he finds 
himself among a people no longer characterized by lethargy, 
isolation and ignorance, but bristling with energy, alert with 
every opportunity, fired with the spirit of the modern world 
and with their faces steadfastly set to the future. The 
foundation on which all this prosperity and progress rests is 
the work done by John M. Morehead or inspired by 

But my office is to introduce the author and invite the 
reader, who would know the mental, moral, political and 
social qualities and characteristics of the "rare individual, 
both architect and contractor, both poet and man of action, 
to whom is given the power to dream and the power to exe- 
cute," of whom Mr. Konkle has made a thorough sympa- 
thetic study and of whom he has preserved a faithful and 
most interesting history to a closer acquaintance with his 
hero. Mr. Konkle has, by a careful, intelligent study of 
our records, made a permanent and most valuable contribu- 
tion to the history of the State of North Carolina and her 

H. G. Connor. 

with hundreds and thousands of acres brought into market 
in the Southwestern States." 

Swain, Morehead and other Western delegates, with 
Gaston from the East, led the contest for the change. 
Gaston discussed, with the ability and broad patriotism 
which always marked and controlled his course in dealing 
with every question, the origin and history of the contro- 
versy. The struggle of the strong men of the East and the 
West, who were called upon to settle this question, the merits 
of which are so clear to us now, resulted in the adoption of 
the Report, fixing the number of Senators at Fifty, elected 
from Districts formed upon the basis of property and tax- 
ation and the members of the House of Commons at One 
Hundred and Twenty, based upon Federal numbers — each 
County having at least one member, the remaining members 
being apportioned among the larger Counties. This plan was 
adopted by a vote of 75 to 52, the negative vote coming 
from the East. A sufificient number of Eastern delegates, 
under the leadership of Gastoii, joining with the West, 
carried the question. It is impossible to understand the "de- 
velopment of North Carolina" from 1835 to 1860, unless we 
read the Debates in the Convention of 1835. 

Morehead, as the advocate and wise leader of those 
policies, was elected Governor in 1840 and again in 1842. 
He was among the earliest, most enthusiastic and influential 
founders of the movement which culminated in the con- 
struction of the North Carolina Railroad and a system of 
roads extending from Beaufort to Charlotte and from Salis- 
bury to the Tennessee line. 

The story of the labors of Governor Morehead, to 
whom the title has been given of the "Architect and Builder 
of Public Works of North Carolina," is intensely interesting 
and stimulating to patriotic pride. This story is most inter- 
estingly told by Mr. Konkle in the following pages. 

Recalling the pessimistic utterances of the reactionary 
sentiment of members of the Convention of 1835, we see the 
realization of the vision of Governor Morehead, Gaston and 
those who co-operated with them, as eloquently and truth- 
fully described by one who has made a study of our history: 
"The traveler today, along the line of the North Carolina 
Railroad, sees the fulfilment of Morehead's dream. He 

finds himself in one of the most productive Sections of the 
New World. He traverses it from one end to the other 
at a speed of forty miles an hour, surrounded by every com- 
fort and convenience of modern travel. He passes through 
a region bound together by a thousand miles of steel rails, 
by telegraph and telephone lines and by nearly two thousand 
miles of improved country roads. He finds a population 
engaged not only in agriculture, but in manufacturing, in 
commerce, in transportation and in a hundred other enter- 
prises. He hears the hum of hundreds of modern mills 
and factories operating millions of spindles and looms by 
steam, water, electricity, employing more than fifty millions 
of capital and sending their products to the uttermost parts 
of the earth. His train passes through farm lands which, 
since Morehead's time, has increased in value more than 
ten fold, producing ten times as much cotton and a hundred 
times as much tobacco. From his car window he sees a 
thousand modern schoolhouses, alive with the energy and 
activity of one hundred thousand school children. He 
passes through cities of twenty to thirty thousand and towns 
of five to ten thousand inhabitants. Better than all, he finds 
himself among a people no longer characterized by lethargy, 
isolation and ignorance, but bristling with energy, alert with 
every opportunity, fired with the spirit of the modern world 
and with their faces steadfastly set to the future. The 
foundation on which all this prosperity and progress rests is 
the work done by John M. Morehead or inspired by 

But my office is to introduce the author and invite the 
reader, who would know the mental, moral, political and 
social qualities and characteristics of the "rare individual, 
both architect and contractor, both poet and man of action, 
to whom is given the power to dream and the power to exe- 
cute," of whom Mr. Konkle has made a thorough sympa- 
thetic study and of whom he has preserved a faithful and 
most interesting history to a closer acquaintance with his 
hero. Mr. Konkle has, by a careful, intelligent study of 
our records, made a permanent and most valuable contribu- 
tion to the history of the State of North Carolina and her 

H. G. Connor. 




/ j^rr 




>K /^' r 

M ■ 


Map of the Piedmont 
Prepared by the author 

Map of the Roanoke Valley 
Prepared by the author 



U A /■■ 

T' " 




-■^ -:h:^ 


A Son of the Piedmont 


If on July 4, 1796, the Goddess of Liberty had already 
surmounted the dome of a Capitol and a Washington, yet 
to be, on the banks of the Potomac; and she could have 
raised to her eyes a seven-leagued field-glass and looked 
with superhuman view to the southwestward and beheld a 
strip of land about one hundred miles wide, lined with 
Appalachian foot-hills on the right and the water-falls of 
every river that crossed it on the left, generally about a 
hundred miles back from the ocean, and extending through 
four states and into Alabama at Montgomery — the capi- 
toline deity would have covered in her purview a region 
that has a peculiar character and has acquired exclusive 
possession of the name "Piedmont."^ And in her fore- 
ground, her glass would have easily picked out, among more 
than a score of rivers that cross it, with their rich valleys, 
one among the most rich and most extensive, in its wind- 
ings, lacing together the two states of Virginia and North 
Carolina, prefiguring a time to come when bands of iron 
should replace it. This rich region is the valley of the 
Roanoke, which lies like a great wallet full of treasures 
toward the foot-hills, with its neck ready to pour them 
through Carolina into the Albemarle, if she should have a 
port to receive it or the water-falls did not choke the passage. 
And could so extensive a view permit the Goddess to see 
things more minute, she would have witnessed, in the very 
heart of the upper part of the valley in the lands between the 
lower two- of three great tributaries, the Dan and Banister 

^Technically, the name Piedmont is applied only to the western half; but 
the line of separation is so indefinite that the name is often applied to the 


rivers, on a farm in Pittsylvania county, Virginia, near the 
Carolina border, the birth of a farmer boy, John Motley 
Morehead, destined to be one of the great figures of Pied- 
mont and national history. 

His grandfather, Joseph Morehead, had been attracted 
by the fame of the Roanoke Valley, from the ancient home 
of the family in the head of the Piedmont, just below the 
site of the future national capital, a region that was also the 
head of that great peninsula between the Potomac and the 
Rappahannock more commonly known by the not euphoni- 
ous name of "Northern Neck" — a region made famous as 
the birth-place of a Washington, Madison, Monroe and a 
Marshall. Indeed the great Chief Justice was born only 
five years before John, the youngest son of Joseph More- 
head, and father of our subject, and equally near in the 
same territory in Fauquier county, the latter's birth occur- 
ring on May 9, 1760. Joseph had named this son after his 
aged father, John Morehead I, who had pioneered, like 
the Washingtons, with the creation of successive counties 
as settlement progressed up the "Neck," from his birth about 
1689 in the old original Northumberland county, to King 
George county created in 1720, to Prince William erected 
ten years later, and finally to Fauquier, created just the 
year before his grandson name-sake was born. 

The tale of how John Morehead I came to be born at 
the foot of the "Northern Neck" is one of the most romantic 
in American annals.^ The father of John Morehead I, was 
Charles Morehead (or Muirhead), who is said to be a 
younger son of David Morehead, or, as he himself spelled 
it, David Muirhead, the distinguished London and Edin- 
burgh merchant and colonizer, who appears, in 1630, to have 
sent this son, Charles, over to Charles Fs newly organized 
colony of Virginia, as a factor at Kecoughtan (now Hamp- 
ton), where Secretary of State William Claiborne was a most 
enterprising figure, and for three years had been officially 
designated to explore new lands for colonizing purposes. 

^ For fuller detail see the beautiful volume, The Morehead Familv of North 
Carolina and Virginia, by Major John Motley Morehead (III) of New York 
City, issued in 1921. 1=^ 




Counties Created in 1634 


Virginia Countie " 
Prepa I 
Kent Island is shown on 



;*TED FROM 1634 TO 1671 

' the author 

No. 1 in Upper Chesapeake Bay 





On one of his exploratory voyages northward, he was at- 
tracted to the largest island in the Chesapeake as a coloniz- 
ing proposition and named it Kent Island, then far within 
the bounds of that colony and opposite the present site of 

Forthwith he went to London and on May 16, 1631, 
secured a commission from Charles I, enlisted the capital 
of a few merchants as partners, one of whom, Thompson, 
had been a factor in Kecoughtan, and one Cloberry owning 
most of the stock; and finally Captain Claiborne, later in 
May, set out to buy Kent Island from the Indians and begin 
settlement. This was the first of many successive expedi- 
tions to the Kent Island colony; but within a year, Lord 
Baltimore, whose St. Lawrence colony had failed, persuaded 
His Catholic Majesty, Charles I, to give him the upper part 
of Virginia above the Potomac, which, to the consternation 
of the Kent Island owners, would place them under Balti- 
more, or confiscate all their laborious and expensive col- 
onization. The vacillation of Charles I, which, was to yet 
cost him his head, precipitated a contest which covered sev- 
eral years and made civil war on the Chesapeake between 
the Kent Island company and Baltimore's new colony of 
Maryland. Merchant Cloberry was the only one of Cap- 
tain Claiborne's company who was not discouraged at the 
prospect, and in 1634, when Baltimore's first colony arrived, 
he bought out the timid ones, and found more doughty 
partners in David Morehead and one or two others. They 
sent one of the partners, George Evelin, over to handle the 
matter diplomatically if possible ; but Captain Claiborne 
was for war, not diplomacy, and the war continued in one 
form or another for a dozen years, long after the death of 
David Morehead, which occurred in September, 1642. Five 
years after his death, however, in 1647, the colony sub- 
mitted to Lord Baltimore, although echoes of the conflict, 
legally, continued down to at least 1677. 

Meanwhile the Crown seemed inclined to grant com- 
pensatory lands in Virginia ; and Claiborne and others re- 
ceived estates in that part nearest the Maryland colony, 
namely, in the new county of Northumberland, covering all 


of the "Northern Neck" westward to the Pacific Ocean, 
and about half of the next peninsula below the Rappahan- 
nock, which was created about three years after David 
Morehead's death. Just how soon after this Charles More- 
head moved up from Kecoughtan to his new lands in North- 
umberland county cannot be known, because of destruction 
of necessary county records in 1711, about six years after 
his will was probated by his eldest sons, who became execu- 
tors, among other children, for his youngest son, John 
Morehead I, a child of his latest years, in the region of the 
Great Wicomico river near Heathsville. 

The Morehead family, therefore, had been in Virginia 
for one hundred and sixty-six years, when the birth of John 
Motley Morehead occurred on the nineteenth anniversary 
of the Declaration, in the second administration of the first 
great Piedmont President of the "Northern Neck," George 

But if the tale of their settlement in Virginia was ro- 
mantic, it was not more so than the career of the family in 
Great Britain, whom Sir Walter Scott celebrated in his 
Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, the valiant defender of 
the King, John Muirhead of Lauchope and Bullis, in the 
ballad entitled : 

"Afore the King in order stude 
The stout laird of Muirhead, 
Wi' that same twa-hand muckle sword 
That Bartram fell'd stark dead. 

"He sware he wadna lose his right 
To fight in ilka field ; 
Nor budge him from his liege's sight, 
Till his last gasp should yield. 

"Twa hunder mair, of his ain name, 
Frae Torwood and the Clyde, 
Sware they would never gang to hame, 
But a' die by his syde. 

"And wondrous weel they kept their troth ; 

This sturdy royal band 
Rush'd down the brae, wi' sic a pith, 
That nane could them withstand. 



Virginia Counties 

Where western limits were indefinite they were asl 

according tJ 



ED FROM 1672 TO 1733 
the author 

d, and sometimes stated to be to the Pacific Ocean 
lonial claims 





Virginia Counties Created from 1734 to 1748 

Prepared by the author 

Halifax, 1752, west of which Pittsylvania was created, and Fauquier, 1759, 

are also indicated 

^ ^ 



Virginia Counties Created from 1734 to 1748 

Prepared by the author 

Halifax, 1752, west of which Pittsylvania was created, and Fauquier, 17S9, 

are also indicated 


"Mony a bloody blow they dealt, 
The like was never seen ; 
And hadna that braw leader fall'n, 
They ne'er had slain the King." 

The King, in this case, was James IV, and the battle, that 
great one on the Flodden spur of Cheviot Hills, of Sep- 
tember 9, 1513, so graphically described in the sixth canto 
of Marmion; while John Muirhead, the Laird of Lauchope 
and Bullis, was the officer in charge of the Crown lands of 
Galloway and his clan body-guard of the King, and thus 
lost his life against the forces of Henry VHI. This Laird's 
father, who died seven years before, had been Knighted by 
King James IV, Sir William Muirhead of Lauchope, and 
his grandfather knighted by Richard III shortly before 
1485, the first Sir William Muirhead of Lauchope; while, 
during Columbus' voyages, one of the Muirheads, Dr. 
Richard, was Secretary of State and, twenty years before, 
another was Bishop of Glasgow. The clan began in Clydes- 
dale before 1122, over four hundred years before the 
"Laird of Muirhead" slept on Flodden Field with his King, 
and Lauchope House had a new master, and what was left 
of the clan, a new head. 

Lauchope House, located some eleven miles eastwardly 
of Glasgow in Lanarkshire, Bothwell Parish, about a mile 
northeastwardly of Hollytown, was rebuilt in the early half 
of the nineteenth century, "an old mansion," "elegant" and 
"tastefully embellished," "a tower-house with walls of re- 
markable thickness," "the seat of a very ancient family, the 
parent stem of the Muirheads," and "gave refuge on the 
eve of his flight from Scotland, to Hamilton of Bothwell- 
haugh, Murray's assassin at Linlithgow (1570)" in loyalty 
to Queen Mary Stuart, and to the Hamiltons, with whom 
the Muirheads inter-married.^ The old Muirhead mansion 
is still one of the beautiful country seats of Scotland, as it 
was a tower of strength in the days of the Scottish Chief 
who fell on Flodden Field. 

For when John Muirhead I, of Lauchope died his son 

1 Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 1846; Groome's Ordinance 
Gazetteer of Scotland, 1903; and Miiirhead's Life of James Watts. James 
Watts, the famous engineer's mother was Agnes Muirhead, before her marriage. 


John Muirhead II became head of the clan and master of 
Lauchope House ; but it was the great-great-grandson of the 
hero of Flodden Field, James Muirhead II who had oc- 
casion again to bring disaster on his house and clan by his 
doughty strokes as a leader of unsuccessful Covenanter 
rebels who were proclaimed exiles in 1579, and thereby 
brought practical ruin on the family estates. Indeed he was 
so dangerous to the Crown that his son, James Muirhead 
III, of Lauchope, and other relatives had to go on his bond 
to keep the peace for the remaining thirty years of his life ; 
and this son was the last of his direct line to own Lauchope 
House. It was a younger son, David Muirhead, born at 
Lauchope House, whose grandson, David Muirhead (III) 
became the distinguished London and Edinburgh merchant 
and colonizer of Virginia lands in the 1630s through his 
younger son, Charles of Northumberland county and the 
"Northern Neck," and the latter, thereby, brought into 
common use the Anglicized form of the name Morehead, 
which came to prevail throughout the "Northern Neck" and 
the Piedmont. 

As in Scotland, the Moreheads inter-married with well- 
known Virginia and Maryland families, Charles' grandsons, 
Charles and Joseph of Fauquier county, both married 
daughters of a revolutionary heroine, Keren-happuch (Nor- 
man) Turner, who, like Molly Pitcher and Hannah Dustin, 
is immortalized in a statue ; in her case, it is on the battle- 
field of Guilford Court House, near Greensboro, N. C, to 
celebrate the long horse-back ride from Maryland to act as 
nurse to her own and others wounded in that famous action.* 
One of her grandsons, under General Greene, was John 
Morehead, born in Fauquier county, Virginia, on May 9, 
1760, as had been said, and he was married in 1790 to Miss 
Obedience Motley, a daughter of Captain Joseph Motley, 
a Church of England Welsh planter and trader of Amelia 
county, Virginia. Miss Motley, born in 1768, also had heroic 
and tragic experiences in that conflict: her father was a 
captain under Colonel George Washington in the French 

^ It is related of her that she improvised what amounted to the modern ice 
pack to keep fever down, in the form of a mode of dripping cold spring water 
over the wounded. 

f. o V 


















^ o 


and Indian Wars, and was present at Braddock's defeat, 
while six of her brothers were soldiers of the Revolution. 
As a child, she witnessed in the temporary absence of her 
father, the treachery of a Tory neighbor, who was leading 
a guerrilla warfare, and, deliberately cut an artery in the 
arm of her sick mother, lying in bed with an infant, so that 
she bled to death before aid could reach her; while some 
years later she heaped coals of fire on the head of her 
mother's murderer, by nursing him when he was accidentally 
brought to her home in a serious illness. She often told 
of her old nurse, to whose care this tragedy consigned the 
care of the young children : Rachel "had been an African 
Princess, and, being sent one day to drive the birds from 
the rice fields, was suddenly kidnapped, a bag thrown over 
her head, and herself carried away captive and sold as a 
slave in America. She was faithful and kind and became 
a real mother to the ten children when left to her care. 
There was a boy also, from Africa, among the slaves, and 
they talked with each other in their language. He often 
said he would go back to his people, for whom he sighed. 
One morning he was found hanging to a tree in the yard 
and Rachel explained that he had gone to his own country. 
The children wept for him, and only Rachel, whom they 
loved devotedly, could console them. She had fiowers 
tattooed on her breast for beauty.'" Miss Obedience, like 
her sisters, learned to spin and weave their clothes and the 
household cotton and linen. 

It was she who was one of John Morehead's pupils 
when, on one occasion, he was teaching the young people 
dancing and he was so worried by her that he laid his bow 
on her shoulder and remonstrated with her — and made her 
his wife. They were a great contrast : he was versatile and 
many-sided ; could officiate as a squire and marry people, 
pray with the sick and dying, preach a sermon of good 
Presbyterian doctrine, was a poet, a soldier, a planter, fond 
of the chase and social life. He hated slavery and tried 
to take measures against it ; and has been described as a 

1 Tlie Morehead Family of North Carolina and Virginia, by Major John 
Motley Morehead of New York, pp. 104-5, in the State Library, Raleigh, N. C. 


man far ahead of his times, in morals and intelligence. 
Many stories are told of him, even yet. His young wife 
was more disciplined and practical; and when he thanked 
Providence for whatever was sent, joys or afflictions, and 
she remarked she believed he "would thank the Lord if 
he broke a leg." "Yes, Biddy," said he with a smile, "I 
would, because it wasn't my neck !" His parting benediction 
when a child left home was : "Remember, child, death be- 
fore dishonor." When about eighteen he joined the Revo- 
lutionary Army under General Greene, and was in the battle 
of Cowpens, but was on a war prisoner's detail during the 
battle of Guilford Court House. His old wooden cask- 
canteen may yet be seen in the Museum on the battle-ground, 
now a National Park. It was not until 1790, when he was 
thirty years old, that he was married to Miss Motley, who 
was herself but twenty-two, and they made their new home 
where "Windsor," the home of Samuel Wilson now is near 
the Henry County line, not far from the Dan River in 
Pittsylvania county, also near the North Carolina line, west 
of Danville.^ They lived there but eight years, however, 
while daughters came and their first son, John Motley More- 
head, was born, as has been said, on July 4, 1796. 

Their eyes had been turned longingly to a fertile section 
slightly south of them, just over the North Carolina line. 
Over a half-century before, in 1733, "Colonel W'illiam Byrd 
of Westover in Virginia, Esquire," a famous early surveyor 
and gentleman of the old school, wrote of it as "The Land 
of Eden," in which he had "a fine tract." He tells of cross- 
ing the Dan river "about a mile and a half to the westward 
of the place where the Irvin [river] runs into it," and pass- 
ing over a barren highland, "on a sudden the scene changed 
and we were surpriz'd with an opening of large extent, 
where the Sauro Indians once lived, who had been a con- 
siderable nation. But the frequent inroads of the Senecas 
annoy'd them incessantly, and obliged them to remove from 
this fine situation about 30 years ago. ... It must 
have been a great misfortune to them to be obliged to aban- 

' This location is furnished the writer by Mrs. Joseph M. Morehead of 
Greensboro, N. C. 


don so beautiful a dwelling, where the air is wholesome, and 
the soil equal in fertility to any in the whole world. The 
river is about 80 yards wide, always confined within its 
lofty banks, and rolling- down its waters, as sweet as milk, 
and as clear as crystal. There runs a charming level of 
more than a mile square, that will bring forth like the lands 
of Egypt, without being overflow'd once a year. There is 
scarce a shrub in view to intercept your prospect, but grass 
as high as a man on horse-back. Toward the woods there 
is a gentle ascent, till your sight is intercepted by an emi- 
nence, that overlooks the whole landscape. This sweet place 
is bounded to the east by a fine stream call'd Sauro Creek, 
which running out of [into (?)] the Dan, and tending 
westerly, makes the whole a peninsula. I cou'd not quit 
this pleasant situation without regret, but often faced about 
to take a parting look at it as far as I could see, and so 
indeed did all the rest of the company."^ 

And one of their younger sons, who became a lawyer, 
scholar, and poet, years later, celebrated the region they 
chose near here in a poem of great beauty, entitled the 
Hills of Dan, in one verse of which he says : 

"The world is not one garden spot, 
One pleasure ground for man ; 
Few are the spots that intervene, 
Such as the Hills of Dan."= 

And this spot which they chose, some five miles from 
the old home, and not far from the present site of Spray, 
Rockingham county, North Carolina, southwestward of Dan- 
ville some twenty-five miles, they settled upon in 1798 when 
their son, John Motley, was a baby of two years.^ Here 

^ The Writings of Colonel William Byrd, of Wcstover, in Virginia, Esqr., 
edited by John Spencer Bassett, 1901, pp. 306-7. This beautiful spot, now 
called "The Meadows," is part of a large estate of many thousand acres, owned 
by Mr. B. Frank Mebane, of Spray, whose wife is a great-grand-daughter of 
John and Obedience Motley Morehead. 

- The Hills of Dan, by Abraham Forrest Morehead, 1834, who, as he wished 
in the poem, does rest in the little family burial ground a few yards from the 
site of the old farm-house in which he was born, opposite what is now the 
Powell Store and "Corners," in Rockingham County, a few miles from Spray. 
The old farm-house was burned after his father's death and John Motley More- 
head built a new one for his mother, which still stands. 

^ John Morehead, I am informed by Hugh R. Scott, Esq., of Reidsville, 
bought 200 acres on Horse Pen Creek, on May 29, 1798; 100 more the same 
year on Wolf Island Creek Fork; 100 more on February 14, 1799; and then 
numerous other tracts — all not far from Dan River on these various creeks. 


they reared a family of five daughters and four sons, of 
which latter, John Motley was the eldest. Like Presby- 
terians generally, John Morehead and his family made much 
of religion and education. He, himself, built Mt. Carmel 
Presbyterian Church near his home and often, as has been 
intimated, he also did the preaching. They early determined 
likewise that their four boys should have a college education 
and then should teach their sisters in return ; and not only 
so but that the older boys should aid the younger. It is 
doubtful if ever a family were a better example of what 
can be done in the home as a nursery of higher education ; 
and who can tell how much this plan of John Morehead's 
country home has influenced the educational history of the 
State ? One need not go much further than this to account 
for the educational philosophy and motive that the eldest 
son came to have after he had had a share in teaching both 
brothers and sisters in it ; and the process was certain to 
make him not merely senior, but the recognized head of the 
family as the children grew to manhood and womanhood.' 

While the primary instruction was proceeding in the 
home, John Motley had, in 1810, become fourteen years 
old, and, as Latin was the Apollyon which aspirants for 
higher education must first overcome and no academy 
existed in Rockingham county, at the time. Squire Morehead 
persuaded his neighbor's son, Thomas Settle, a young man 
of nineteen, who had studied Latin and Greek a few months 
in Caswell, the county to the eastward, and was just licensed 
to practice law in Rockingham, to teach his fourteen year 
old son, John Motley Morehead, the elements of Latin, at 
least, during 1810 and a part of the following year, at the 
county-seat of that county, Wentworth. "And then," said 
Hon. Thomas Settle, Jr., "between the teacher and his 
solitary student, commenced a friendship and intimacy which 
death alone terminated."^ There is no doubt but that this 

1 These children were the five sisters and the four brothers, John Motley, 
bom in 1796; James Turner, bom in 1799; Samuel, who died in 1828, and Abra- 
ham Forrest, whose death occurred in 1834. All but Samuel became lawyers, 
James Turner being a distinguished one of the State and a Congressman and 
State Senator. 

^ Address before the bar meeting of Guilford County, N. C, in September, 
1866. Justice Settle afterwards became a member of the Supreme bench of the 
State for a quarter of a century. His wife was a sister of Hon. Calvin Graves, 
of whom the reader will see more anon. 


intimate relation between the young attorney and his Latin 
pupil from the Morehead plantation was to have much to 
do in determining the choice of profession of nearly all of 
the sons of John and Obedience Morehead. Certain it is, 
in that period of tutorship, young John Motley showed him- 
self an apt pupil in the languages and that he got all that 
young Attorney Settle had to give and more. This result 
convinced Squire Morehead of the wisdom of taking im- 
mediate measures to put the young fifteen-year-old student 
in a proper school of higher learning. 


Under Three Great Teachers 

In the year 1811, in Rockingham county, North Carolina, 
no one interested in higher education for his son would, for 
one instant, have to speculate where to find the proper 
school. Indeed the probabilities are that that very desire 
for higher learning in this region was largely due to the 
greatness of the primitive institution of Rev. Dr. Caldwell, 
not far away to the southward, for here was one of the 
greatest natural teachers that America has ever produced; 
and his school had been a famous one for nearly a half- 
century and that, too, imder his own guidance — a North 
Carolina Eton or Phillips-Exeter and more, for it was prac- 
tically an academy, college and theological seminary with 
this remarkable teacher as faculty. 

Rev. Dr. David Caldwell was eighty-six years old in 
1811 and still at work. Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 
in 1725, he graduated from Princeton College the same year 
that John Witherspoon becamiC President of it, 1761. Li- 
censed as a preacher in 1763, he was sent out as a mission- 
ary, the year of the Stamp Act Congress, into the increasing 
settlements pressing southward down the Piedmont to North 
Carolina, and settled as pastor of two Presbyterian Churches, 
Buffalo and Alamance, in the big county of what became 
Guilford, three years before it was created in 1770, and his 
home was about three miles northwest of the present site 
of Greensboro, which in due time became the county seat. 
The young minister, now forty-two years old, had married 
Rachel, the daughter of Rev. Alexander Craighead of Meck- 
lenburg county, and their home became, as has been said, 
an academy, college and theological seminary ; while in 1768 
he was installed pastor of the two churches, one of the new 



school and one of the old school, a relation that continued 
for over a half-century. His home, with himself and wife, 
became a veritable "seminary" to the whole South ; for 
with a constant stream of boys from that section of the 
United States, always about fifty in number, he is said to 
have brought more young men into the learned professions 
than any one man of his time — lawyers, judges, statesmen, 
five governors, congressmen, physicians, ministers — nearly 
all of the Presbyterian ministry of the Carolinas and to the 
south and west, for many years, being trained in his school. 
Indeed seven of his pupils were licensed by Orange Pres- 
bytery in one day and only three or four members who 
admitted them but were also students of the venerable 
teacher. Nor was he merely a teacher and preacher, but 
a great man and leader, and he voiced the rising protest 
against British injustice and stood for the new principles 
of political science being wrought out in colonial aims at 
self-government so vitally different from those of the mother 
country. His home was in the center of that district which 
sought to secure redress of grievances from the notorious 
Governor Tryon, under the name "Regulators," and the 
Battle of Alamance occurred some twenty miles from his 
school. His influence consolidated the Revolutionary Whigs 
and he helped frame the Constitution of 1776 at Halifax, 
North Carolina. He was an intimate friend of the great 
Philadelphia physician-patriot. Dr. Benjamin Rush, under 
whom he had studied medicine as an aid to missionary work ; 
and at the Battle of Guilford Court House, also not far from 
his home and at the edge of the county-seat yet to be created 
and named in honor of General Greene, he cared for the 
wounded of both sides. Lord Cornwallis considered him so 
great a source of inspiration to those who made this battle 
so costly that it has been described as having caused the 
surrender at Yorktown, that the British general camped 
upon his ground, destroyed his property, even his library, 
and proclaimed a price of £200 for his arrest. He rebuilt 
his home and school when the war closed and his last ser- 
vice for the state was in the convention of 1788, in which 
he opposed the new National Constitution. He was then 


sixty-three years old, and saw the National Constitution 
adopted by his state in November of the following year; 
and during the next month a charter was granted for the 
"University of North Carolina," which had been provided 
for in the constitution he had helped make in 1776. That 
he should be offered the Presidency of this new University 
was a matter of course, but he wisely declined it and clung 
to the great work of his life — which was not half done — 
for he was destined to almost top a century and was in 
educational harness until within five of that hundred years. ^ 
That John Morehead and his wife were determined their 
first son, John Motley, should have the prized advantages 
of training under such a teacher, and that the sixteen-year- 
old youth was keenly ambitious to do so, in this year 1811, 
is borne out by the facts.- Years later the boy, then become 
famous, described his and his father's first interview with 
Dr. Caldwell: "In November, 1811," he writes on August 
4, 1852, "my father took me, then in my sixteenth year, 
with a good common English education, from his residence 
in the county of Rockingham, to Dr. Caldwell's — a distance 
of some thirty miles, for the purpose of putting me under 
his care and instruction. I had heard so much of him as an 
instructor and disciplinarian, that I had conceived of him 
as a man of great personal dignity, with a face, the scowl of 
which would annihilate the unlucky urchin who had not 
gotten his lesson well. So I approached his residence with 

^ Dr. Caldwell died Augfust 25, 1824, in his hundredth year, and his re- 
mains lie in the cemetery of Buffalo Presbyterian Church, of which, with Ala- 
mance, he was pastor sixty years. An adequate formal life of this great man 
is needed and at some point in the state, since there seems to be no portrait 
of him, a monument equal to that of any man in the state ought to be erected. 
Maj. Joseph M. Morehead in a sketch of Caldwell for North Carolina Day, 
issued by the State Suf)erintendent of Public Instruction in 1907, says Governor 
Morehead said of Dr. Caldwell that he was "a Jack-at-all-trades and good at 
all." He also indicates that Dr. Caldwell's course in medicine was a "corre- 
spondence course," and, as we know, under Dr. Benjamin Rush. 

- A tradition in the family has it that Mrs. Obedience Morehead was the 
one determined to educate her oldest son, and through him, the rest, and that 
she sold enough produce from the farm to do it. One of the songs she sang at 
her loom had these lines: 

"I raise my own ham 
My beef and my lamb. 
I weave my own cloth 
And I wear it." 

It should be added, however, that some attribute most to John's qualities 
and some most to those of Obedience: and as usual both are right. It was the 
imagination of the one and the hard sense of the other that made John Motley 
Morehead what he was to become. 


fear and trembling. We found, a few hundred yards from 
his house, and near a Httle mill on a small branch — built 
rather to serve as a hobby for amusement than for any 
more practical purpose, an exceedingly old gentleman, bowed 
down by some eighty-six or seven winters, enveloped in a 
large cape made of bear skin, with a net worsted cap on 
his head (for the evening was cool), and supporting him- 
self with a cane not much shorter than his own body — this 
was Dr. Caldwell. My fears of him and his authority were 
at once dissipated. The moment he was informed of our 
business, he remarked that he had long ago abandoned his 
school, and had taught but little since, and then only to 
oblige a neighbor or two ; that he had no pupil at that time, 
and did not wish to engage in teaching again. My father 
reminded him of his promise made, many years before, and 
while he was not teaching, that he would educate his oldest 
son for him. The Doctor replied jocularly that he did not 
consider that that promise bound him to live always, that he 
might comply with it ; and that my father ought to have 
presented his son long since. My father made some answer 
at which the Doctor laughed heartily, and since in a broad 
Scotch accent, which he often assumed when he desired to 
be humorous, or to worry a laggard pupil with a bad lesson 
— 'Weel mon, we must thry and see what we can do with 
the lad ;' and turning to myself, said — 'But mon, have ye 
an appetite for reading?' To which I replied, T am not 
very hungry for it.' The answer seemed to please him, and 
we then proceeded to his house. 

"I took boarding in the neighborhood, and remained 
under his tuition until the fall of 1815 (losing a good deal 
of time, however, from the school), when I went to the 
University of North Carolina, and was admitted a member 
of the Junior class. As I had nearly completed the pre- 
scribed course in the languages under Dr. Caldwell, I studied 
no Latin or Greek at the University, with the exception of 
Cicero, and that I studied privately. 

"I was not long in Dr. Caldwell's hands before I became 
satisfied of his remarkable excellence as a teacher. He had 
but little to amuse him, except hearing my lessons. I ap- 


plied myself to my studies with great zeal, with which he 
was much pleased ; and often has he made me recite, from 
four to six hours a day, parsing every difficult word, and 
scanning nearly every line, when the recitation happened 
to be in any of the Latin poets. Indeed you could not get 
along with him, with any comfort, without knowing accur- 
ately and thoroughly everything you passed over. 

"The Rules of Prosody and Syntax in the Latin, and of 
Syntax in the Greek, with all the exceptions and notes, 
seemed to be as familiar to him as the alphabet. His mem- 
ory had evidently failed to some extent ; and I have some- 
times found him, on my arrival in the morning, when I was 
studying the higher Latin and Greek classics, looking over 
my lessons for the day. He would apologize for doing so, by 
saying that his memory had failed, and he was afraid I 
might cork him; meaning that I might ask him questions 
that he would not be able to answer. Hard words or diffi- 
cult sentences in the various authors that he taught, seemed, 
for the most part, entirely familiar to him ; and often, when 
he would ask me for a rule which I could not give, he would 
attempt to give it; and the phraseology having escaped his 
memory, he would bother at it, like a man with a tangled 
skein, searching for the end by which it can be unravelled, 
until some word or expression of his own would bring back 
to his memory some part of the rule, and then he would 
repeat the whole of it with great accuracy. Sometimes, when 
he could not repeat the rule in English, he would say — 
'Weel mon, let us thry the Latin;' and the Latin generally 
proved to be quite at his command. 

"Dr. Caldwell's course of studies in the languages — 
Latin, Greek and Hebrew, as well as in the sciences, was 
extensive for his day ; and the facility and success with 
which he imparted his knowledge to others, in such extreme 
old age, was truly wonderful. Towards the latter part of 
the time I was under his instruction, he had several more 
pupils, and among them was a student of medicine; and I 
noticed that he seemed just as familiar with that subject as 
any other. 

"During a part of the time I was with him, he found 


great difficulty in reading, with the help of two pair of spec- 
tacles ; but his sight returned subsequently, so that he could 
read the finest Greek print, without any glasses at all. I did 
not, however, observe much change in his intellect. 

"In stature I suppose he must have measured about five 
feet eight or ten inches ; and in his younger days, he prob- 
ably weighed from one hundred and seventy-five to two 
hundred pounds. He had a well formed head and strong 
features. He was an exceedingly studious man, as his great 
acquisitions in various departments of learning proved. The 
prominent characteristics of his mind were the power to 
acquire knowledge and retain it, and the power to apply it 
to useful and practical purposes. By some he was thought 
to be lacking in originality ; but I think this questionable. 
He certainly possessed a strong mind; but the late day at 
which his education was commenced, the great extent and 
variety of his knowledge, and the active pursuits of his life, 
gave him but little time for that kind of reflection, without 
which originality of thought is not apt to be developed. 

"Dr. Caldwell was a man of admirable temper, fond of 
indulging in playful remarks, which he often pointed with 
a moral ; kind to a fault to every human being, and I might 
say to every living creature, entitled to his kindness. He 
seemed to live to do good. 

"It would be difficult to duly appreciate his usefulness 
through his long life. His learning, his piety, and his pa- 
triotism, were infused into the generations of his day. An 
ardent Whig of the Revolution, he taught his people the 
duty they owed to their country as well as their God. Well 
do I remember, when, in 1814, the Militia of Guilford were 
called together in this town [Greensboro] to raise volunteers, 
or draft men to go to Norfolk, to have seen the old gentle- 
man literally crawl upon the bench of the Court House to 
address the multitude, and in fervid and patriotic strains 
exhort them to be faithful to their country. The sermon 
had a powerful effect upon the soldiers. As an illustration, 
I may mention that a Quaker lad, who had been strictly 
educated in the faith of his denomination, after hearing the 
sermon, entered the ranks of the volunteers, served his time. 


returned to the bosom of his own church, which gladly re- 
ceived him, and lived and died an honored and esteemed 

"From Dr. Caldwell's great age at the time I knew him, 
and the consequent failure of his voice (never I think a very 
good one), I could not form a very satisfactory opinion of 
his merits in the pulpit. All the sermons I ever heard him 
deliver were extemporaneous. But, if I were to hazzard an 
opinion in respect to him as a preacher, in the vigor of his 
manhood, I should say he was a calm, strong, didactic 
reasoner, whose sermons were delivered with an earnestness 
that left no doubt with his hearers that he was uttering his 
own deep convictions, and with an unction that bore testi- 
mony to the Christian purity of his own heart."^ 

The young student of seventeen, with his year of Latin 
and his experience in teaching his brothers and sisters, 
made rapid progress under Dr. Caldwell and was particu- 
larly good in the languages. He was there from 1811 to 
the autumn of 1815 — about four years. It will be well to 
analyze just what this means, for it does signify a great 
deal. First it must not be forgotten that this famous school, 
not unlike the log-cabin days of Princeton, which was its 
model, had long been, as has been said, "academy, college and 
theological seminary" to many great men of the day ; and that 
the young University was still a struggling institution, not 
quite having "found itself." Young John Motley More- 
head and his father looked upon it in its old capacity ; so 
that when he had Dr. Caldwell's course for 1811-12 and 
1812-13, when a one-time lawyer of this general region, 
then of Tennessee, named Andrew Jackson, was soon to 
take part in the War of that year, he was advanced enough 
to have entered the Freshman year at the University. The 
decision, however, was to take not only his Freshman, but 
his Sophomore also, and even half of his Junior year, under 
the venerable and wonderful Doctor of Divinity, Medicine 
and Youth, with so wonderful a record as a maker of great 

^ Amials of the American Pulpit, by William B. Sprague, D.D., 1859, Vol. 
Ill, pp. 265-7. The letter closes: "Happy in the opportunity of thus bearing 
an humble testimony to the memory of my venerated friend, I remain, your 
obedient servant, J. M. Morehead." 


men out of boys. One can imagine both father and son 
weighing the pros and cons as to the respective advantages 
of taking the rest of the Junior year and the Senior at the 
old school or the new one. Nor must it be forgotten that 
young John Motley was not many miles from his home in 
Rockingham county or that he supervised the studies of his 
younger brother, James Turner, and his sisters, in subjects 
which he had completed. 

As an illustration of what would have been required of 
him if he had passed examinations iq these classes in the 
University, several years before, he would have taken up 
preparatory work : Reading, Spelling, Webster's Grammar, 
Arithmetic to the Rule of Three, Latin Grammar, Cordery 
(a Latin primer), ^sop's Fables, and Eutropius, Erasmus, 
Selectse de Profanis and Vocables, Csesar, Latin Introduc- 
tion, Sallust, Ovid and Vigil's Eclogues, French Grammar, 
French Fables, Telemachus, Gil Bias, Voltaire and Racine ; 
in Freshman work : Vigil, Latin Introduction, and Greek 
Testament or Dialogues of Lucian, and the Odes of Horace; 
in Sophomore work : Cicero, Geography, Arithmetic, Web- 
ster's Grammar, Syntax and Lowth's Grammar, the Satires, 
Epistles and Horace's Art of Poetry; and half of the follow- 
ing Junior work : Ewing's Synopsis, Algebra and Ferguson's 
Astronomy, or in place of the last mentioned : Junior Al- 
gebra, Euclid, Trigonometry, Heights and Distances, Navi- 
gation and Logarithms.^ 

There were probably other reasons why John Motley 
Morehead and his father kept him here so long. The Uni- 
versity was having a reputation for absence of discipline and 
the students a kind of life that was not to be found in this 
old school near the scenes of General Greene's and Corn- 
wallis' conflict. Dr. Caldwell, says Dean Charles Le Raper 
of the University Graduate School,- "was a thorough scholar 
and had great tact in managing boys. He knew the correct 
theories of life and education and had a wonderful faculty 
in imparting instruction. His mode of discipline was very 

^ These, according to Battle's History of the University of North Carolina, 
were the subjects of those respective examinations about a decade before. Vol. 
I, pp. 168-9. 

^ The Church and Private Schools of North Carolina, p. 42. 


peculiar to himself and very effective. He did not use the 
rod, nor is there any record of his ever having expelled a 
single student. His scholarship and character commanded 
their utmost respect. His disposition was of such a unique 
kind that he would give rebukes and corrections never to be 
forgotten; and such rebukes never won the ill-will of the 
pupil towards him. His countenance and manners, calmness 
and humor won their hearts. He knew how to inspire 
deep thoughts and great deeds in the boy. This was a 
school without a single parallel in North Carolina," and he 
adds that he knew of but one other such in the entire 
thirteen states. "Think," he continues, "of such a char- 
acter in a log school house, a double-storied one with a 
chimney in the middle, which was built in his own yard, 
pouring out his deep life to about fifty boys or young men 
in those early times of darkness, and this, too, year after 
year for a long while" — practically a half-century, even 
allowing for its closing during part of the Revolution. He 
was beloved and venerated by every student and more than 
one has made a pilgrimage to his grave. 

Such was the place that nurtured young Morehead for 
four profoundly influential years, when he decided, late in 
1815, to go to the University of North Carolina and enter 
soon after Christmas in the middle of the Junior year, or 
as a "Junior Sophister" half-advanced. This institution, 
as the State University, had been provided for in the State 
Constitution of 1776, and chartered, as has been said, in 
1789, with the adoption of the National Constitution, and 
its Presidency was offered to this venerable educator. They 
had endeavored to locate it, like they had Raleigh, the capi- 
tal, as nearly as possible to the center of the commonwealth. 
They chose, therefore, a site about twenty-five miles north- 
west of the capital, "as the crow flies," on an elevation of 
Laurentian granite known as Point Prospect, or, more col- 
loquially, "Piney Prospect," about 500 feet above sea-level 
and at the crossing of the old highway from Pittsboro to 
Petersburg, Virginia, and the one from Greensboro, through 
Raleigh eastward, to Newbern with its river flowing into 
Pamlico Sound. It was in an oak forest, with a wealth of 


springs and even the beautiful rhododendron of the moun- 
tains. At first designing the institution as one long building 
facing east — one exactly like the well-known institution on 
Dix Hill, at Raleigh — with a broad avenue from its main en- 
trance to Point Prospect, they first built the north wing, 
which, when the Princetonians in the faculty became domi- 
nant, gave way to the English Quadrangle plan, so that the 
north wing became "East Hall," or "Old East," and by 
1814 "Old South" facing north on the "Quad," was ready 
for students as the main building. Into one of its rooms, 
with four in a room. Dr. David Caldwell's half-advanced 
"Junior Sophister," John Motley Morehead, a fine big fel- 
low of eighteen and a half years, with the Scotch sandy 
complexion and hair of his ancestry, was to come about a 
year or so later.^ 

When Dr. David Caldwell had declined the Presidency 
of the University, the trustees, doubtless hoping that he 
might yet be influenced, did not fill the office but gave execu- 
tive functions to the Faculty, designating one of them as 
"Presiding Professor." In the very year that young More- 
head was born, the then Presiding Professor Harris, wishing 
to be relieved, recommended the calling of a Princeton 
college-mate of his, graduated the year before he did, named 
Joseph Caldwell, but of no relation to the great Guilford 
county teacher. The young Princetonian was a native of 
New Jersey, a posthumous child of his Scotch-Irish phy- 
sician father, and reared by his widowed Hugenot mother, 
who saw that he graduated in 1791 with the Latin Saluta- 
tory. Becoming a teacher, young Caldwell was soon re- 
called to Princeton as a tutor, meanwhile studying theology, 
and securing a license to preach in 1796. He accepted a 
unanimous call to become Professor of Mathematics at the 
new institution at the cross-roads of Chapel Hill, and buying 
a horse and sulky with box under the seat for supplies, he 
set out on a trip which was to last a month, coming down 
the Petersburg road onto the campus in the woods on Oc- 
tober 31st, of that year. The primitive conditions dis- 
couraged him but put him on his mettle, and during the 

1 Battle's Hist, of U. of N. C, Vol. I, p. 125. 


following month he took up the work of his chair, and also 
succeeded his predecessor as Presiding Professor. Profes- 
sor Caldwell had experiences in trying to avoid the office of 
executive, but his striking ability to meet crises in the grow- 
ing University was so effective that, by 1804, the trustees 
were fully convinced that they had, in Professor Caldwell, 
not only a great teacher and an able executive, but, what was 
equally to the point, an educational statesman. It was due 
to the wisdom of the distinguished scholar, jurist and states- 
man, William Gaston, and another able trustee, Duncan 
Cameron, that this happy result was brought about. The 
new office was then first distinguished by the black gown. 
President Caldwell rose to the occasion and set before him- 
self a new North Carolina Princeton, modifying the ten- 
dencies toward the sciences that had come through influences 
of General Davie and from the University of Pennsylvania. 
His progress in gathering a strong and permanent faculty 
about him was as difficult as the statesmanship that pro- 
duced the physical side of the University; and the efforts 
to establish discipline and custom were no easier. It is 
not the purpose to enter greatly into the story of University 
development, further than to appreciate the influence of 
this great educator upon his new pupil. 

One can hardly realize at this distance of time how much 
of an influence the French thought of Paine, Voltaire and 
others was, that took advantage of the great democratic 
movement led by Jefferson. They affected educational, 
religious and political theory in everything that came up in 
University life. One man at this time claimed that there 
was but one or two democrats among thirty trustees. All 
of this, however, only served to develop the statesmanship 
of President Caldwell, and he held his own with the ablest 
opponent. 'Tt is the very nature of a place of public edu- 
cation," he wrote, "to polish and give play to the springs 
of human action, to spread abroad a desire of information, 
a spirit of active enterprise, and the instruments of interest, 
which must, without it, be buried in some distant part of 
the world." And his theory was exemplified in himself and 
his policies to a remarkable degree. He had much of the 


modern university spirit, like that of Wisconsin, which 
turned trained thought to development of the state in both 
theory and policy, and application of the sciences — even 
though the school was pathetically small at this time. One 
of his graduates of 1799, Archibald Debow Murphy, at this- 
time a lawyer in Hillsboro, a few miles away, was even then 
preparing to lead the state in almost every phase of public 
development according to the fructifying principles of Presi- 
dent Caldwell. The young man was at this very time pre- 
paring to advocate measures of public advancement in a 
multitude of ways ; but, of him, more anon. He had re- 
ceived many of these impulses from his friend the University 
President and often longed for the academic shades with 

And President Caldwell, in 1810, saw that recognition 
was given the venerable Guilford county teacher, then 
seventy-five years old, by the degree of Doctor of Divinity; 
and it is interesting, though pathetic, to see that the Faculty 
consisted of but the President, one Professor and two 
Tutors. These were critical days in every way, so much so, 
that in 1812, the President insisted on being relieved of the 
executive office. At this time, the Raleigh Register described 
the institution: "In six months the Principal (South) 
Building will be ready for the reception of inhabitants. 
There will then be accommodations for eighty students. 
There will be separate halls for the Dialectic and Philan- 
thropic Societies, one for the library, and a Public Hall for 
Prayers. Each of the Society libraries contains 800 to 1000 
volumes. A society has been recently formed for the study 
of sacred music. An organ ordered to be built in New York 
is already finished. Public worship is held every Sunday in 
Person Hall, which students are bound to attend. The 
Faculty consists of a President, three Professors and one 
Tutor. . . . The sessions run as follows : The first 
from 1st of January to 24th of May. The second from 
the 20th of June to the 15th of November." The expenses 
of "diet," tuition, room-rent, servant hire, library, washing, 
candles and wood, and bed total only $58.50.^ 

^ Battle's History of the University of North Carolina, Vol. I, p. 230. 


So he became Professor Caldwell again under President 
Robert H. Chapman, a "Peace Federalist," who was in- 
augurated in January, 1813, at a time when the college 
students were in no small measure neither ''Federalist" nor 
tolerant of "peace" with the hated British empire. And 
they were for the North Carolina Tennessean who was 
then carrying on a campaign with Georgia Indians, who had 
been encouraged by the British, and preparing for the ex- 
pected British attack on the Gulf Coast. The unhappy ex- 
periences of General Andrew Jackson in the west during 
the year did not tend to lessen this feeling, and, just a year 
later, January, 1814, the "Anti-Federalist" student element 
made mid-night raids on President Chapman's stable, creat- 
ing for him a horse with hair-less tail, hiding his cart, 
over-throwing an out-house, secreting his gates, and finally 
tarring and feathering the gate-post, leaving a written warn- 
ing on the feathery entrance that Toryism in a certain high 
officer might be dealt with in like manner!^ Ex-President 
Caldwell was in no mood to stand idly by and endure this 
procedure and he at once, forgeting his legal history, called 
into use "general warrants" of the state that struck panic 
to the hearts of students and parents alike. All elements 
of the student body were examined, most of whom became 
famous, among them being John Y. Mason, Francis A. 
Thornton, Thomas J. Haywood, Francis L. Hawks, David 
F. Caldwell, Charles L. Hinton, Charles Manly, and Willie 
(pronounced Wylie) P. Magnum. The drastic action of 
Professor Caldwell saved the day and the year. The insti- 
tution was growing, too, for while the average attendance 
of the collegiate department had been but 52 under Presi- 
dent Caldwell, it was 88 under President Chapman ; and the 
graduates averaged respectively 6 and 16. Under the latter 
also, the Bible became a required text-book in the courses ; 
and it was under his leadership that the Chapel Hill Pres- 
byterian Church was organized. Like Ex-President Cald- 
well, who lost both wife and daughter during his term. 
President Chapman lost his daughter; but he was honored. 

} Battle's Hi^. of U. of N. C. Vol. I, pp. 234-5. The British burned the 
Capitol at Washington in August following. 

Old South Hall 
The Moreliead rocim opposite one with last two second thicjr windows un the ri^lu 

Dialectic Literary Society Hall, 1922 


during 1815, with the degree of Doctor of Divinity by 
Williams College, Massachusetts. 

Therefore, the University was, in a sense, in a pros- 
perous condition in January, 1816, with the stimulus of the 
war of 1812-14 to all sorts of activity in education, religion, 
internal improvement — especially transportation — and a 
post-Revolutionary generation coming to its own, when 
young John Motley Morehead, a Presbyterian and a Federal- 
ist in sympathy, entered the Junior Class "half-advanced," 
and took up his residence in one of the rooms in "Old 
South" Hall/ One of the tutors under Dr. Chapman has 
left testimony that he had "introduced a most salutary moral 
change" into University life,' and doubtless young More- 
head became an attendant of the church the President or- 
ganized. The new Junior joined the Dialectic Society rather 
than the Philanthropic, doubtless because that literary or- 
ganization was then dominated more by Federalist members. 
There was a mutual attraction between him and his Mathe- 
matical teacher. Professor Caldwell, from the first, and 
when the June Commencement arrived he was to see the 
degree of Doctor of Divinity conferred on that member of 
the Faculty. The graduate of that year to become most 
famous was John Y. Mason, who became Attorney-General 
of the United States and Secretary of the Navy under 
President Polk (who was a student of the University at this 
time) and was President Pierce's Minister to France who 
became one of the authors, with Buchanan, of the famous 
"Ostend Manifesto." 

It should be remarked that practically continuous ses- 
sions of the University, excepting for a brief vacation of 
about a month each at Christmas and in June, was due to 
the fact that because of primitive transportation facilities 

1 The identification of this date has been made diflBcult by confusing and 
conflicting statements of authorities, but it is believed this is accurate. The term 
"lirst session" as applied to those beginning in January is also confusing in de- 
termining the middle of the Junior year, when commencement is held in June; 
but the facts work out consistently. He was a Presbyterian adherent only. 

The "Old South" is now practically as it was in those days, even while 
most of the University buildings are thoroughly up to date and being made 
more so under the current administration. The picture of John Motley More- 
head's room was taken in 1922. 

2 Rev. Dr. James E. Morrison, grandfather of President Charles W. Dab- 
ney of Cincinnati Universitj'. 


and long distance from home, the student came and staid 
continuously for the whole four years. This was, of course, 
probably not the case with young Morehead, for his home 
was only about fifty miles away, "as the crow flies." Ap- 
parently his brother, James Turner Morehead, was a Sopho- 
more the latter part of the year, for he entered in the Class 
of 1819; and both were to witness a still more serious po- 
litical out-break among the students on September 18th, so 
serious that it was to lead to President Chapman's voluntary 
resignation. A Newbern student, and of a family that wor- 
shiped at the shrine of the Sage of Monticello, had handed 
in an oration with a sentence or so of his "Republican" — 
as his party was called then — doctrine. This President 
Chapman forbade him to use in his delivery of the oration ; 
but, on his appearance upon the platform the young Jef- 
fersonian defied his Federalist President by using the for- 
bidden sentences. Thereupon Dr. Chapman ordered him to 
sit down, but, encouraged by cries of "Go on!" and his 
prompter joining in the insurrection, he finished his speech 
amidst applause; and a large body of students met next day 
in the chapel and approved his conduct! Instantly the 
Faculty summoned 46 of them, suspended the orator and 
his leader, and two others. The rest were permitted to 
resume standing on a signed retraction of their offense; and 
among the signers were students who became known to fame 
as Chancellor William Mercer Green, of the University of 
the South, and Governor Wm. D. Moseley, first chief ex- 
ecutive of Florida. As in other events of life, John Motley 
Morehead seems to have been one among those students 
who did not lose his head. He was also a senior, as was the 
oft'ending Jeffersonian orator, and, as has been intimated, 
was a Federalist, which would probably account for his ease 
in retaining his poise. Public opinion, however, was so 
divided on the course of the President in carrying out the 
Trustees' rule that there should be no political speeches, 
that when, during the following month, some student made 
a bomb out of a brass knob and exploded it before a tutor's 
door, fortunately without in jurying anyone although it ex- 
ploded in the hands of one who attempted to throw it out. 


President Chapman waited until the November meeting of 
the Trustees and resigned, the Board making it effective 
immediately. The Jeff'ersonian orator was a member of 
the Philanthropic Society, of which society a Dialectic mem- 
ber wrote at this time: "The poor Philanthropic members 
are to be pitied, for they have but thirteen members ;" but 
another more cautious Dialectic later wrote that the member- 
ship "though increasing in numbers, degenerates in point 
of talent" — which shows that fraternity jealousy, like the 
poor, is ever with us.^ 

The Trustees again turned to Professor Caldwell on 
December 14, 1816, and again elevated him to the Presi- 
dency. This was a critical time, as the last session of young 
]\Iorehead's senior year opened on January 1, 1817; but it 
was a great time in the commonwealth, for she had in her 
Senate one whose statesmanlike reports on plans for both 
internal improvement and public education, laid before that 
body on the 9th and 19th respectively, of the previous month, 
were soon to attract the attention of the whole country, and 
even be known abroad, setting up new and high standards 
in both, and certain to affect the plans for the University. 
This statesman and philosopher, one of the most striking 
and cultivated in the Union, was none other than President 
Caldwell's old pupil and friend and ablest supporter among 
the Trustees, Senator Archibald Debow Murphy. His pro- 
posals were along the same lines as those which De Witt 
Clinton was pressing in New York, state and city, but were 
far more scholarly and comprehensive, so far as the state 
was concerned ; and these reports were only the opening 
guns of his campaign. Not less important than these, but 
due to the initiative of citizens of Rutherford, a county in 
the southwestern part of the state, was his constructive re- 
port proposing plans for a revision of the state constitution 
of 1776, which increasing settlement in the central and 
western parts of the state made imperative ; while still an- 
other proposal of his was the colonization of free negroes, 

^ The two societies have come respectively, the writer is informed by Pro- 
fessor Connor, to be territorial in membership, the "Di" representing the west 
and the "Phi" the east. This would appear to the writer to be a natural out- 
growth of political division of early decades. 


who were increasing in number through individual emanci- 
pation, in some vacant parts of the great west. These papers 
were publicly printed and aroused the entire state; but at 
this point in this narrative only reference to his cooperation 
with President Caldwell in planning a more able Faculty 
need be considered and his consequent influence on John 
Motley Morehead, in the closing half of his senior year.^ 

The faculty was seriously crippled by the resignation of 
President Chapman, leaving it, technically, a University 
without a Professor. President Caldwell was of course a 
Professor, also; but for that session, January to June, 1817, 
his faculty consisted of Principal Tutor William Hooper, 
A.M., destined to become a Professor and college President, 
and Tutor William D. Moseley, himself a senior and destined 
to be Governor of Florida, and one other during that ses- 
sion, Robert R. King, but he was unpopular and resigned; 
so that during young Morehead's second half of his senior 
year, he was under President Caldwell's sole instruction, 
as were the other ten members of his class. The President, 
in 1815, had a salary of $1200, when Professor Caldwell 
had but $1000, and the Principal Tutor $500, with $300 and 
board each for the other two Tutors. These were somewhat 
increased under President Caldwell, and a search was being 
made for new professional timber in which they had their 
eyes on two Yale men, Denison Olmsted for the new chair 
of Chemistry, and Elisha Mitchell, then a Yale Tutor, se- 
lections again due to the scholarly Trustee, Hon. William 
Gaston. The former, however, was to have a year of further 
study, and the latter would not be available before February, 
1818, so that President Caldwell and his Tutors constituted 
the Faculty the entire year of 1817. 

Young John Motley Morehead gave his graduation 
oration at Commencement in June, and received his degree 
of Bachelor of Arts ; but President Caldwell did not intend 
he should leave the institution yet. Principal Tutor Hooper, 
at this commencement, was promoted to full Professor of 
Ancient Languages, which had evidently been his chief field 

1 See Hoyt's The Papers of Archibald D. Murphy, Vol. II, pp. 33, 49, 56, 
et seq.; also Memoir in Vol. I, by Hon. WiUiam A. Graham, LL.D. 


as Tutor, and the office of Principal Tutor was adolished.^ 
Tutor Moseley, A.B. (1817), was retained for the next 
session and two additional Tutors were appointed by the 
President, namely, John Motley Morehead, A.B. (also 1817) 
and Priestly H. Magnum, A.B., who, with his brother, Willie 
(pronounced Wylie), P. Mangum, A.B., had graduated in 
1815.- Moseley, as Senior Tutor, considered himself a part 
of the Faculty proper. Tutors Morehead and Mangum may 
have had work with every class, in which case, John Motley 
Morehead would have taught James K. Polk, a future Presi- 
dent of the United States ; William Mercer Green, a future 
Bishop of Mississippi, and Chancellor of the University of 
the South ; Robert Hall Morrison, a future President of 
Davidson College ; and eleven other members of that notable 
class; but he did have members of the classes of '19, '20, '21 
and '22 and preparatory students; and among his Juniors 
was his own brother, James Turner Morehead, whom he 
had taught with other brothers and sisters in his own home. 
His duties as instructor, therefore, were no new thing in 
his experience, and the record is that he was an able Tutor 
for that session and until the new members of the faculty 
were installed at the beginning of 1818. 

There is little doubt but that he had long since determined 
to make the Law his profession, as his early Latin teacher, 
Thomas Settle, Jr., had done ; and now that he was ready to 
begin its study, it was perfectly natural for him to turn, for 
instruction, to that brilliant Senator Murphy of Hillsboro, 
the county-seat not far from the University, whom it will 

1 Dr. Battle, in his otherwise excellent History of the University, makes 
some very confusing statements about these events, but the facts seem to be as 
here stated. 

2 The Mangums vi^ere prepared for the University by a very talented, edu- 
cated free negro, named John Chavis, who prepared a considerable number of 
sons of wealthy planters. Another free negro of the period. Rev. Henry Evins, 
stopped in Fayetteville to do missionary work among the colored people; but 
he was such a cultivated and powerful preacher that the white people came to 
hear him so persistently that he finally organized them into a Methodist Church, 
the colored people taking the gallery, and he became their pastor. As he became 
old a young white minister became co-pastor and finally succeeded him. It is 
said that inter-racial antagonism did not begin until the abolition movement 
began; but considerable evidence exists that the real cause of it was the move- 
ment for independence under Toussaint L'Ouverture, some two decades before 
this and its influence as an object lesson upon a younger generation of free 
negroes and their associates. An uprising in Charleston sometime after this was 
directly traced to this influence; and it would be further influenced, no doubt, 
by the Bolivar movement in South America at this period, contemporary with 
movements to check further emancipation or qualify it by causing them to be 


be well to note more clearly at this point. The Senator 
was probably about forty-one years old, born about 1777 in 
Caswell, the county just east of young Morehead's home, 
and son of Colonel Archibald Murphy, whose plantation in 
the Dan valley was about seven miles from Milton near the 
Virginia border. He also was a product of Dr. David Cald- 
well's school, in which he remained until 1796, when the new 
University of North Carolina was started, and graduated 
after three years in 1799 with such distinction that he was 
made Tutor for one year and then Professor of Ancient 
Languages, a chair which he held for two years, during 
which incumbency he so perfected himself as a scholar of the 
highest character that he became distinguished throughout 
the State. He had begun legal study also under the direc- 
tion of William Dufifey, Esq., of Hillsboro, and, resigning, 
in 1801, to devote himself wholly to it, he was admitted to the 
bar by mere interview on the basis of his general ability. 
Notwithstanding he was to cross legal rapiers with such men 
as Henderson, Cameron, Norwood, Nash, Seawell, Yancey, 
Ruffin, Badger, Hawks and Mangum, he won a place in the 
front rank at this notable bar very soon. By 1804 he was 
taking such careful notes that he became Supreme Court 
reporter and was at this very time unconsciously preparing 
for the three volumes of reports yet to be issued.* His par- 
ticular delight was in equity practice, which he often said 
was the application of moral philosophy to the affairs of 
men. In this field he had no equal in the entire State. In 
1812 he was chosen State Senator from Orange County and 
for the next half-dozen years he was easily the leader in 
North Carolina government; and his broad and profound 
conceptions of public affairs caused him to introduce a new 
era in the State. Without doubt no man has greater claim 
to the title "Father of Public Improvement in North Caro- 

1 Mr. Murphy was clerk of the old "Conference" Supreme Court, and on 
May 26, 1819, was ordered by the new Court to deliver the records. Minutes 
of the Supreme Court, Vol. 19, of this date. The first North Carolina Re- 
ports was Haywood's of 1799, chronologically in date of publication; the second, 
Taylor's, in 1802; the third, Cameron & Norwood, in 1805; the fourth, Hav- 
wood, in 1806; then came Editor Gales', The Carolina Law Repository, legal 
miscellany, two volumes, in 1814 and 1816; next came Taylor's Rep'orts of 
• iLo^"*^ ^"'T^'^y's were issued— Vol. 3, in 1821, Vol. 1, in 1822, and Vol. 2 
m 1826 — a somewhat confusing arrangement if one is not informed, as they 
are not so numbered. 


lina." Governor Graham, a follower of his in later years, 
says : "No man has ever brought into our Legislative halls 
a more ardent spirit of patriotism, a more thorough survey 
and comprehension of her situation and wants, or proposed 
bolder or more intelligent measures for her relief."^ His 
reports, which as chairman of a legislative committee or of 
the Board of Internal Improvement, appeared, one or more 
every year from 1815 for the next eight years, covered, in 
masterly manner, such various subjects as water and road 
transportation, creation of trade centers within the State, 
a system of public education covering everything from pri- 
mary schools and those for defectives, up to and including 
the University, and later even the history of the State. 
These papers are worthy of the best statesmanship of any 
land, and they became a great source of public instruction 
and public standards. If they had any fault, it would be 
that they were too comprehensive for their times, or that his 
was the work of the sower only, and that the executive 
reaper was yet among his younger followers. 

His influence upon his own profession was scarcely less. 
He was a most successful teacher of the law. Thomas 
Ruffin, afterward a famous Chief Justice of the State, was 
not only a pupil, but a life-long intimate friend, and the 
brilliant Bartlett Yancey was another.^ So, soon after Feb- 
ruary, 1818, John Motley Morehead gave up his tutorship at 
the University and began his legal preparation under the 
great lawyer and the distinguished public leader.^ Whether 
Morehead lived at Hillsboro or not, is unknown; but it is 

1 Memoir by Hon. William A. Graham, LL.D., in the Murphy Papers, 
Hoyt, pp. 25, 26. 

'^ Among Murphy's later students were: Governor Jonathan Worth, Col. 
James T. Morehead, Col. John A. Gilmer, William J. Bingham (the head-master 
of the celebrated Bingham School), Judge Henry Y. Webb of Alabama, Charles 
Pendleton Gordon of Georgia, and Justice Jesse Turner of the Supreme Court 
of Arkansas. 

3 It is interesting to note at this point, that on May 8, this year, lots were 
sold in the new town of Leaksville, Rockingham County — a town in which 
young Morehead was to become greatly interested — to the sum of nearly 
$25,000. Raleigh Register, current date. 

Let it be noted, too, that on August 24, of this year, the corner-stone of 
the new National Capitol, to replace the one burned by the British, was laid, 
and Trumbull had his painting, The Declaration of Independence, ready for ac- 
ceptance. Only 5 out of 55 of the signers were still alive, and yet the artist 
had been able, through himself or other artists, to get all but 10 of the 47 por- 
traits from life. "The new United States Bank was erecting a building on land, 
that," says the London Times, "cost $1000 a front foot! a cost more than that 
of Carlton House, the home of the then British Prince Regent, or more than 
the Parisian palace of the King of Persia!" 


probable that his work was done in Senator Murphy's 
office and fine library, and that he did much of the clerical 
work, as was the custom of those days. Near the close of 
that year, on the recommendation of Governor John Branch, 
there was a reorganization of the Judiciary under the leader- 
ship of William Gaston, that was to affect both the legal 
teacher and his pupil. The Judiciary Act of 1777 had cre- 
ated a "Superior Court," with six districts or circuits : 1. Wil- 
mington ; 2, Newbern ; 3, Edenton ; 4, Halifax ; 5, Hillsboro ; 
6, Salisbury — to which were later added: 7, Morganton, 
and 8, Fayetteville ; and it served the purpose of a Supreme 
Court until 1799, when a "Court of Conference," made up 
of these Judges, was created for Supreme Court purposes, 
the Superior Court becoming purely district or circuit courts. 
The "Court of Conference," in 1805, was given the name 
"Supreme Court," so that these Judges were both "Superior" 
and "Supreme" Court jurists — a fact rather confusing to the 
uninitiated. This, in 1806, caused the Judges individually 
to hold "Superior Courts" in each county twice a year, and 
six circuits were created. It was only in 1810 that these 
Judges sitting as a Supreme Court were authorized to select 
one of their number as Chief Justice, the first one being 
Judge John Louis Taylor of Fayetteville, who had been on 
the bench since 1798, and a quorum was any two of the 

But during Senator Murphy's last session, after young 
Morehead had been with him nearly a year, a real and sepa- 
rate Supreme Court was organized. "The bill to appoint 
three Judges to hold the Supreme Court," wrote the 
Senator to his friend. Judge Thomas Ruffin, also of Hills- 
boro, on December 3rd, "has passed its second reading in 
both Houses. In the Senate 42 to 16 and in the Commons 80 
to 44. The salary $2500. This will surprise you as it has 
everyone. It will probably be read the third time and passed 
in each house tomorrow. Tonight the enquiry everywhere is, 
who are to be the Judges? — I wish you were here to help 
our friend Seawell. I fear his chance is not good; great 
eft'orts are making for Taylor, and don't be surprised if he 
be elected. L. Henderson will be one, I believe. I was 


waited upon this evening to know whether my name should 
be used. I intend to be governed by circumstances. If I 
see my way clear, poorly qualified as I am, I shall enter the 
lists. I have been confined to my room constantly and know 
nothing but from those who have business with me. James 
Mebane tells me that L. Henderson, Gaston and myself will 
be elected, if in nomination. He is well acquainted with the 
members, and is influential. In all this you will know how 
easily we may be deceived. One day more may give a 
different aspect to things, and probably will. The salary of 
the Circuit Judges will be raised to $2000. I think they will 
probably be located. We have a liberal and intelligent legis- 
lature. When will you be down? No nomination is yet 
made to fill the vacancy on the Bench. Nash, Toomer, 
Paxton and Miller will all be in nomination. I can't even 
conjecture who will be elected."^ 

The bill passed and on December 9th Senator Murphy 
was nominated for the Supreme bench in the Lower House 
by Mr. Mebane. The western ticket was : Henderson, Sea- 
well and Murphy ; but the eastern people, taking Henderson, 
caused his election and that of Judge John Hall on Saturday, 
the 12th of December, waiting until Monday, the 14th, to 
elect the old Chief Justice, John Louis Taylor.^ On the 
following day a joint committee was chosen to select Judges 
of the Superior Court, and on the 17th the resignations of 
the Judges just elected to the Supreme bench were received. 
One of the Judges, Lowrie, had died some time before and 
the Governor and Council had found great difficulty in se- 
curing a successor, who was fit for it, the salaries were so 
small and the circuit hardships so great. On the 18th 
Judges John Paxton, John D. Toomer and Frederick Nash 
were chosen to fill the vacancies ; but on the 23rd of Decem- 
ber Judge Thomas Ruffin's resignation was received and it 
became necessary to elect his successor. Ruffin was proba- 

1 The Papers of Thomas Ruffin, Hamilton, Vol. I, p. 211. Judge Henry 
Seawell was a Raleigh jurist of about forty-sLx; Henderson, of Granville, a 
man of about the same age, later became Chief Justice; Congressman William 
Gaston, of Newbern, about forty, had a greater national reputation than any 
of the rest. 

2 The Papers of Archibald D. Murphy, Hoyt, Vol. I, pp. 122-3. 


bly the ablest Judge in the State and, no doubt, had some 
hopes of a place on the highest tribunal of the State him- 
self. Under the circumstances his logical successor, both 
from the point of ability and location, was Senator Murphy, 
and his choice was effected on Christmas eve, whereupon he 
became Judge Murphy of the Superior Court of North 

Soon after holidays, the Superior Court Judges, ex- 
cepting Judge Seawell, met and arranged their circuits, and 
early in February announced the result, as follows : 
1. Edenton Circuit, Judge Daniel; 2. Newbern, Judge Nash; 
3. Raleigh, Judge Seawell ; 4. \Vilmington, Judge Murphy ; 
5. Hillsboro, Judge Toomer ; and 6. Morganton, Judge Pax- 
ton. The peculiar law that compelled continual change of 
Judges from one circuit to another and the varying hardships 
and inconveniences a given Judge would find in some of them 
gave occasion for heart-burnings, so that the Governor had 
to come in, in one case, and decided, about the middle of 
February, to send Judge Daniel to Raleigh and Judge Sea- 
well to Edenton, away from home. It had a political bearing 
and Judge Seawell resigned and soon became Attorney Gen- 
eral. That young Morehead followed Judge Murphy on his 
circuit is not probable ; and how long he continued his inti- 
mate relations with his legal instructor into 1819 is unknown, 
because there seems to be no record of his admission.- It 
was probably late in the year, after his preceptor, as former 
clerk of the Supreme Court, had been directed, on May 26th, 
to deliver the records ; after June 12th, when Judge Murphy 
was appointed Reporter for the Supreme Court and to pub- 
lish the first three volumes, now known as Murphy's Re- 
ports ; and probably after June 21st, when, by authority of 
"letters missive" from the Governor, he was appointed to sit 
on the Supreme bench, as a Judge of that Court in the 
temporary incapacity of any of its members. Judge Murphy 
was, therefore, a Judge of the Supreme Court on June 22 

^ It is a curious fact that no commission or record of one to Judge Murphy, 
as a Superior Court Judge can be found. 

"The records of Guilford County Superior Court were nearly all destroyed 
by fire m 1870. 



and 23, 1819, on December 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th of 
the same year, and also in 1820, the first and only Judge of 
this period to be so honored, and could claim the titles of 
both "Justice and Judge. "^ It was under such auspices 
that young John Motley Morehead, now twenty-three years 
old, closed his long period of preparation for life and the 
practice of the Law. 

^ Supreme Court Minutes of these dates. 

The room in "Old South" Hall occupied by Mr. Morehead and others after 
him, so that it is still known as "The Morehead Room," is on the southwest 
corner of the second floor. So late as 1891 the initials of the original occupant, 
"J. M. M.," carved by him on the window sill, were plainly read. 


Love as Well as Law 



That a young lawyer should settle in the county-seat of 
his home county is perfectly natural, and especially if he 
should have taken his preliminary Latin under a young law- 
yer there, who was doing the same thing as young Lawyer 
Morehead had. The county was an old one, carved out of 
still older Guilford, in 1785, and both county-seat and 
county named after that friend of America among English- 
men, Charles Watson Wentworth, Marquis of Rockingham, 
the family name going to the former and the title name to 
the latter. North Carolina did not forget the Prime Min- 
ister who had repealed the Stamp Act and stood for their 
liberties, and his death, while again Prime Minister, only 
three years before the organization of the county, was fresh 
in their minds. Of course, this had been done before young 
Lawyer Morehead was born in that Virginia county named 
after a man of like character, William Pitt, but both names 
showed the keen patriotism of these two counties of the 
"Land of Eden," lying side by side in the rich valley drained 
by the Roanoke. 

In Wentworth was his old Latin tutor, now just elected to 
the Sixteenth Congress, as successor to Bartlett Yancey, and 
leaving a lot business to his young Latin protege. Congress- 
man Settle had been in that able Legislature, led by Gaston 
and Murphy, while Morehead was in the University. He 
was only five years older than his old Latin pupil, and was an 
intimate friend, consequently an interesting example of the 
lawyer in public life. Mrs. Settle was the sister of a Cas- 














well County boy of fifteen, in Bingham School, Calvin 
Graves, who was soon to study law under her husband and 
was destined to become an important factor in young More- 
head's life. Mrs. Settle was to have a son-in-law, in the 
same county, now a babe of but six years, bearing the name 
David Settle Reid, and destined to become a Governor. 
So Lawyer Morehead began his legal life in Wentworth, 
and made his home with the younger Robert Galloway, "with 
whom he lived during his residence here on terms of a per- 
fect union of hearts," — to use the words of Hon. John Kerr 
years later.^ He was but a few miles from his old home, 
northward of the newly-projected town of Leaksville, and 
his brother, James Turner, graduated this year from the 
University and studied law under Chief Justice Taylor and 
Judge Murphy .- 

The two brothers saw much of one another as the years 
proceeded and their horses travelled much down into Guil- 
ford County to the region of David Caldwell's school, near 
the present Guilford Battle Ground National Park, where 
these two old students of that school came to know, at 
different periods, two young damsels at the small village, 
there, of Martinsville, the seat of Justice of that county ; and, 
as it proved in the case of the two young attorneys, the 
realm of another blindfolded deity, Cupid, who, like the 
fates, were to determine this region as their home in the near 

Guilford, unlike Rockingham, was a colonial county. 
Its first inhabitants had settled there when it was still a 
part of Edgecombe and Bladen Counties, in 1749; and 
they were attracted by many things, fine forests, superb 
water power, and an excellent diversified soil. Into the 
central part that forms the present Guilford County, the 
Scotch and Scotch-Irish came down the Piedmont from 
Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, and the Lindsay girls 
were in this part, near Martinsville or Guilford Court House, 

1 Oration of Hon. John Kerr on John Motley Morehead, 1866. 

'^Murphy Papers, Hoyt, Vol. I, p. 25, and Morehead Family of North 
Carolina and Virginia, John Motley Morehead III, p. 52. 

' It should be noted that the younger brother's visits and interest were 
some years later than those of John Motley. 


as it was quite as frequently called. The settlers engaged 
in wheat raising and fruit culture, particularly, as did also the 
Germans from the Palatinate who settled the eastern part. 
The tobacco lands of West Guilford attracted the English 
Quakers as well as a band of Welsh ; and others settled in 
the cotton country of South Guilford. Presbyterians from 
Nottingham, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina settled on the 
Buffalo and Reedy creeks, and were "Old School" in belief, 
while followers of Whitefield, the "New School," settled on 
the Alamance — causing the two churches over which David 
Caldwell presided so long. By 1766, Governor Tryon was 
able to say of this region: 'T am of the opinion that this 
province is settling faster than any on the continent. . . . 
These inhabitants are a people differing in health and com- 
plexion from the natives in the maritime parts of the 
province, as much as a sturdy Briton differs from a puny 
Spaniard."^ He even thought tht, region as "perhaps the 
best lands on this continent." These three elements make 
Guilford famous for its impression upon North Carolina. 
Governor Tryon was to find it out to his and their sorrow, 
in April, 1771, when, led by Guilford county men, calling 
themselves "Regulators," they refused to pay illegal taxes, 
and brought about the Battle of Alamance, which has 
been called the "first battle of the Revolution ;" a failure, 
too, it was, just as "first battles" sometimes are. 

Just ten years later the county was to be the scene of 
what has been called "the last battle of the Revolution," be- 
cause it made that of Yorktown possible. For with the fall 
of Charleston in the spring of 1780, and the re-invigoration 
of the army by the new bank in Philadelphia, Washington 
was able to send General Greene to Charlotte later in the 
year, and in January, 1781, the latter's lieutenant. General 
Morgan, won the great victory at Cowpens, near the South 
Carolina line, and Cornwallis started for Greene's army. 
The winter and spring months were an exhausting game of 

1 Col. Records, Vol. 7, p. 248. The unpretentious little volume called The 
History of Guilford County, North Carolina, by Sallie W. Stockard, A.M., 1902, 
is probably the most useful single volume on this county, a volume made pos- 
sible largely through the interest of Mr. Victor Clay McAdoo, of Greens- 
boro, N. C. 


chess on a gigantic board, but by March 14th, the American 
general was prepared to give battle near Guilford Court 
House, and on the 15th, that celebrated action resulted in a 
loss of one-fourth of the British forces, which so depleted 
them, that although the Americans had retired, Cornwallis' 
broken army had to hasten eastward for protection. Corn- 
wallis called it a "victory," whereupon his London superior 
exclaimed : "Another such victory would destroy the British 
Army!" And Yorktown followed a few months later, and 
Guilford Battle Ground is now a beautiful national park.^ 

There had lived at this battle ground since 1772, Alex- 
ander Martin, a Princeton graduate, and the village at Guil- 
ford Court House took his name, Martinsville. He had been 
in public life since 1774 and was now Speaker of the State 
Senate, and upon the capture of Governor Burke, he became 
Governor, the first of six successive terms. But, in 1809, 
just before young Morehead had entered the Caldwell 
school, the county removed the seat of Justice to the exact 
center and named the new town in honor of the great Ameri- 
can general, "Greensborough," which, in later days has been 
economized to Greensboro ; and in 1819-20, young Morehead 
had cases here in the sessions of the Superior Court, while 
in 1821 the new town acquired a newspaper. The Greens- 
borough Patriot. One interesting feature of Greensboro 
was the fact that it was between the slave-holding eastern 
part of the county and the Quaker western part, where the 
consciousness of the sin of slavery was increased by the 

1 This enterprise was a private one, long before the United States took it 
over, and John Motley Morehead's brother, James Turner's son, Major Joseph 
Motley Morehead, devoted so much of his life to it that a statue of him has 
been erected on the grounds. Scarcely less devoted was his wife, Mrs. May 
Christian (Jones) Morehead, a Virginian descendant of a founder of Baltimore, 
still resident of Greensboro, N. C. The following poem by him, on one of the 
monuments, represents the fine spirit of those who made this park possible: 


"The Muse of History 

"As sinking silently to night 
Noon fades insensibly. 
So Truth's fair phase assumes the haze 
And hush of history. 

"But lesser lights relieve the dark. 
Dumb dreariness of night 
As o'er the past historians cast 
At least a stellar light." 


oncoming spirit of the Revolution and independence. In 
1774, the Quakers, already the Quaker center of the State, 
began freeing their slaves, and the success of Toussaint 
L'Ouverture in freeing Hayti, led them to charter vessels to 
take the new freedmen there. Slaves were even bought in 
order to free them; and the number of free negroes that 
voted were not inconsiderable for a dozen years after 


As has been said, however, the primary interest in the 
early visits of the Morehead brothers to the now ten-year-old 
county-seat, Greensboro, was in the environs in the home of 
the Lindsays, who lived at Martinsville and near Caldwell 
School. Of this family, one of the boys of the house- 
hold, Robert Goodloe Lindsay, wrote, in later years: "Our 
great-great-grandfather came to this country from that par- 
tion of Ireland known as Scotch-Irish. The Lindsay blood 
is decidedly more Scotch than Irish. The Lindsays of 
Scotch-Ireland were descendants of David Lindsay, the head 
of the Scotch clan of feudal lords in Scotland before the fall 
of King James and Bruce, and portions of the family took 
refuge in Ireland. Afterwards some of them emigrated to 
America, and, with other Scotch-Irish colonists, settled in 
the lower part of Pennsylvania and Maryland ; then a num- 
ber sought new homes farther South. The greater portion 
of that number that came to North Carolina settled in Meck- 
lenburg county, near and around Charlotte. Our grand- 
father pitched his camp in Guilford, in Deep River, about 
twelve miles west of Greensboro as it now stands. He 
never left the place he first settled upon, but raised his large 
family there, consisting of six boys and two girls: John 
settled in Davidson county, and has a large family of descen- 
dants; Samuel located in the south part of Guilford; 
William, near the old homestead ; Andrew kept to the old 
homestead of our grandfather; David went to Jamestown; 
and my father, Robert Lindsay, took up his home at Martins- 
ville, then the county-seat of Guilford county after the 
county was divided. He still continued to live at Martins- 
ville, but did mercantile business at the new Court House, 
Greensboro. My mother [Letitia (Harper) Lindsay] con- 


tinued to live at Martinsville until she married a Mr. 
[Henry] Humphries."^ 

Robert Lindsay, Jr., was a member of the first House of 
Commons under the commonwealth in North Carolina and 
had died just the year before young Morehead had settled 
in practice in Wentworth. Mrs. Lindsay was the daughter 
of Colonel Jeduthun Harper, of the Revolution, and was 
about ten years the junior of her husband. Her family, in 
1819, consisted of Ann Eliza, the eldest, aged fifteen — the 
one in whom John Motley Morehead was interested ; a son of 
thirteen, another of eleven, a daughter somewhat younger, 
a son of nine, a daughter of six, Mary Teas Lindsay, in 
whom some years later Attorney Morehead's brother, James 
Turner, was to became interested ; and finally a baby son, 
three years old, who, years later, wrote the above account 
of the family. John Motley Morehead, of Wentworth, was 
only an occasional visitor, as he was rapidly becoming a very 
busy young lawyer in various parts of his circuit, that of 
Hillsboro, and was only looking forward to miarriage, but 
not immediately. 

He had begun buying his law-books, and, following the 
usual custom, he determined upon a suitable book-plate, 
with a motto, which he pasted on the inside of the front cover 
of each.2 Such insignia, like a graduating theme, often are 
selected with wonderful intuition ; and really do represent 
the life's chief characteristic in most cases, probably. A 
student of the Caldwells and Judge Murphy would be ex- 
pected to have lofty ideals of life and the practice of the law, 
with a high regard for public duty. Judge Murphy at this 
very time, by his actual career, was as fine an embodiment 
of private and public life as was Cicero in the best days of 
the Roman Republic. Something over two years before, as 

1 The Morehead Family of North Carolina and Virginia, by John Motley 
Morehead III, of New York, p. 95. 

" Lindsay Patterson, Esq., Winston-Salem, N. C, has his Reports coming 
down to about 1854. Some of the rest of his library is in the Public Library, 
Greensboro, N. C, among these books being a copy of Jefferson's Manual of 
Parliamentary Practice for the Use of the Senate of the U. S., 1801, on the 
fly-leaf of which it is shown to have been presented by Jefferson to D. W. Stone 
and by him to Mr. Morehead on July 5, 1841. Another, Buller's Trials at Nisi 
Prius, was first owned by Wm. Fleming and then by Patrick Henry, while 
another containing Henry's book-plate is Coleman's translation of The Comedies 
of Terence, illustrated. 


chairman of a House Committee on Inland Navigation, 
namely, in December, 1816, which resulted in surveys being 
ordered, in which he and President Caldwell took part, 
especially the proposal to connect the river transportation 
of the Cape Fear river, at head of navigation, with the 
Yadkin in the upper country, he produced his first able re- 
port. It resulted later, too, in his becoming President of the 
Yadkin Navigation Company. In this report he had said : 
"The true foundation of national prosperity and of national 
glory must be laid in a liberal system of Internal Improve- 
ments, and of Public Education," and intimated these were 
reserved for future thought. Following close upon it had 
been his report on Education later in the same month, in 
which he reviewed the excellent private schools and the 
University. "But," said he, "this general system must in- 
clude a gradation of schools, regularly supporting each 
other, from the one in which the first rudiments of educa- 
tion are taught, to that in which the highest branches of the 
sciences are cultivated. It is to the first schools in the 
gradation" that he wishes to draw attention and make pro- 
posals covering every element in the population, even the 
deaf and dumb. This resulted in three commissioners as a 
board to digest a system of Public Instruction, of which also 
he was chairman, and his great report of November 29, 1817, 
while Morehead was yet a tutor, covered : 1. The creation of 
a fund ; 2. An executive board ; 3. Organization of schools ; 
4. Courses ; 5. Modes of instruction ; 6. Discipline ; 7. Pro- 
vision for poor children ; and finally, 8. A Deaf and Dumb 
School. Still later in the same month, as has been noted 
elsewhere, as chairman of another committee, he showed 
how necessary it was that a new constitutional convention 
be called to equalize representation, which the great influx 
of population in the west had made viciously unequal. This 
proposal was defeated by the eastern members in the Sen- 
ate, and this action touched probably the most sensitive nerve 
in the commonwealth, and it was felt from end to end of the 
body politic. About the same time he touched upon another 
sensitive public nerve, but with an alleviating hand this time, 
namely, with a proposal that might have made a negro State 

Archibald DeBow Murpiiev 
From an engraving by John Sartain in 
the Murphey Papers 


on the Pacific Coast ; and his resolution was adopted, but as 
it was merely a national recommendation it came to noth- 
ing. It showed, however, the increasing sense of danger 
in the growing number of free negro voters. 

By the beginning of 1818, Chairman Murphy was able 
to report, in an effort to create a fund, that what had been 
done in inland navigation had increased the land values more 
than ten million dollars. "North Carolina," says The Niks 
Register, a national weekly of 19th July, 1817, "seems 
roused to a sense of her many natural advantages. . . . 
This State owes more to Archibald D. Murphy, Esq., than to 
any, perhaps, of her many enlightened citizens. His name, 
through his reports to the Legislature, etc., is familiar to our 
readers ; but he has many associates in his meritorious 
labors." Already the several navigation companies had 
made such improvements, that the Register announced that 
tobacco from the Dan river, or upper Roanoke country, had 
reached Norfolk in large amounts for the first time. About 
the same time this statesman as chairman of a finance com- 
mittee, attempted to solve the currency problems of the 
State — a legacy of those who refused to re-charter that great 
balance-wheel of finance, the Bank of the United States : 
"About twenty years ago," he wrote on 17th Dec, 1817, 
"we had no bank in this state : but we had a paper currency 
issued by the State, supposed to amount to about three hun- 
dred thousand dollars. Every man whose recollection ex- 
tends so far back, will admit, that at least one-half, of our 
then circulating medium, was composed of paper currency; 
and this fact seems to prove that our circulating medium at 
that day did not exceed six hundred thousand dollars. 
Until within the last six years, the banks of Newbern and 
Cape Fear, were the only institutions of that description in 
the state. The capital of both amounted to about four hun- 
dred thousand dollars, and the notes issued by them, not only 
composed almost entirely our circulating medium, but they 
overflowed into other states, and became considerably de- 
preciated. The circulating medium, at that time required 
for the state, could not have exceeded one million. When 
the State Bank was established six years ago, with a capital 


of one million six hundred thousand dollars, it was thought 
by many that that capital was larger than could be profitably 
employed in supplying the circulating medium employed by 
the state." He then shows that this State Bank's stock 
should be extended for relief in some way as the Newbern 
and Cape Fear Banks had, with extended charters, and that 
a Branch Bank of the United States Bank, re-chartered in 
1816, was also nearly ready to open. Incidentally, he 
shows that at the time when banks west and south of New 
England suspended specie payments, notes of this State Bank 
of North Carolina, in a great degree, became a continental 
currency, and left the state dependent on the Banks of New- 
bern and Cape Fear [Wilmington] ; but now that the 
National Bank was re-chartered and furnishing part of the 
currency, the outside currency is returning and caution must 
be used. His report on this subject of 21st November, 1818, 
was no less statesman-like; as was also that as chairman 
pro tern, of Commissioners, whose surveys were to connect 
up the river systems of the state, dated 28th November, 1818. 

Judge Murphy's most elaborate treatment was issued as a 
publicist and for information of the Legislature in Nov., 
1819, under the title Memoir on the Internal Improvements, 
Contemplated by the Legislature of North Carolina, and on 
the Resources and Finances of that State. It covered nearly 
a hundred pages, and was reviewed by Jared Sparks in The 
North American Review in January, 1821. It is impossible 
to speak too highly of this remarkable paper, which was 
being read and reviewed throughout 1820 and '21. It is 
probably the first statesman-like and adequate analysis of the 
fundamental problems of this great and unique common- 
wealth. It is probably not too much to say that here are the 
architectural plans and specifications of the state of North 
Carolina, so far as they could be foreseen and provided for 
in the second decade of the nineteenth century ; and the 
architect, scientist and philosopher was Archibald Debow 
Murphy one of her own sons and a product of her own 
higher education under the two Caldwells. 

To the general reader it furnishes probably the best con- 
ception of the North Carolina structural conditions and 


world-wide engineering on similar lines, of that day; but, 
as it is written for a foreign chief engineer, who had recently 
been secured, and also for the North Carolina influential 
public in order to secure adoption of the system proposed, 
it assumes in them a certain knowledge of the state and the 
times which will not be possessed by such a reader. In 
order, however, to arrive at that knowledge, it will be well 
to note some of the chief characteristics of what he does 
present : 

He shows, for instance, that, for a State, as well as the 
individual. Pope's dictum — "Know then thyself" — was the 
beginning of wisdom. North Carolinians had known too 
much about her daughter, Tennessee, and the Ohio and 
Mississippi valleys, whither she had sent over a half-million 
of her population, because she knew not her own great re- 
sources. The War of 1812-15 had brought on a new gen- 
eration and made Internal Improvement of resources 
the great slogan of the hour. The Legislatures of 1815, 
and those since, had awakened to it, but not enough. Two 
of the greatest needs were Transportation and home Trade 
Centers ; and by the former he meant only water trans- 
portation, with short good roads to it, while, by Trade Cen- 
ters, he meant a port of sufficient dominance to be a Financial 
center. As it was, there was a tendency to go to the Roanoke 
and two Virginia ports or the South Carolina rivers and 
Charleston, with one-third of her production. This made 
out-side financial, as well as trade centers and destroyed the 
unity of the state, and raised up no great consuming com- 
munities. Transportation, trade, manufactures, finance and 
banking were different phases of the one unity ; and they 
were inseparable. He cited Pennsylvania as first realizing 
it and acting accordingly with marvelous results. New 
York's great canal was a beginning there, and Virginia had 
already established a fund. And what is more, Pennsyl- 
vania had so profited by her investment that in her returns 
from it she had been enabled almost to dispense with tax- 
ation. He analyzes the unique water-front of North Caro- 
lina and its problems of engineering, and the efforts to get 
a great engineer for whom the demand was greater than the 


supply, and the amateur efforts of home talent meanwhile. 
Surveys and maps were needed and settlement of boundaries. 
(Mr. Hamilton Fulton, the distinguished young British 
engineer, for whom this was, in part, written, had been se- 
cured in July, 1819.) The river systems are analyzed in 
relation to a proposed port, better, if possible, than Wilming- 
ton, which had great disadvantages ; and a canal connection 
of those systems is a prime object. He points out the granite 
falls of these rivers at the eastern edge of the Piedmont, and 
their obstruction to traffic, in a great northeast and south- 
westerly sweep just eastward of Raleigh, as the chief inland 
problem. Allied to these were connecting roads and drain- 
age of swamp lands. 

These analyses were supported and enforced by excellent 
statistical tables : For example, net payments to the national 
government, as duties, etc., varied from $16,918.49 in 1808, 
the lowest, to $456,478.81 in 1813, the highest. Exports had 
ranged from $117,129, in 1808, the lowest, to $1,328,271, in 
1816, the highest. For 1816, as an example, Wilmington led, 
with $1,061,112; Newbern followed next, with $84,281; 
Edenton next, with $71,484; Plymouth next, with $36,314; 
Washington next, with $33,933 ; Ocracoke Inlet, with $28,- 
165 ; and finally Camden, with but $12,982. North Caro- 
lina foreign trade tonnage, registered, varied from 10,167 in 
1793 to 26,472 in 1810. Coasting tonnage, above 20 tons, 
varied from 2764 in 1793 to 13,184 in 1816. As an example 
of chief exports abroad from Wilmington in 1817: cotton 
was chief with 438,529 lbs. ; Indian Corn next with 22,588 
bushels ; turpentine, tar, pitch and rosin next with about 
18,000 bbls.; lard, over 20,000 lbs.; shingles, over 14,000 
thousands ; over 12,000 lbs. of hams and bacon ; and lesser 
exports, the total value of which was $713,961.48. Fay- 
etteville, at head of navigation on the Cape Fear, handled of 
domestic produce from the Pidemont, $621,900 worth of 
cotton and $400,000 worth of tobacco ; $129,629 worth of 
flour ; $77,460 worth of flaxseed ; $50,000 worth of miscel- 
lany like bacon, lard, tallow, furs, etc. ; a total of $1,331,398. 

The population that produced this, was, in 1810: — 555,- 
500, of which 168,824 were slaves ; and they were dis- 


tributed in leading counties as follows : total population : 
1. Rowan, in the central west, had most, 21,543; 2. Orange, 
near it, 20,135; 3. Wake, where Raleigh is, next, 17,086; 

4. Lincoln, western also, 16,359; 5. Halifax, eastern Roa- 
noke valley, 15,620; 6. Granville, another Roanoke county, 
15,576; 7. Rutherford, west of Lincoln, 13,202; 8. North- 
ampton, another Roanoke county, 13,082 ; 9. Chatham, near 
Orange, 12,977; 10. Craven, the Newbern port county, 12,- 
676 — to name only ten of eighteen counties of above 11,000. 
The counties which led in number of slaves were: 1. Gran- 
ville, in Roanoke county, with 7746; 2. Northampton, also 
on Roanoke, with 7258 — exceeding the whites by about .1500 ; 
3. Halifax, also on Roanoke, 6624; 4. New Hanover, the 
Wilmington county, 6442 — exceeding the whites by over 
1400 ; 5. Warren, also on Roanoke, 6282 — exceeding whites 
by over 1500; 6. Bertie (accent on last syllable), also on 
Roanoke, 6059 — exceeding whites by nearly 1000 ; 7. Wake, 
Raleigh county, 5878 — scarcely half of the whites ; 8. Frank- 
lin next to Warren and practically Roanoke county, 5330 — 
nearly 500 above the whites ; 9. Edgecombe, adjoining Hali- 
fax, 5107, over 2000 less than the whites ; 10. Craven, New- 
bern's county, 5050, over 200 less likewise — to name but ten 
of sixteen counties having above 3000 slaves. The counties 
greatest in white population were: 1. Rowan (also first in 
population, but being thirteenth in slaves) ; 2. Orange 
(eleventh in slaves) ; 3. Lincoln (below sixteenth in slave 
rank) ; 4. Rutherford (far below sixteenth in slave rank) ; 

5. Wake (seventh in slaves) ; 6. Mecklenburg (sixteenth 
in slaves) ; 7. Guilford (with 9953 whites and only 1467 
slaves) ; 8. Stokes; 9, Burke; 10. Chatham (fourteenth in 
slave rank) — naming only ten of eighteen counties with 
above 7800, all of which, possibly excepting Wake, the capi- 
tal seat, being Piedmont or mountain counties, while seven 
out of the first ten slave counties were on the Roanoke or 
next to them, the exception being the Wilmington, Newbern 
and Raleigh counties. The value of all the slaves in 1815 
was $40,667,314, almost as much as the land which was for 
tax purposes, $53,521,513. In that year there were twelve 
counties whose land valuations were above one million dol- 


lars: 1. Rowan ($1,870,142); 2. Halifax; 3. Orange; 4. 
Edgecombe; 5. Northampton; 6. Wake; 7. Bertie; 8. 
Mecklenburg; 9. Lincoln; 10. Granville ; 11. Warren; and 
12. Guilford, with 1,042,704. Of these twelve, half are 
Roanoke country, four are central western and two western 
near the mountains, or, practically half Roanoke and half 
western, a fact of great significance. The whole number of 
counties at this time was sixty-two. 

The 1817 taxes, by counties, with fourteen paying each 
above $2000: 1. Orange, with Hillsboro ; 2. Wake, with 
Raleigh ; 3. Granville ; 4. Rowan, with Salisbury ; 5. Cum- 
berland, with Fayetteville ; 9. Edgecombe, with Tarboro; 
7. Caswell; 8. Northampton; 9. New Hanover, with Wil- 
mington; 10. Warren; 11. Bertie; 12. HaHfax; U.Meck- 
lenburg, with Charlotte; and 14. Lincoln. Of these, eight 
were in Roanoke country; three were Western and Cum- 
berland and Wake were partly eastern and partly western, 
with one being the port county of Wilmington. 

The State owned $500,000 in bank stock and $112,500 in 
stock of the following navigation companies : Roanoke, Yad- 
kin, Cape Fear, Neuse, Tar River, Catawba, Lumber River 
Canal, Roanoke and Pamtico [Pamlico] and Club Foot and 
Harlow Creek. The Treasury disbursements in 1817 were 
$207,081.51. By his analysis of revenue and expenditure, 
he showed that there would be an annual surplus of $35,000, 
which in 1822, would leave in the Treasury $265,234.58. 

He then analyzes the statistics to show the state can have 
ample funds to carry out this improvement system. The 
Cherokee lands of probably "more than a million acres" 
and the required loans of the two old banks are added 
to these showing that the state, without taxation, had at 
her command more than a million dollars. He then treated 
in detail how these funds should be managed and pro- 
posed a Board of Public Works. To these he added a plan 
of feeder roads in the mountains ; and closed with an 
analysis of the problems of the formation of alluvial lands 
on the coast, with historical treatment from Herodotus down 
to Proney, the French engineer, and Cuvier's Theory of the 



It will thus be seen that North Carolina had great 
problems and that, in approaching them, she had a great and 
skillful leader in taking the first steps in their solution, as a 
publicist and public inspirer and teacher, in this able lawyer, 
jurist and statesman, Archibald Debow Murphy, law pre- 
ceptor and friend of young Attorney John Motley Morehead 
of Wentworth, in the county of Rockingham. Is it any 
wonder then, that, when the young man chose a book- 
plate and pasted its impressions on the inside of the front 
cover, it should contain a thought from Cicero's De Repub- 
lic a, and in the language of that Roman lawyer, and should 


John M. Morehead 

— : o : — 

Quiescere non Possum 

which latter, being liberally interpreted, signifies that he is 
not able to live uninterested in public affairs? As he had 
been a disciple of Murphy in law, so he became one of his 
followers in statesmanship, destined to surpass his master 
in vision and powers belonging to another generation and a 
new time. 

Lost Atlantis' Legacy 


Problems to North Carolina 


Attorney John M. Morehead had been in practice in 
Wentworth about two years, when his inability to be unin- 
terested in public affairs — the problems of state — and his 
excellent general ability became so evident, that Rocking- 
ham county, in the summer of 1821, when he was but 
twenty-five years old, sent him to the lower house of the 
Assembly, then called the House of Commons, as a successor 
of his old Latin teacher, Congressman Settle. And he went 
as a supporter of the program of Judge Murphy, and was 
familiar with his great report on the problems of the com- 
monwealth. He brought to it a mind quite as comprehensive 
as that of his preceptor-statesman, and even more so; but 
with that comprehensiveness, he brought not less of theory, 
but more of organizing constructive power and a more severe 
regard for great realities. A suggestion of the visionary 
might characterize Murphy, and his career had failures in it ; 
but Morehead's life was not characterized by failure and, 
by common consent of all, he was "a man of great vision." 
He was a remarkably well rounded man, physically, with 
his powerful frame and sandy, Scotch temperament, genial 
but serious, magnetic and gentle ; intellectually, with the 
finest cultivation, a mind open to all sides of life, master of 
himself, capable of holding fine ideals in the proportions of 
truth, able also to see hfe whole, a strong writer and a pow- 
erful speaker; socially, able and inclined to meet pleb or 
patrician port to port and as though his vision of manhood 
was so keen that he minified the differences ; and, morally, 
holding his ideals with a constant aggressive intuitive pur- 
pose and power to realize them. While some could hold 



ideals in a speculative way, John Motley Morehead held them 
in a process of realization. If his wagon was hitched to a 
star, he kept the wheels to a well-paved highway. Vision 
and action were undivorced, and he so lived in that kind of 
a presence, that it produced the impression of a combined 
modesty, boldness and wisdom, that makes him a difficult 
character to picture. Not that this ripeness was complete 
in this, his twenty-fifth summer, but the foundations were 
all there; and he approached the problems of North Caro- 
lina with this kind of character. 

And those problems were unique, among all the common- 
wealths of the union, and even all countries of the world. 
No land in the world had just such a combination of 
problems ; and no man was to enter upon their solution with 
so great a comprehension, as he came to penetrate into them 
more and more from year to year. 

Let us see just what they really were — and, it may be 
added, still are! And they are wonderfully interesting, 
going back to what some have called "Lost Atlantis." 

To find the problems of North Carolina, let us go to the 
Island of Hayti, and go to the top of Mt. Tina. Here one 
stands on the top of a mountain on a mountain, for the 
Island of Hayti is itself the top of a submarine mountain, 
as are all the West Indies up to the Bermudas — mountains 
which themselves rise from a submarine continent; so that, 
from the top of Mt. Tina, down its sides and down to its 
base in the bottom of the ocean, is a height greater than Mt. 
Everest by nearly two miles — about 10,000 feet greater, to 
be more exact. The great depths about this submerged 
continent, so near to the American shore, and by some sup- 
posed to be the lost Atlantis, gives a new meaning to that 
more than seven-mile depth of waters that stream about its 
sides into the Gulf of Mexico, continually acquiring more 
head, and passing out along the front of Florida, Georgia 
and South Carolina, about thirty miles out, and with a 
velocity of about three miles an hour, and with so vast a bulk 
that it is itself a feature of continental proportions. 

As it reaches the front of North Carolina and begins 
to pass out of the gigantic gateway between it and the Ber- 


mudas, it both spreads out and meets the cold current down 
the coast; and the junction of these cold and heated bodies 
helps to make the storms of these waters most dangerous, 
while in earlier days, before the Stream was understood, its 
uncanny power to secretly move vessels out of their courses 
contrary to all reckoning, made this region a terror to 
mariners. But, if storms were produced by this junction, 
the pressure of the opposing stream.s upon each other and 
the coast of North Carolina, for centuries, caused all her 
rivers to slow up so much as they entered the ocean, that 
they dropped their silt and sand, which their succeeding 
waters at first built up into alluvial lowlands ; and then, as 
these drew nearer deep water, the Gulf stream built up a 
barrier of the most perfect lacery of bars and dunes in 
front of the whole state to be found anywhere in the world. 
To introduce shifting bars and dunes into this stormy pro- 
jection into the ocean, and the dark uncannily moving 
Stream, was to make this cape, which was given the name 
Hatteras, or "Hatteresk," from a tribe of Indians found 
there, famous throughout the maritime world as "the grave- 
yard of the ocean.'" The pressure of the volume of water 

^ The following excerpt from a poem by Joseph W. Holden, entitled "Hat- 
teras," says: 

"Yon lifeless skull shall speak to me, 
This is Golgotha of the Sea! 
And its keen hunger is the same 
In winter's frost or summer's flame." 

With this peculiar front on one end of the State, the other end has the 
distinction of having the highest mountain peak in the eastern half of the 
United States. The artist, Alfred S. Waugh, thus apostrophizes it in The 
Greensboro Patriot, 30th Oct, 1836: 


"Proud monarch of a cloud capp'd race. 
Why hide from us your royal face 

And be but seldom seen? 
Why do you thus in sullen mood 
Around you dash the vap'ry flood 

As if you ne'er had been? 

"Why o'er your sides the screen let fall? 
Why shroud yourself in mystic pall 

And hide your height from view? 
Is it that conscious of your size 
You lift your head above the skies 

To bid the world adieu? 

"Or that you fear the painter's art 
Might from you take in whole or part 

Your glories newly known, 
That thus from public gaze you flee 
And show yourself to none but me 

From top of yellow Roan?" 


from the rivers of North Carolina, penned up within this re- 
markable barricade, was not sufficient to preserve many open- 
ings or inlets, or keep clear what were preserved; while it 
built more lands and cut out new channels, as though accord- 
ing to the whim of the moment. It was thus, that Sir Walter 
Raleigh's Roanoke Island was formed just within the lacy- 
barrier, when there was an inlet near it ; and it was these 
obstacles that finally drove his enterprise to the Chesapeake. 
For behind these barriers were two main bodies of water, 
one, Pamlico Sound, over half as large as the Chesapeake, 
and Albemarle larger than Delaware Bay, both nearly encom- 
passing a great peninsula containing over 5000 square miles 
of heavily over-grown swamp lands, while great flat alluvial 
plains stretched back of these, the whole constituting about 
two-fifths of the state, back to the falls of the various 

The front entrance of the state, therefore, had been al- 
most closed by the sinking of lost Atlantis and her watery 
offspring, the Gulf Stream. The very best inlet in use in 
1821 was that leading to Wilmington, and it had a channel 
of but seventeen feet at high tide, and but eleven feet before 
Wilmington was reached.^ The chief inlet to the Sounds 
and their tributaries was Ocracoke, half way between Capes 
Hatteras and Lookout, with the pressure of water so great 
that there was no perceptible tide; while the bars allowed 
vessels drawing only eight feet of water to enter. The in- 
let near Cape Lookout, at Beaufort, had been held by many 
to have the greatest possibilities, as it had fourteen feet of 
water and a fine harbor within; but, to make it useful to the 
Sounds, canal connections would be necessary, a not very 
formidable undertaking. However, to ask Wilmington, mis- 
tress of the Cape Fear river valley, to endorse the creation 
of this effective rival, or to ask the rich Roanoke planters 
to build up a port so far away, when Virginia's Norfolk or 
Petersburg were so much nearer, was to ask the impossible, 

^ A Memorial from the Inhabitants of Wilmington to the Legislature on 
December 3, 1822, says that before "the great storm" of 1763, the Cape Fear 
bar allowed twenty feet of water at high tide, but this storm made a "New 
Inlet," while in 1813 nearly a mile of the Cape was washed away, since which 
the bar is all right, but the flats are worse, and they ask relief. Papers of the 
Assembly, 1821-2, Historical Commission, Raleigh. 


especially when the constitution of 1776 left these eastern 
leaders dominant in the state. 

Herein was, therefore, the greatest peculiar problem of 
North Carolina — the obstacles to a great port. Its vital 
nature may be realized by thinking of a state's port as her 
heart and head. What were Massachusetts without her 
Boston ; New York State without her city of the same name ; 
Pennsylvania without her Quaker metropolis, Philadelphia; 
Maryland without her Baltimore ; Virginia without her Nor- 
folks and Richmonds ; or South Carolina without her 
Charleston? The metropolitan port is the head, the heart, 
the organizing center of finance, and all great enterprise, the 
keystone of the state's arch. 

As a consequence, when these obstacles drove Sir Walter 
Raleigh's enterprises to the Chesapeake, Norfolk became the 
port of chief entry into the northeastern corner of the colony 
on the northern waters of the Albemarle, and here grew up 
the first chief settlements.^ As the grant of Carolina in 1665 
stretched from that line below Norfolk down to include all 
of northern Florida, and westward to the ocean, there were 
some settlements grew up in the Cape Fear region over 150 
miles beyond the swamps and penned in waters of the 
Sound, which was formed into Clarendon county, most of 
which was below Cape Fear. Consequently about 1689, the 
two settlements became known as North Carolina, mean- 
ing the Albemarle settlements and South Carolina, those 
below and about the Cape Fear river and cape. Some settle- 
ments began to occur between these on Pamlico Sound, one 
at Bath, becoming the center of a new county of the same 
name covering all the colony, except the two regions men- 
tioned ; so that up to 1722, when John Morehead I, was mov- 
ing up the "Northern Neck" of Virginia, there had been three 
counties: 1. Albemarle, covering both banks of that Sound 
and the Roanoke and Tar valleys, of which Edenton became 
the chief town ; 2. Clarendon, roughly covering the Cape Fear 
River valley, but abolished in 1667, of which Wilmington 
became the head ; and 3. Bath, the space between, but after 

^ It should be added that many settlers in this region, when the boundary 
was unsettled, thought they were still in Virginia. 

Carolina, 1665 

North Carolina, c. 16S9 

Maps Showing Origin of North Carolina 

Prepared by the author 

Westward extension varied with variation of British claims 


1667, covering all the rest of the colony with Washington 
town later to displace Bath, and the Xeuse with the Ger- 
man and Swiss settlement of Xew Bern (later written Xew- 
bernj at the head of the estuary as chief inland port, both 
dependent on Ocracoke Inlet, with the Swiss town leading. 
These two big counties were divided into precincts, which in 
1739 became counties themselves, thereby abolishing the two 
mother counties and creating fifteen: in old Albemarle, be- 
ginning at the east were: 1. Currituck; 2. Camden; 3. Pas- 
quotank ; 4. Perquimans ; 5. Chowan — north of the Sound ; 
6. Tyrrell, south of it ; 7. Bertie, westward ; and 8. Edge- 
combe — extending southward nearly to Raleigh site and west 
to what is now Stokes county ; while in old Bath, also begin- 
ning in the east, were, 9. Hyde; 10. Beaufort; 11. Craven; 
12. Carteret; 13. Onslow; 14. Xew Hanover; and 15. 
Bladen — the frontier county extending to the Pacific Ocean. 
It will be observed, therefore, that the first eight, or Albe- 
marle counties are those of the Roanoke and Tar rivers and 
Sound valleys and that they thus had a special community of 
interest at this early date which they were destined never 
to lose ; but the latter seven, or Bath counties, were divided 
in interest because four of them — Hyde, Beaufort, Craven 
and Carteret — were more identified with Pamlico and the 
X'^euse valley, while Onslow was between them and the 
two big counties of Xew Hanover and Bladen, which cov- 
ered the Cape Fear River valley, stretching like a wide 
ribbon northwestward through the center of the colony 
almost to the mountains at the Virginia line. These two 
sections, therefore, had no community of interest — indeed, 
were essentially rivals. 

All three, however, were also cut off, in some measure, 
from their back country, by the beginnings of elevation to 
what is called the Piedmont Plateau, a line roughly approxi- 
mating a parallel to the coast, but with slight curve from 
near the first shoulder in the South Carolina boundary north- 
eastward, east of Raleigh site, to somewhat below the Roa- 
noke crossing of the Virginia line, where are a dozen miles 
of rapids. The Tar rapids are more scattered ; those of the 
Neuse at Smithfield; ar>d those of the greater Cape Fear at 


Fayetteville, while her tributaries are lined with falls and 
rapids. All of which was not designed to encourage early- 
immigration to these upper territories, by water. 

All of this, however, leaves a great triangle, based on the 
South Carolina line, between the Cape Fear river ribbon-like 
valley and the mountains — almost one- fourth of the colony 
— unaccounted for, which is drained by two South Carolina 
rivers, the Yadkin and the Catawba, and were consequently 
unified in their community of interest with South Carolina, 
as much, if not even more than, the Roanoke and Tar valleys 
with Virginia — or would be when they came to be much 
settled. The mountains, too, "The Land of the Sky," were 
always turning their eyes toward the Mississippi valley with 
a unity of isolation of their own. And still, while these eco- 
nomic interests made this and the other divisions of the state 
at an early period, and ethnological and religious groups 
added to the complexity, a political grouping was to take 
place with increased settlement, that was to prove the 
more powerful, as shall be seen presently, for it was destined 
to unite the whole Piedmont plateau and the mountains as 
well, against the ancient eastern alluvial plains. 

For Albemarle county was settled chiefly by English, 
many of whom were Quakers, while the Newbern settlement 
were chiefly German and Swiss, largely destroyed by the 
Tuscarora war of 1712-15 ; and the Cape Fear settlers, about 
the mouth of that river, were also English. The sturdy 
permanent element and larger than the latter two, however, 
and later, was first the Scotch Highlanders, who located at 
the falls of the Cape Fear, where Fayetteville became their 
center, and finally the greatest mass of Scotch-Irish and 
Germans, with many English Quakers, came down the Shen- 
andoah, or the Piedmont, from Pennsylvania and Virginia, 
into the Piedmont and with such rapidity and in such num- 
bers that it almost became like a new colony, encouraged 
thereto by the successive Scotch-Irish executives. Governors 
Johnston, Rowan and Dobbs. 

The estimated population of these fifteen counties in 1739 
was probably about 65,000, for the estimate for 1729 was 
35,000 and 1752, was 100,000; but it rose to 200,000 at the 

Tlie Two Original Counties of 1696 created after and over Original Precincts 

The Two Original Counties showing Precincts created from 1672 to 1705, Bath 

a Precinct until 1696 

The Two Original Counties showing Precincts created from 1705 to 1712, 
remainders of Bath and Albemarle serving as Precincts 

The Two Original Counties showing Precincts, 1712 to 1722 

North Carolina County i 

Prepared by 

Precincts (Counties from 1739;: 1. Chowan; 2. Perquimans; 3. Pasquotank; 4. Currituck; 5. Albe 

1705), Craven (to 1712); 9. Bath (after 1712), C; 


The Two Original Counties showing Precincts created from 1722 to 1729, 
Alhemarle ceasing to be Precinct 

The Two Original Counties showing Precincts created from 1729 to 1734 

Map showing all Precincts transformed into Counties, 1739 

Map showing all Counties created from 1739 to 1749 

/ELOPMENT FROM 1672 TO 1749 

e author 

le (to 1729), Tyrrell (from 1729); 6. Hyde (after 1705), Bath (before 1696); 7. Beaufort; 
ret (after 1722); 10. Bertie; 11. New Hanover; 12. Bladen 

8. Bath (to 


time of the Stamp Act, and 250,000 in 1771 — five years be- 
fore independence and union was declared. And this in- 
crease, while in a measure general in territory, was es- 
sentially an extension southward from the rich Roanoke 
valley and its tributary the Dan, and that, too, from its 
central and upper courses in the Piedmont. This vigorous 
element has been said by some to have begun the Revo- 
lution in the Regulators' war about the time of the Stamp 
Act in what was then Orange county — a western sec- 
tion of old Albemarle and a part of old Bath, extending out 
to include what became young Morehead's old home coun- 
ties — a struggle that lasted six years, and caused a great 
exodus to North Carolina's trans-mountain territory to be 
later known as Tennessee. It is reasonable to suppose that 
the population, by 1774, was nearly 300,000, when a call 
came for a Continental Congress and five men, chiefly of that 
old Albemarle population, braved the British executives' 
wrath and secured a convention even at Newbern, the seat 
of his palace, and elected three Continental Congressmen, 
one of whom was out of the same old county. Mecklen- 
burg, Rowan and Orange, in the Yadkin-Catawba triangle, 
and upper Cape Fear, westward, were the frontier counties 
then, and their capitals, Charlotte, Salisbury and Hillsboro 
took famous part when the guns of 1775 began to reverber- 
ate. And, as has been said previously, it was here the clos- 
ing conflicts of the Revolution occurred. Here it was, too, at 
Hillsboro, after the flight of the British governor, in 1776, 
that a provisional government was formed. In this old 
Albemarle-Roanoke territory, too, at Halifax, on April 12, 
1776, their Continental Congressmen were directed by solid 
vote to secure independence and union. At the same place, 
too, on December 18th, following, a constitution was adopted 
by their convention. 

What was done on that day, just a week before Christ- 
mas, created one of the greatest problems in the state's his- 
tory ; and it was to take nearly eighty years — the better part 
of a century, to secure its solution. The population was so 
distributed that the old principle of the Provincial Conven- 
tion with each county equally represented, with representa- 


tion from each town also, was continued in the new con- 
stitution of 1776/ No evidence has been found that this 
method was considered vicious at that time ; but by 1786, 
when the population is estimated at 350,000, and, the in- 
crease was in the west, and the great principles of repre- 
sentation in a national government were fiercely discussed in 
1787, and the immediately succeeding years, the west, or 
Piedmont and Mountain region, began to challenge the in- 
equality. This challenge, demanding new western counties, 
of necessity, was met by the east, in an endeavor to retain 
her power, by the creation of u»-necessary counties, in her 
territory merely as an off -set : if Caswell in the west is cre- 
ated in 1777, so must Camden be, in the east; and Wilkes 
in the west must be off-set by Nash in the east; although 
Burke was created in the west with no counterpart in the 
east that year. In 1778, however. Gates was created in the 
east, also Jones, whereupon Montgomery was erected in the 
west. So in 1779, Lincoln, created in the west, was met by 
Franklin in the east; and Rutherford and Randolph in the 
west by Warren and Wayne, east, with Richmond on the 
border. War and its aftermath kept them too busy the next 
four years to create counties, but when Moore was created 
in 1784, in the west, Sampson was erected in the east; while 
the erection of Rockingham in the west in 1785 was balanced 
by Robeson the following year. The National Constitution 
kept them busy, but in 1788, when Iredell was erected in 
the west with a vigorous challenge of this method, caused 
by that constitution, no eastern one was created to balance it. 
Three years later, 1791, the same thing occurred: the west 
secured Buncombe and the east Lenoir, but when the west 
secured Person, it was acknowledged a gain. Nothing was 
done then for eight years, when, in 1799, the west secured 
Ashe, but the east got Washington and Greene, which re- 
duced the gain in the west. Over eight years passed again, 
and in 1808, the east met the west's Haywood with Colum- 
bus. This was the status in 1821, when Quiescere non 
Possum began to be effective as the motto of young John 

^ Free negroes were given the right of suffrage. 


Motley Morehead, and he was elected to public life from 
one of those western counties, that of Rockingham, one of 
the westernmost of the old Albemarle-Roanoke group, when 
the west began to be restive with a constitution that could 
be manipulated in so absurd and unjust a way. 

Furthermore, the lower Roanoke and the east were the 
region of great plantations and consequently of great slave 
population; and yet it was the Quakers in the northeast of 
old Albemarle that were the first to give vigor to the emanci- 
pation movement, which later was pushed with power by 
the Manumission Society of the Quakers in Guilford county 
in the west, which became Morehead's permanent home ; but 
of this theme more anon. The federo-national ratio of 
races in voting, introduced with the constitution of the 
United States, in 1787, became a new source of complexity 
between the east and the west, where the slaves were so 
much fewer; and increased the resentments of both. The 
federo-national constitutional ratifying conventions of July, 
1788, and November, 1789, at Hillsboro and Fayetteville re- 
spectively, in the first of which it was merely not ratified 
and in the second ratified, probably furnished no other 
problem, in these earlier years ; and yet it was destined to 
furnish almost her greatest one. The new political science, 
which locates sovereignty in the individual, who creates state 
and nation with leased, revocable, limited sovereignty — the 
great discovery by America — was not yet generally grasped ; 
and it was over a year after this ratification, that it was first 
formulated by James Wilson at the National Capital, in 
the College of Philadelphia (later the University of Penn- 
sylvania), in his so-called "Law Lectures" — and then many, 
many years before it was widely understood and adopted, 
anywhere in the United States. Here again the old Roa- 
noke-Albemarle country led and prevailed in ratification ; but 
young Morehead's revered teacher, Dr. David Caldwell, did 
not believe it was "We the people," who made the consti- 
tution, in which, however, he only represented people in all 
the states who had not yet grasped the new political science ; 
and stood as much in fear of "consolidation," or elimination 
of states, as the extreme Federalists did of anarchy. And 
yet, by that great fear the party of Caldwell and Jones, like 


that of Mason in Virginia and Bryan in Pennsylvania, and 
all those who wished states equally represented in the upper 
house and some pre-cautionary amendments, themselves 
contributed one of the greatest elements to the new politi- 
cal science, namely, protection of the minority by the upper 
house, and individuals in ways provided in the first amend- 
ments. In James Iredell, of Edenton, however, was repre- 
sented North Carolina's final attitude, and in him produced 
the father of one school of constitutional thought, as James 
Wilson of Pennsylvania was of the other, until the American 
people came to see them as complimentary in a more perfect 
political science.^ 

This is not to say that North Carolina was not divided 
between these two schools, as were all the other states ; or 
that even the old Roanoke-Albemarle country was not also 
divided, for it was ; but the tendency to federo-nationaHsm 
was led by old Albemarle county at the earlier period and 
flourished more in the west, when that new population began 
to be more vigorous in leadership. Federo-nationalism in 
both periods meant primarily union ; and union character- 
ized the dominant element in all the period up to the en- 
trance of John Motley Morehead into public life from Rock- 
ingham county.^ It need hardly be said that reference is 

1 Hon. H. G. Connor and Mr. W. W. Pierson, Jr., in well-known articles, 
have made the point that the idea of independence of states, separately, is illus- 
trated in the period from March until November, 1789, after the constitution 
became effective, but before the people of North Carolina ratified it; but North 
Carolina did ratify it, and at no time rejected it, and was merely in process of 
ratification and was a part of United States territory, nor exercised any national 
functions. The case of Rhode Island even cannot reinforce such an idea, be- 
cause she also was a part of the territory of the United States, nor exercised 
any national functions. One is liable to forget that the Declaration was one of 
independence and union; that "the United States in Congress assembled" took 
over the imperial or national powers from Great Britain coincidently with the 
Declaration and no state thought of such a thing as exercising them alone. 
Disagreement with a form of constitution does not break up the meeting, for 
there is an automatic previous order that it becomes effective with a certain 
majority. That majority merely patiently waited for North Carolina and Rhode 
Island to think it over. Nothing is gained by trying to preserve the half-ideas 
that both Federalists and Republicans then had in their groping toward a real 
political science. Although James Wilson is more easily the father of the con- 
stitution than any other man, and has more nearly the right to the title of 
father of political science, yet he did not appreciate, until later, the great prin- 
ciple of minority protection through the upper house — a principle, which like 
the Federal Reserve System, keeps the nation from being led by an American 
Prussia-like majority in the northeast. The devotion to the union in North 
Carolina for the first three-quarters of a century is one of the most striking 
facts of her history. 

^ The term "federal" properly applies to union between states, as such, and 
so represents that part of the government called the Senate; but "national" ap- 
plies to that part resting on "We, the people," etc., namely, the House; the 
executive is therefore a combination of the two, as is the judiciary. The more 
accurate term to describe our government is "federo-national." 


not here made to partisan Federalism or partisan Republico- 
Democracy ; for in the partisan field, North Carolina joined 
most other states in swelling the prestige of the sage of 
Monticello and admiring the Hero of New Orleans as he 
began to appear at the close of that conflict. In the midst 
of these, however, the federo-national tendency still held. 
No state was more proud of the union, and it was upon this 
foundation that young Morehead based his leadership — the 
same basis on which Johnston and Iredell built; but, as has 
been said, this furnished no serious problem at this time. 
North Carolina's problems were essentially from within, not 
from without. 

This political rivalry betv/een the alluvial east and the 
uplands of the Piedmont and mountains, was the basis of 
most of her other problems : Education, Internal Improve- 
ment, Geological Survey, Transportation, Finance, Com- 
merce, Land Reclamation, Agriculture, Manufactures. The 
alluvial east with its great slave plantations, and their sim- 
plicity and self-sufficiency, could not arouse in themselves 
an active interest in these great questions, which were a 
matter of life and death to the Piedmont and mountains ; and 
this sluggishness, which could not be removed but by a po- 
litical revolution, caused an exodus of vast numbers to the 
western and southern states. And still the population in 
1790 was 393,751, and at the end of that century, 478,103; 
while in 1810 it was 555,500 and in 1820 was 638,829, just 
the year before young Morehead entered the Assembly. 
Nevertheless the effort of the west to induce the east to 
provide for these elements of development in the common- 
wealth, except in a reluctant, meager manner, intensified the 
west's political feeling and their determination to go first 
to the root of the matter, namely, secure real representation 
in the Assembly, such as was had in the National House of 
Representatives or most other states. They well knew this 
was transferring political power to the west, and with that 
power, these things would be added unto them; but it be- 
longed to them of right ; and the same thing was in process 
in the nation at large, where the west was preparing to 


elect a President for the same reason and with the same 
phenomena of transfer of poHtical power.^ 

This picture of the problems of North Carolina, supple- 
mented by that of Judge Murphy, whom financial failure 
had overtaken the summer before, causing him to resign and 
return to practice at Greensboro, for a time, is that which 
was before the mind of John Motley Morehead, as he was 
chosen to go to Raliegh and take part in their solution in the 
House of Commons, as the lower house was then called. 

1 The session of the Assembly of 1819-20 was almost entirely given over to 
this fight; and this was taken up again in 1821. 


MoREHEAD Attacks 
Educational and Constitutional Problems 


On August 9, 1821, the vote cast in Rockingham county 
elected Nathaniel Scales to the State Senate and John 
Motley Morehead and James Miller to the House of Com- 
mons. The results were of course not known from all the 
county on that day; but probably were within ten days, or 
by the 20th. By this time, also, it began to be evident that 
the twenty-five-year-old Lawyer and Representative of 
Rockingham county was concerned in another inauguration, 
namely, in the state of matrimony, for on August 25th, he 
went to the Court House in Wentworth, and with a relative 
of his fiancee, Jesse Harper, put up a marriage bond for $500 
to Governor Jesse Franklin, and as he filled it out, did so 
with the usual prospective benedict's trepidation and con- 
fusion writing "Eliza" first, and then writing "Ann" over it, 
adding "Eliza Lindsay," in proper order.^ Two weeks later, 
on September 9th, they were married at the Lindsay home 
near Greensboro, and the Representative of Rockingham 
county, with his Guilford county bride, had the unusual ex- 
perience of becoming at the same time a resident of another 
county than that which he represented, for Mr. and Mrs. 
Morehead at once made a home in Greensboro, which was to 
prove permanent. 

By the time the usual honeymoon w^as over, say some 
two months, or to be exact, on November 19th, Mr. More- 
head was in Raleigh and present in his seat in the House 
of Commons at the capitol. This building was just two 

^ Marriage Bonds of Rockingham County, Historical Commission of N. C, 
at Raleigh. 



years older than young Morehead, himself, having been 
completed under Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight, in 1794. 
It was built of local brick and the State Architect, Wm. 
Nichols, who was making some changes and additions to it, 
had been so perturbed by rumors to the contrary, during 
the summer, that, in the Raleigh Register of July 27th, he 
had assured the public that all would be ready for the 
regular session. Presumably the young representative's 
bride joined him in the "City of Oaks," as the capital was 
well called in that day — a place of 2674 inhabitants, con- 
siderably over half colored, namely, 1497, of which about 
one-seventh, 177, were free negroes. This left a white 
population of only 1177. It was, however, the third city or 
town, in size, Newbern being the largest, at 3663, of which 
2188 were colored (268 free) ; and Fayetteville a close sec- 
ond, at 3532, of which 1614 were colored (277 free) — 
strikingly different from either Newbern or Raleigh, being 
the seat of the Scotch Highlanders who took less to slavery. 
The capital was but slightly larger than Wilmington, at 2633, 
with far over half colored, 1535 (only 102 free). These 
were the larger places, Edenton, Salisbury and Washington 
being scarcely more than villages, with 1561, 1234 and 1034 
inhabitants respectively ; but of these Salisbury had the most 
white people, w^hile Edenton and Washington were con- 
siderably over half colored, so that Edenton's white popu- 
lation was only 634. These were the principal towns, so that 
Raleigh had a very respectable place as a capital city, when 
Representative Morehead of Rockingham, and incidentally 
of Guilford, first entered there upon his public career. 

The House of Commons represented counties only, not 
population — its basis being practically the same as the United 
States Senate, except that each of the six chief towns had a 
representative, and also Hillsboro and Halifax, except 
Raleigh and Washington.^ Salisbury and Hillsboro sent 
probably the ablest and most influential men, the former 
sending Charles Fisher, who was easily the House leader, 
while the latter furnished the Speaker, in James Mebane. 

1 This representation was specLfied in the constitution of 1776, when Raleigh 
and Washuigton were not in existence. 

















D. L. Berringer of Raleigh was also rather prominent, but 
Fisher was easily the leader of the House. He was only 
seven years older than Morehead, a native of Rowan county 
and educated chiefly by Rev. Dr. McPheeters of Raleigh. 
Educated for the law also, he was diverted from it, to the 
State Senate in 1818 and Congress in 1819-20, but was now 
returned to the House of Commons as leader of the west 
in their proposed attack on the old constitution, and was 
destined to so continue until the fight was won. Young 
Morehead enlisted under his banner. 

In the organization of the House, young Morehead was 
assigned to his first committee on the 23rd of November; 
and it was no unimportant one either, namely, that on the 
settlement of the boundary between North Carolina and the 
states of Georgia and Tennessee, a necessity in the disposal 
of the Cherokee lands in that corner of the common- 
wealth. Four days later he was added to the committee on 
Correcting Bills on which day he first had occasion to express 
himself on a yea-and-nay question, voting with a great 
majority postponing indefinitely a bill relative to slaves exe- 
cuted for capital offenses. On the 28th, he made his first 
motion, namely, that the Judiciary Committee consider in- 
creasing of penalty on Sheriffs and other officers for fail- 
ing to make due returns of writs, etc., and on the 30th pre- 
sented his first bill, to alter an act of 1741 for restraining 
taking of excessive usury, and it passed first reading. The 
same day was to witness his first experience on the losing 
side, when he voted to postpone indefinitely a repealer of an 
act of 1820 providing for payment of costs when a slave 
was convicted of a capital crime ; but on December 1st he was 
effectively against a bill fixing vacant lands at 5 cents an 
acre; while on the 4th he was one of a committee of two to 
join two of the Senate in conducting the election of a suc- 
cessor to Governor Franklin.^ It was the 6th, before the 
gubernatorial deadlock was broken by the election of Gen- 
eral Gabriel Holmes of Sampson county. 

^ It may be noted that as the Governbr was elected by the Legislature under 
the constitution of 1776 and was given almost no powers, the chief executive 
became a mere figure-head and voice of the Assembly, unless, like Johnston, 
and Swain, later, he happened to be a strong personality. 


The constitution of 1776 had provided for public edu- 
cation, but it was so nearly a dead letter, that efforts to make 
it eft'ective had been in vain ; but, Francis L. Hawks of New- 
bern, afterward a minister, after the gubernatorial election 
was settled on the same day proposed a resolution for an in- 
quiry into whether the Legislature had obeyed the consti- 
tution in establishing a public school system, and directing 
the formulation of plans, if it had not. Young Morehead's 
reputation as a student and teacher, as well as lawyer, 
marked him for fourth place, next to Charles Fisher, on a 
committee of sixteen. He was, therefore, recognized as a 
lieutenant leader in the proposed founding of a public school 
system for North Carolina. It was perfectly natural, also, 
that this newly born benedict should, on the same day, pre- 
sent a bill providing for recording of marriage licenses, as 
he did, and it passed first reading. 

Mr. Morehead was very active. Governor Holmes was 
sworn in by Chief Justice Taylor on the 7th in the House, 
after which the Rockingham representative was made one of 
a committee of five to consider the needs of orphans. The 
red-letter day, however, was three days later, December 10th, 
for on that day Mr. Fisher, paving the way for the new 
educational program, put through a motion to consider the 
advisability of creating a fund to be known as "The Literary 
and School Fund ;"^ while he also put through a resolution 
for a vote of the people on a Constitutional Convention on 
the federal ratio, white and three-fifths colored.- Before 
this got into Committee of the whole on the 18th, several 
things occurred : Morehead lost his usury bill 100 — to 25 ; 
Fisher got the State Library put in the west wing confer- 
ence room; Fisher proposed a road through the Cherokee 
lands to meet one being built in Tennessee ; arrangements 
were made to receive the new statue of Washington ; Fisher 

^ The action on this fund seems to have been precipitated in part by the 
question then before Congress of disposing of public lands for educational pur- 
poses in each of the states. Maryland and New Hampshire had approached 
North Carolina on the subject and a committee had reported on it. Raleigh 
Register, J ^n. 4, 1822. 

-This subject had already been introduced in the Senate, but that body 
curtly refused to receive it, although they gave it somewhat more courtesy 


and Morehead failed in an effort to make a change in David- 
son county ; and lost and won in some yea-and-nay votes. 

On the 18th, however, came action on the constitutional 
question. The chief executive, at this time, might have 
used the exact words of another in opening this session, 
when, on referring to important subjects before it he used 
these words : "Of these, the proposition to amend the con- 
stitution of this State, first introduced into the General As- 
sembly, in 1787, and which has continued to command the 
public attention for nearly half a century, is regarded as most 
prominent. . . . The proposition to change the system in 
1787, and the following year, was introduced and sustained 
by some of the most distinguished statesmen of that era, 
who were also conspicuous members of the Congress which 
framed the constitution itself." 

It may be explained, before quoting this executive 
further, that North Carolina extended to the Mississippi 
river in 1787 and 1788, and what is now Tennessee was 
nearly covered by six counties, namely, the four shown in 
the accompanying map of 1783 : Sullivan, in the northeast 
corner of vi^hat is now Tennessee; Washington, stretching 
from that to the southern boundary ; Greene, paralleling that 
across the state ; and Davidson, covering somewhat more 
than the northern half of the rest of the state to the Ten- 
nessee river — the rest being unorganized ; and finally the 
county of Hawkins, carved from little Sullivan, and Sumner, 
from Davidson, on January 6, 1787.^ 

'Tt was adopted in both instances by one branch of the 
legislature," continues that executive, "and would most 
probably have succeeded in the other, but for nearly unani- 
mous opposition of the members from the counties which 
now constitute the state of Tennessee. It was then, as at 
present, the source of contention between the populous and 
sparsely settled counties, and hence the change was uni- 
versally desired by the maritime portion of the State. The 
cession of our western territory to the general government, 
obviated to some extent, the inequality previously com- 

1 Colonial Records, Clark, Vol. XXIV, pp. 826 and 830. The accompany- 
ing map is from one in Vol. XVIII, at p. 496, by E. W. Myers. 


plained of, and restored temporary harmony to our public 
councils."^ Governor Franklin, however, did not even men- 
tion the subject and declined reelection. 

The "temporary harmony" referred to, caused by the 
cession to the nation in 1790 of what is now Tennessee fol- 
lowed by its erection as that state in 1796, was only tempo- 
rary; for the state's population rose from 393,751 in 1790 to 
638,829 in 1820 — an increase of 245,078 in thirty years, or 
about 25,000 every decade, but an increase that was so 
largely west of Raleigh, that the "populous" and "sparsely 
settled" portions gradually became reversed in location, the 
west becoming relatively more "populous" and the east 
relatively more "sparsely settled !" Therefore soon after the 
census of 1810 appeared, the west began to want revision 
and the east to take the conservative position of the extreme 
west, or Mississippi valley counties of 1787! And the past 
decade, with the census of 1820, had only intensified it and 
now the fight was on in earnest with Fisher of Salisbury in 
the lead and Morehead as chief lieutenant; and the fray 
began in committee of the whole on December 18, 1821. 
Mr. Fisher made a very able speech, in which he attacked the 
"sacredness" of the work of the Revolutionary fathers in 
making the constitution of 1776. "Sir," said he, "the Pro- 
vincial laws and customs were the materials out of which 
the Constitution [of North Carolina] was built, and the 
Constitution is little more than a compilation from these 
materials." He was ably answered by Mr. Hawks of New- 
bern — the largest town in the state — and Mr. Alston of Hali- 
fax.2 Whereupon Mr. Morehead entered upon his defense 
and attack on the opposition. This seems to be his maiden 
formal effort and is the earliest of his addresses which have 
come down to us. 

In this debate on December 18, 1821, Mr. Morehead said 
this subject was one of great interest to the State, and on the 
decision of which no man could feel indifferent. It is a 

^Executive message of Gov. David L. Swain, 17th November, 1834. 

- Hawks was tivo years younger than Morehead and both died the same 
year. He had studied law under William Gaston, of Newbem, and was in the 
Assembly as a lawyer, although in 1827 he was ordained in the Protestant 
Episcopal Church and becajne one of the most distinguished divines in New 
York City. 

« o 


a V 
< j: 











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question which is calculated to call forth that kind of public 
feeling which is necessary for the welfare of the republic. 

He "was sorry to see anything like party feeling intro- 
duced into this argument. He must tell the gentleman from 
Newbern (Mr. Hawks) that he had misunderstood the re- 
mark of the gentleman from Salisbury (Mr. Fisher), when 
he said we will have a Convention ; it was not the language 
of menace, which he used, but of prediction. 

"li he could prevail on his friends from the East to 
attend dispassionately to a plain statement of facts, he should 
have no doubt of convincing them that our present represen- 
tation is unequal and unjust, though they might still doubt 
the policy of the proposed amendment. 

"But the gentleman from Newbern has endeavored to 
excite an alarm in the committee, which was calculated to 
prevent a fair discussion of the merits of the question. 

"The gentleman from Halifax (Mr. Alston) had com- 
pared some of our large and small counties to the States of 
New York and Rhode Island, under the General Govern- 
ment. [Mr. A. explained.] How are these States repre- 
sented in Congress? Like the counties in this State in the 
General Assembly ? No, sir ; the United States are each of 
them distinct and independent sovereignties, whereas our 
counties are marked out by lines changeable at the will of 
the Legislature. Congress cannot divide a State, or inter- 
fere with it at all. Mr. Morehead hoped, therefore, this 
comparison will pass for naught. 

"Do we," he asked, "see property represented in the 
General Government? No; the Senate is composed of men 
representing the sovereignty of the several States. Go, 
then, to the House of Representatives. Is there anything 
like property there respected ? No ; nothing but freemen, 
with the exception of three-fifths of other persons, which 
was a matter of compromise with the Southern States at 
the time the Constitution was formed. 

"And is there any reason," he asked, "why property 
should be represented in this government? If so, how would 
gentlemen have property represented? How is the Senate 
at present composed? Is it not the representative of the 


landed interests of the country? Is not this a sufficient 
representation of property? Would you have your slaves 
represented as in the general government ? Would you have 
property represented in both houses? If so, you would put 
it in the power of wealth to dispose of the destinies of your 

"But the gentleman from Newbern says that Mr. Jeffer- 
son and Mr. Madison, whom he calls the high-priests of Re- 
publicanism, live in Virginia, where no person unpossessed of 
freehold property is permitted to vote for a representative ; 
yet he says they do not complain, nor are their unrepresented 
people less ready to fight the battles of their country. Sir, 
in the late contest with Great Britain we have seen the sturdy 
yeomanry of Virginia ordered to Norfolk for her protection ; 
we have seen them fall victims to the climate and to expo- 
sure ; and they now lie mouldering in the dust, sacrificed by 
the laws of a country in which they had no voice ; sacrificed 
by the laws of a State in which they were legislatively anni- 
hilated." He "admired the character of Virginia ; he rever- 
enced her sages ; but he hoped he should not be considered as 
a political infidel, when he told the committee, he shuddered 
to think, that the poor freemen of his State should ever be 
excluded from the Legislative councils of the country. 

"To whom," he asked, "did this country belong, when it 
burst the British fetters and became independent? It cer- 
tainly belonged to the whole community, and not to the 
wealthy alone. Why, then, should the people be deprived 
of any privilege for which they jointly fought and to which 
they are justly entitled?" 

He "believed, if he could assure himself that the situ- 
ation of this State would always remain as it now is, he 
would not be in favor of calling a Convention ; for no gentle- 
man of that committee held the constitution more sacred 
than he did. He approached it with that awe, with which 
Moses approached his God while the thunders of Sinai were 
playing around him ; he touched it with that diffidence with 
which the Israelites touched the Ark of the Covenant. But 
the foundation of our political Fabric is rotting ; we must re- 
pair it in time, or in time it will tumble. 


"What," he asked, "was the situation of things at the time 
when our present constitution was formed? The Eastern 
part of the State was ahnost the only part that was in- 
habited. The West had but few settlers. But our lands are 
now rising in value, and our population is every day in- 
creasing, while the Eastern part of the State remains much 
the same. Take us," said he, "poor as we are, and where 
is the boasted superiority of the East?" He apologized for 
this remark, but said, the moment this subject was intro- 
duced, the gentleman from the East made it a party question. 

He said, "he had made a few calculations on this subject, 
which he would offer to the committee. In this estimate he 
had given Granville to the West [north of Wake county, the 
seat of the capital]. He had considered Wake as neutral, as 
she ought to be. She is as much the darling of the West as 
of the East. He had made his calculation first as the gentle- 
man from Newbern wished it to be, according to Federal 

"The total amount of population (including slaves and 
free persons of color) is 658,829. The whole Federal popu- 
lation of the State is 556,839. The Federal population of 
the 27 Western counties is 305,015, which, reckoning 2993 
persons to send a member, entitles them to 102 members, 
instead of 81, which they now send. The Federal population 
of the 34 Eastern counties is 234,100, which entitles her to 78 
members only, instead of 102, which she now sends. The 
Federal population of Wake county entitles her to six mem- 
bers. Representation, then, upon the Federal principle, 
entitles the West to 21 members more, and the East to 24 
less than they now send tO' the Legislature, and Wake to 3 

"Go to the next principle of representation : that of free 
white population and taxation. The taxes of the whole State 
(exclusive of clerks and auctioneers) is $65,735.60. Taxes 
of the Western counties are $31,184.09; of the Eastern, 
$32,203.41 ; of Wake county, $2348.07. Estimating $353 for 
each member the Western counties will send 88 ; the Eastern, 
91 ; and Wake, 6. 

"Go to the next branch of the principle, that of free white 


population, to which the opposers of these resolutions have 
the greatest objection, and the Western part of the State 
will be entitled to 31 more members than she has at present, 
and the Eastern part to 34 less. 

"For the total white population of the State is 419,200, 
The Western counties have 253,235, which, allowing 2253 
persons to send a member, will give her 112 members. The 
Eastern counties have 154,014, which will give to them 68 
members. The white population of Wake, being 11,951, 
gives to her 5 members. 

"So that upon the principle of free white population and 
taxation combined, the Western counties are entitled to 100 
members, 19 more than at present. The Eastern counties, to 
79 members, which are twenty-three less than at present. 
Wake county, to 5 members, instead of 3. 

"Then compound the representation of the Federal popu- 
lation, free white population and taxation, and the Western 
counties are entitled to 101 members, 20 more than at pres- 
ent, and the Eastern counties will be entitled to 79 members, 
23 less than at present. So that, upon the very principles 
upon which the opponents of the resolutions contend, the 
West evidently labor under important grievances. But 
wealth is sufficiently represented in the Senate to afford it 
self protection. The representation of our State should 
be upon the principle of free white population, requiring 
certain qualifications in the representatives, and in the elec- 
tors of one branch of the Legislature, barely sufficient to 
protect wealth. 

"Wealth fattens on the necessities of poverty; it can 
bribe ; it can corrupt ; and whenever it shall have a predomi- 
nant weight in our government, we may bid farewell to the 
boasted freedom of our Republic, and ignominiously sub- 
mit to the yoke of Aristocratic Slavery. 

"The 34 Eastern counties having a free white population 
or 154,014, send to the Legislature 102 members; the 27 
^^'estern counties send 81 members, which, in the same ratio 
of the East, represent 122,229, leaving a balance of 131,024 
free white persons together with all the negroes of the West, 
arrayed against the negroes of the East, and unrepresented. 


Add to this, Sir, the vast extent of the West, the health of 
the climate, the territory acquired from the Indians, the vast 
increase of the value of the lands and wealth of the West 
from internal improvement ; add these to the grievances 
under which we labor, and ere long they will become in- 
tolerable, not only to patriotism, but to patience itself. 

"When I predict, under these circumstances, a Con- 
vention will be had, can the prophecy be doubted? 

"We have now met the call of the gentleman from New- 
bern. Here is our grievance, which we wish to be at- 
tended to. 

"No man would be more unwilling," said he, "than my- 
self to touch the constitution, if I did not think the occasion 
called for it, and that the time is peculiarly favorable. The 
proposition before the committee ought not to be considered 
in the light of a contest for power. We do not ask from our 
Eastern brother anything to which we are not entitled. Nor 
would we ask for a correction of this grievance, if it were 
not constantly accumulating. For, to do our Eastern breth- 
ren justice, we acknowledge they have wielded their power 
with a great degree of justice and moderation, and it is hoped 
they will continue to do so. 

"It will be to the East, if we are ever invaded. It may 
be expected your protection will not be found in your 
negroes; it will be found in yourselves, or in the strength 
of the West. 

"For equal rights and privileges our fathers jointly 
fought, and bled and died, and their bones now lie hallow- 
ing the soil for the freedom of which they fell a sacrifice. 

"But give us these, and when the demon of desola- 
tion shall hover around your borders, and the tragedy of 
Hampton is to be performed on your shores, call on your 
brethren of the West, and the mountains will roll their might 
to the main, carrying protection to your wives, your children, 
your homes and your country." 

The speeches of Messrs. Fisher and Morehead were the 
objects of Eastern attack, and Thomas W. Blackledge of 

1 Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette, 1st Feb., 1822, from "Debate 
on the Convention Question," House of Commons, 18th Dec, 1821. 


Beaufort was particularly vigorous, complaining that the 
westerners brought up this subject every year. Willis 
Alston of Halifax tried hard to head off the eastern and 
western division that seemed to be becoming more intense 
each year, claiming that it was un-natural ; that the natural 
divisions were four, not two : 1. The old Roanoke- Albemarle 
counties, clear to the Tennessee line ; 2. The Neuse and Tar 
valleys up to Wake and New Hanover; 3. the Cape Fear 
ribbon valley up to Stokes and Rockingham ; 4. The rest from 
Columbus county westward. It was a vigorous fight and it 
classified Fisher and Morehead for life, but when the vote 
came on the 19th of December it was shelved by a vote of 
81 to 47, every one of the counties east of Robeson, Cumber- 
land, Wake (Raleigh) and Granville being against a con- 
vention as "inexpedient." Fourteen of these eastern coun- 
ties paid less than their share of cost of government, while 
but five in the west were in like condition. The Senate 
treated the subject no better, indeed not so well ; for when 
Senator Williamson of Lincoln county introduced a similar 
resolution, they practically refused to entertain it, although 
they reconsidered the next day. The result was that the 
great main object of the session was lost, on this 19th day of 
December, 1821. 

While Mr. Morehead went to and fro in the business of 
law-making, he often saw Chief Justice John Marshall, who 
was then holding the national Circuit Court of this circuit, 
as had Justice James Wilson in the time of Washington. 
On the day before Christmas, too, he took part in the recep- 
tion and dedication of the beautiful statue of the great first 
President, by Canova, in the rotunda of the capitol. This 
artistic creation from Italy had been made from the artist's 
original plaster model, probably the last work he ever did, 
for he died the following October. It represented the great 
American seated, dressed in the Roman toga, and engaged 
in writing his farewell address. It stood high above the 
spectator's head, on a large pedestal, on whose sides were 
bas-reliefs depicting leading victorious scenes in his life. 
It was destined to stand there for only a decade and to be 
beheld in admiration by m.ultitudes, among them being 










































( ) 














































Lafayette ; for it was calcined in the destruction of that 
capitol a decade later.^ Not six months after this day, John 
Adams and Thomas Jefferson, as if in premonition of the 
deaths on the same day, the nation's natal day, too, ex- 
changed philosophical letters on the subject of old age. Rep- 
resentative Morehead and a new generation were coming to 
their own. 

The session only lasted until the 29th, and but few other 
things were done of particular moment to Mr. Morehead, 
who fought the big eastern majority. The new Board of 
Internal Improvement was chosen on Christmas Day, and 
Prof. Denison Olmsted was voted $100 to defray his ex- 
penses in a voluntary geological survey during the summer — 
a field in which this state was destined to take the lead. 
And on the next day a Board of Physicians was proposed, 
Morehead being one of the committee, but the Senate op- 
posed both of these latter two projects. He was also in the 
majority which tried to create an internal improvement 
fund;^ as he was also on a bill to incorporate the Clubfoot 
and Harlowe's Creek Canal Company, a revision of the act 
of 1813, which w^s to connect the Beaufort Harbor with the 
Pamlico Sound. On the last day he was one of the House 
nominees for trustee of the University, but the big eastern 
majority refused to elect him; and with the close of the 
year 1821 Representative Morehead of Rockingham county, 
became for all practical purposes, plain Lawyer Morehead 
of Guilford county, his future home. 

1 The original plaster model of Canova still exists in Italy, and the Italian 
King, in 1909, gave the state a replica in plaster, and it now stands in the Hall 
of History at Raleigh. See Bulletin No. 8, N. C. Hist. Comm., by R. D. W. 

- They succeeded in getting the dividends on state stock in the Newbern 
and Cape Fear (Wilmington) State Banks to the amount of about $25,000, 


Other Problems Follow 

Personal, Slavery, Internal Improvement, Judiciary 

Criminals and Defectives, Transportation 

Quakers and History 


The experience of Lawyer Morehead in challenging 
the eastern counties was calculated to give a wise young 
man of twenty-five years pause. It might naturally seem 
to him that if wealth was so powerful, it might be well for 
him to provide himself with it ; even if Guilford county had 
not already had able men whom she would see no reason 
to displace with a young new citizen from her daughter 
county to the north/ So, for the next four years, he de- 
voted himself to his profession, and to other personal 
problems quite as extensive, if not more so ; for John Motley 
Morehead's mind teemed with development in every line 
that came under his observation, and everything that he 
touched flourished. His interests at this particular period 
were so many-sided, as they always were, and exact record 
of them is so meager, that only general terms can be used 
for the most part, at least for this period, even if more detail 
in treatment of so public a career were desirable. 

His profession as a lawyer, of course, came first and his 
practice extended to County Courts ; the Superior Courts 
created in 1777, and covering the state with eight districts 

^ The western members, in 1822, called an extra legal constitutional con- 
ference to meet in Raleigh on November 10, 1823, and this body formulated 
such a constitution as they thought the west would favor, but as Mr. Morehead 
had no part in it, it need not be considered. Its quarrel over white and federal 
ratio basis, and the success of the latter, did not appeal to men like Morehead 
or his Quaker constituency; for it would have identified the middle with the 
east and left political power as it was essentially. They recommended call of 
a convention the next year but the Assembly, controlled by the east, ig^nored it. 



at this time, his own being the Hillsboro District ; the Su- 
preme Court of North Carolina, which had begun its exist- 
ence January 1, 1819; and the United States District and 
Circuit Courts. There is no record of his admission to the 
bar of the National Supreme Court, and it is not known that 
he had practice outside of the state. He had a widely- 
extended practice within the state, however, and, according 
to one authority, was particularly distinguished in criminal 

The earliest incident discovered is one in which both he 
and William A. Graham were associate counsel with his old 
preceptor, Judge Archibald D. Murphy, and the writer, 
Lyndon Swaim, one-time editor of the Greensboro Patriot, 
says it was "near sixty years since" [writing under date 
January 19, 1883, in the Patriot], which would make it near 
1823, the period now under consideration. It was in a case 
locally known in Randolph county, in whose court the inci- 
dent occurred, as "The Fishtrap Suit." "John M. More- 
head, then young at the bar, and I think also W. A. Graham, 
still younger, were associate counsel," says Mr. Swaim. 
"The suit made a great noise in the neighborhood, and I 
heard the parties, the witnesses, the lawyers, etc., thoroughly 
discussed. Though a mere boy, the circumstances and the 
personnel made a more vivid impression on my mind than 
many a more important matter since. Judge Murphy was, 
in my eye, the central figure. He was very small of stature, 
thin and pale, with a kindly, kindling eye, and a gentleness, 
nay sweetness of expression almost feminine. He was 
dressed with remarkable neatness, his coat hanging some- 
what loosely upon his attenuated frame. The lifting of his 
hat as he stepped into the bar, his bow to the judge, his greet- 
ing to every member of the bar and to the officers of the 
court — nobody was omitted — was such an exhibition of self- 
possession and grace as I had never witnessed before, and 
such as, I yet verily believe, is seldom seen outside of a 
Parisian salon; and the crowning charm was, he made 
everybody feel that he was sincere. His hand-shake, even 
with a boy, left a pleasant memory. There was no hurry 
about it ; he took time to attend to the matter in hand (pardon 


the pun) ; the softly repeated pressure and the lingering 
glance of his dark eyes were magnetic in effect. I have 
never seen but one likeness of him, an engraving in the 
University Magacine, some years ago, probably from an old 
family portrait when he was very young. It was Raphael- 
like in rounded grace of outline and softness of expression. 
The matured face that I saw had the harder lines fixed by 
time and thought and care — nothing left but the gentle ex- 
pression. The Fishtrap trial occupied most of the week. 
The points are beyond recollection. But I remember an ob- 
servation made about Morehead. The second day's exami- 
nation of witnesses was in progress, when Murphy remarked 
to Morehead, 'My young friend, you appear to be taking 
no notes of the evidence.' 'No, Sir,' he replied, 'I depend 
upon my memory.' The senior expressed his apprehension 
of the result. But when Morehead came to 'sum up' before 
the jury, his memory served him with remarkable correct- 
ness and particularity. His success in this case laid the first 
solid foundation stone in the building up of his reputation 
at the bar.'" 

"Mr. Morehead," says a member of the Greensboro bar 
of 1907, "was greatly devoted to the profession of law, and 
while he was eminent in the practice of the civil courts he 
was especially great and successful in the criminal courts, 
and his practice covered a number of counties. He was an 
acknowledged leader in the courts in which he practiced. He 
was retained in nearly all the murder cases in the part of the 
state where he resided and never had a defendant for whom 
he appeared convicted of murder or hanged."- 

"When I entered the profession," says another dis- 
tinguished lawyer of a later date, 'T met him here [Greens- 
boro] at the May term of the County Court, and found him 
occupying the position of leader on his circuit. I was pleased 
with his appearance, was attracted by his amenity and fasci- 
nated by his talents. His personal presence was imposing, his 
face beamed with kindness, and when he addressed the court 

1 The Papers of Archibald D. Murphy, Hoyt, Vol. II, pp. 432-3 

2 Publications of The Guilford County Literary and Historical As 
Vol. I, p. 57, The Bench and Bar of Guilford County by Levi M. See 



and jury, I heard him with delight, and was filled with admi- 

On January 17, 1822, he was among those whom conflict 
of new dates of the Superior Court, made by the Legislature, 
caused inconvenience and loss. Lawyer John M. Dick, of 
Greensboro, writing to Thomas Ruffin at Hillsboro, on 
the above date says : "You inform me that our legislature 
has legislated you out of two courts and express a hope that 
you are the only sufferer among your brethren. I am a 
fellow sufferer with you, and we are by no means alone, Mr. 
Little, Mr. Morehead and several others are much injured 
by the changes. I am legislated out of Orange County Court 
and the Superior Court of this county will sometimes con- 
flict with the County Court of Randolph County. "- 

An eminent lawyer who was admitted to the bar about a 
decade later says : "When I was about to start out to prac- 
tice law, I asked the advice of Judge Mangum. He named 
the courts which he advised me to attend. 'But, Judge Man- 
gum,' said I, 'the oldest lawyers in the State practice in those 
courts, and have all the business. And I have neither repu- 
tation, nor friends, nor money.' 'No matter,' said he, 'go 
where there is business ; do not fear competition. The ex- 
amples of these great men are just what you need. If you 
want to find tall trees, you must go among tall trees.' I took 
his advice and proved its wisdom. I was soon in full prac- 
tice ; and never met those great men that I did not feel a 
longing to be like them — Badger, Nash, Devereux, Haywood, 
Graham, Morehead, Norwood, Saunders, Mangum, Waddell, 
Gilliam, Bryan, Miller, Iredell — an abler bar than that of the 
United States Supreme Court, as I have heard Mr. Badger 
say."^ These were the courts in the northern part of the 
state — the old Roanoke- Albemarle and adjacent territory 
south and west. If to this list one adds William Gaston of 
Newbern, there were no greater lawyers in the state, in the 
period before the civil war, and most of these came to have 

^ Hon. John Kerr in memorial oration, 26th Feb., 1867, at Wentworth, 
N. C. 

2 The Ruffin Papers, Hamilton, Vol. I, p. 261. 

^ Hon. Edwin Godwin Reade, LL.D., of Raleigh, in an address before the 
North Carolina Bar Association on July 9, 1884, p. 12. 


a national reputation. Morehead was recognized by these 
men as one of them, probably as early as 1825, and certainly 
was recognized as one of them by the profession and people 
at large. 

It was in this latter year that he erected the residence 
on an elevation in the midst of an oak grove of the original 
forest on the edge of Greensboro, now at the corner 
of Washington and Edgworth streets, that became 
famous under the name "Blandwood," whose hospitality 
was so notable that "mine host" of the various Greensboro 
inns and taverns was often piqued at the loss of what might 
have been theirs. By the close of this year in the new home, 
Mr. and Mrs. Morehead had two children, one Letitia 
Harper Morehead, then two years old, while the second 
daughter, Mary Corinna, was born on November 27th of 
that year. 

They had been but a few months in "Blandwood," when 
the people of Guilford county, in August, 1826, as though 
taking the establishment of that home as evidence of perma- 
nent citizenship, elected Mr. Morehead again to the House of 
Commons at Raleigh during the following summer. There 
were tive candidates for the two places, Morehead receiving 
the highest, 1125 votes, and Francis L. Simpson 867, the 
three others falling below 777 . The reason for this w^as 
the great questions that were to come up before the Assem- 
bly, for it was a great time. The rumblings of Jacksonism 
had begun to be heard, and North Carolina's attitude at 
this time was significant, for when the election was thrown 
in the national House of Representatives the previous year, 
she was one of the four states which voted for Crawford 
[Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and Delaware], when 
seven voted for Jackson antl thirteen for Adams. 

It will be well to note the significance of this, for it is a 
complicated matter, and of great moment to Mr. Morehead 
and his constituency: In a certain sense it was a question 
of slavery and the Quakers' objection to it. This denomina- 
tion had petitioned the Fifth Congress against slavery — the 
first North Carolina petitioned against it ; and they utilized 
it again and again, until it was objected to when John Quincy 

y. ^. 

o u 

2-. ^ 


Adams defended them. They had exercised manumission so 
freely that the large element of free negroes was by some 
attributed almost wholly to them/ About 1800 a state law 
was passed that no negro should be freed except a bond be 
given that he should leave the state. By 1826 Quakers in 
North Carolina, led by the three Quaker counties of 
Guilford, Randolph and Chatham, which formed one dis- 
trict, decided on general manumission as far as it could be 
effected. On May 30, 1826, the Raleigh Register an- 
nounced that beside 64 already sent to Ohio and 58 to 
Liberia, Dr. George Swaine, of Guilford county, had charge 
of over 500 more to be shipped out of the state: about 100 
to Indiana and Ohio; 316 to Liberia; and 120 which were 
to embark at Beaufort for Hayti, in which colored repub- 
lic there was great public interest as well as some apprehen- 
sion. It was this subject also which led so many of the 
Quakers to emigrate to Indiana and in due time make it the 
greatest Quaker state in the union. 

In December, 1823, the western party in the Assembly 
tried to instruct Congressmen to oppose the old Jeffersonian 
caucus method of nominating President, but the eastern 
members rallied and secured the recommendation of Craw- 
ford to the people. In 1824 the Harrisburg Convention 
nominated Jackson and Massachusetts had offered Adams, 
while Kentucky offered Clay. Thereupon the three Quaker 
counties of North Carolina, above mentioned, held a meet- 
ing at Greensboro and denounced the caucus, and endorsed 
their old defender, Adams, with Jackson as second choice. 
On May 3, 1824, Judge Murphy wrote : 'T have been grati- 
fied at the prospects of General Jackson's friends in every 
county in my circuit, until I reached Guilford. That county 
is divided : Mr. Adams has, I think the majority. Mr. Craw- 
ford has the next greatest number of friends. Genl. Jack- 
son has no active friend in the county, except Mr. Morehead. 
I do not therefore calculate much on Guilford."- In Novem- 

^ Brigadier General Jesse Spaight of Greene County, in a good speech said 
Friends were responsible for the element of free negroes that were a source of 
so much difficulty. Raleigh Register, Jan. 26, 1827. 

- The Murphy Papers, Hoyt, Vol. I, p. 297. 


Adams defended them. They had exercised manumission so 
freely that the large element of free negroes was by some 
attributed almost wholly to them/ About 1800 a state law 
was passed that no negro should be freed except a bond be 
given that he should leave the state. By 1826 Quakers in 
North Carolina, led by the three Quaker counties of 
Guilford, Randolph and Chatham, which formed one dis- 
trict, decided on general manumission as far as it could be 
effected. On May 30, 1826, the Raleigh Register an- 
nounced that beside 64 already sent to Ohio and 58 to 
Liberia, Dr. George Swaine, of Guilford county, had charge 
of over 500 more to be shipped out of the state : about 100 
to Indiana and Ohio; 316 to Liberia; and 120 which were 
to embark at Beaufort for Hayti, in which colored repub- 
lic there was great public interest as well as some apprehen- 
sion. It was this subject also which led so many of the 
Quakers to emigrate to Indiana and in due time make it the 
greatest Quaker state in the union. 

In December, 1823, the western party in the Assembly 
tried to instruct Congressmen to oppose the old Jeffersonian 
caucus method of nominating President, but the eastern 
members rallied and secured the recommendation of Craw- 
ford to the people. In 1824 the Harrisburg Convention 
nominated Jackson and Massachusetts had offered Adams, 
while Kentucky offered Clay, Thereupon the three Quaker 
counties of North Carolina, above mentioned, held a meet- 
ing at Greensboro and denounced the caucus, and endorsed 
their old defender, Adams, with Jackson as second choice. 
On May 3, 1824, Judge Murphy wrote: 'T have been grati- 
fied at the prospects of General Jackson's friends in every 
county in my circuit, until I reached Guilford. That county 
is divided : Mr. Adams has, I think the majority. Mr. Craw- 
ford has the next greatest number of friends. Genl. Jack- 
son has no active friend in the county, except Mr. Morehead. 
I do not therefore calculate much on Guilford."- In Novem- 

^ Brigadier General Jesse Spaight of Greene County, in a good speech said 
Friends were responsible for the element of free negroes that were a source of 
so much difficulty. Raleigh Register, Jan. 26, 1827. 

- The Murphy Papers, Hoyt, Vol. I, p. 297. 


ber, however, the western counties were for Jackson, "the 
People's" candidate, forty-two of them, except the Quaker 
counties and home of Mr. Morehead; these latter finally 
joined the twenty-one eastern counties in voting for Craw- 
ford, in hopes of throwing the contest into the national 
House of Representatives and there getting their favorite 
candidate, Adams. The electoral vote of the State, when 
given on December 1, 1824, was unanimous for Jackson ; 
but when it was up before the national House of Representa- 
tives, the North Carolina Congressmen voted an organization 
vote: 10 for Crawford; 2 for Jackson; and 1, the member 
from the Quaker district, had the pleasure of voting for their 
favorite, John Quincy Adams, and seeing him elected, and 
the old organization receive a stinging rebuke.^ Thus Mr. 
Morehead's district, in which Jackson, his own candidate, 
was second choice, voted for its first choice, Adams ; but Mr. 
Morehead, himself, was with the solid west against the east 
and for the anti-organization unsuccessful candidate, Gen- 
eral Andrew Jackson, who was also the Quakers' second 
choice. He was consequently in an excellent political posi- 
tion and a recognized power, to be reckoned with when he 
entered the Assembly of 1826. 

With this personal political prestige, however, he faced 
a great lethargy among the eastern people regarding internal 
improvement ; they had transportation ; it was the west that 
wanted it, but they had not the political power. Then, too, 
the great leader of the internal improvement plans for river 
and canal transportation, Judge Archibald Murphy, had lost 
prestige through his financial failure, extending even to a 
debtor's prison. A few leaders were becoming thoughtful 
about a new mode of transportation that was gradually be- 
coming more and more a subject of experiment in various 
parts of the world. This was a mode of making a smooth 
road on two wooden or iron rails laid parallel — an improve- 
ment on the old plank or corduroy roads on which the wood 
was laid crosswise, instead of lengthwise. It had been used 
of course as early as the sixteenth century, and wath the 

1 State Rights and Political Parties in North Carolina, Henry McGilbert 
Wagstaff, Ph.D., p. 47. 


advance in iron manufacture by 1820, malleable iron rails 
had been used very successfully in isolated instances in 
Great Britain. The first line in the United States was a short 
quarry one near what is now Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, at 
the Leiper quarries, in 1809 — a quarry still in operation. 
This became the model for heavy carrying and the power 
was the horse or mule. In Great Britain some success was 
had with steam engines on the common road and by 1814 
Stephenson had tried such an engine on the Killingworth 
tracks, although they did not supersede the horse ; but, in 
1825, the year before Mr. Morehead's election by Guilford 
county, a success was made on the Stockton and Darlington 
Railway in England, who had then about twenty-eight such 
small "rail- ways ;" but the idea had not gained much ground 
in America except the tramroad like that at the Leiper quar- 
ries. The earliest note of a considerable extension of this 
idea appeared in Philadelphia during the winter previous to 
his election : "A great railroad is contemplated from Phila- 
delphia," says the Raleigh Register of January 27, 1826, "to 
Pittsburgh, by way of Lancaster, York and Chambersburgh, 
a distance of 340 miles, with a branch from the neighborhood 
of Gettysburg to Baltimore, each state to be interested in pro- 
portion to its wealth and population, to be effected by steam 
power. It is calculated that a cargo of seventy-five tons 
might be carried on the proposed road, at the rate of six 
miles an hour, which would complete the journey in three 
days and three nights !'" This was Philadelphia and Balti- 
more's reply to the success of Governor Clinton's Erie Canal 
in gaining western traffic and making New York a rival. 
Some of the thoughtful in North Carolina, discouraged by 
the attitude of the east toward river improvement began to 
be interested in the new method of two parallel rails, with 
whatever power, and Morehead and his old University Presi- 
dent, Dr. Joseph Caldwell, were among the number, though 
there was no public discussion at this time. 

There was much discussion of another subject, however: 
On a certain occasion during the previous year a famous 

1 The exclamation point represents contemporary astonishment, although it 
may also be utilized for current amusement 


American said in an address : "It is said, that in England, 
not more than one child in fifteen possesses the means of 
being taught to read and write; in Wales, one in twenty; 
in France, until lately when some improvement has been 
made, not more than one in thirty-five. Now it is hardly 
too strong to say, that in New England, every child possesses 
such means.'" This was published to pave the way for 
the reception of the report of the Public Education Com- 
mittee of November, 1825, composed, among others, of Chief 
Justice Taylor and President Joseph Caldwell, who reported 
a system of public education for which the Literary and 
School Fund was founded. Likewise a committee on in- 
vestigation of method of caring for insane and defectives 
was to report. 

Closely connected with and underlying all of them was 
the state financial system. North Carolina, in 1804, had been 
among those states that feared the power of the Bank of the 
United States, a sentiment that led to the refusal of the 
Jeffersonians to re-charter it in 181 1. In 1804 North Caro- 
lina had established two state banks, one at her largest town, 
Newbern, and the other at Wilmington, then known as the 
Cape Fear. In 1810 "The State Bank" at Raleigh had been 
chartered with the expectation that these two banks would 
become branches, but in 1812 they asked to be left inde- 
pendent and enlarged, and in 1813 were. The State Bank 
had only been chartered for five years ; so in December, 
1825, a new one had been created with mother bank at 
Raleigh and branches at Edenton, Tarboro, Wilmington, 
Fayetteville, Newbern and Salisbury.- And in these and 
the two old banks of Newbern and Cape Fear, the state had 
5500 shares, then worth about half a million and yielding 
about $60,000 a year. This partial state ownership was like 
that of the Banks of the United States and England ; indeed 
the custom was general, only about three states having it 

1 Daniel Webster, in an address at Plymouth, in 1825. 

-Charles Fisher said on 2nd January, 1829, that the State Bank was or- 
ganized because the currency was then composed of old Proclaniation bills and 
Newbern and Cape Fear bank notes, and as the former were legal tender, the 
latter banks would use them to pay their own notes and so avoid paying specie. 
The State Bank .was established therefore to make specie possible, as neighbor- 
ing states had complained of the action of the two eastern banks. 


otherwise. The State Bank vs. a Bank of the United States 
was coming to divide North Carolina as it was other states ; 
and this was a part of the whole question of state vs. nation, 
or state fear of national power, complicated by needs of a 
national currency system. The tariff of 1824 entered into 
the complication. 

These were the great subjects that confronted Representa- 
tive Morehead of the Quaker district, who trained with Pres- 
byterians, whose pastor had been his old teacher, Dr. David 
Caldwell, and usually attended the First Presbyterian 
Church of Greensboro, w^hen it was organized on Oc- 
tober 3, 1824, two years before. The Assembly of 1826 was 
differently organized from that of 1821, and the eastern ma- 
jority put John Stanly of Newbern into the Speaker's chair. 
Mr. Morehead's old chief, Charles Fisher, of Salisbury, 
was there as before ; but the mountains furnished the great 
leader of the session in David L. Swain of Buncombe, his 
native county. He had received, like Morehead, such a 
private education that he was able to enter the University 
in the Junior class in 1821. Studying law under Chief 
Justice Taylor, he was licensed in 1822, and in 1825 was 
elected to the House of Commons and contributed much to 
the great work of the Assembly. He was easily chief of the 
Assembly of 1826 also, when Mr. Morehead took his seat on 
November 26th, the second day of the session. Governor 
H. G. Burton drew their attention to a feature of internal 
improvement calculated to increase the available funds of the 
state, namely, the drainage and reclamation of swamp lands, 
which was destined to be a considerable source of future in- 
come to North Carolina. The Governor also laid before 
them, in more or less indignant terms some resolutions re- 
ceived from the State of Vermont. It seems that in 1824 the 
state of Ohio had proposed to Indiana and other states, and 
Indiana had approved a proposal for gradual emancipation 
of slaves, somewhat on the Pennsylvania plan of 1780 ; that 
Georgia had countered with a proposal of an amendment to 
the Constitution forbidding the importation of slaves into a 
state contrary to its own laws; and that Vermont had ex- 
pressed its disapproval of it and willingness to cooperate 


with a proper course in gradual emancipation. This Gov- 
ernor Burton submitted to the Assembly with his somewhat 
indignant comments, to the effect that North Carolina was 
well aware of the gravity of the slave problem, quite as much 
as states that had no such problem. It should be added that 
the Ohio proposal differed chiefly from that of Pennsylvania, 
in providing colonization of all free negroes. 

On December 27th, Mr Morehead was again put on the 
Committee of Education, and on the following day pro- 
posed a Joint Committee on Public Buildings. After holi- 
days, on January 2, 1827, he proposed a joint committee to 
act on the Colonization Society memorial ; and two days later, 
with leave, presented a bill, at the request of the Quakers, 
providing for emancipation of slaves under certain con- 
ditions. On this later day, however, he presented one of his 
own, namely, a bill to erect Courts of Equity to be held in 
each district by the Supreme Court Judges, taking it away 
from the Superior Courts. 

On January 5, 1827, Representative Morehead had occa- 
sion to say something on his profession of the law, when he 
advocated a bill safeguarding clients of lawyers under twen- 
ty-one years of age. He felt "a pride in belonging to the 
profession of the law." He said some gentlemen did not be- 
lieve that there existed a jealousy of the law but he "was of 
a different opinion." 

On the 8th, he was among those who advocated the legal 
date of beginning the legislative session as the second Mon- 
day in December. On the 13th, Mr. Morehead, in advo- 
cating the bill to establish Courts of Equity, called it before 
committee of the whole and spoke at great length upon it, 
after which the tragic incident occurred of Speaker Stan- 
ly's sudden attack of a stroke of paralysis covering one side 
of his body ; and the consequent appointment of General 
James Iredell as Speaker pro tempore. 

Mr. Morehead was very active during this session and 
especially on this subject. He spoke at great length on the 
16th, especially in behalf of necessity for such courts in the 
Hillsboro District. He said that "the white population of 
the Hillsboro District was more than one-fourth part 


of the whole state. The whole white population of the state 
being 419,200 and that of Hillsboro District 110,000; that 
Newbern and Edenton Districts together contained less than 
S4,000, so that the Hillsboro District contained 26,000 
more than both of them, and yet each of the Districts were 
allowed the same time for holding their courts with the 
Hillsboro District." He also said that the Mountain Cir- 
cuit contained a white population of 102,000; so that the two 
western Judicial Circuits contain upwards of 5000 free white 
persons more than are contained in the other four Judicial 
Circuits ; and the consequence was, from the business neces- 
sarily arising from such an immense population that no time 
was found in those circuits for attending to Equity cases." 
He "thought it high time that provisions should be made for 
the relief of these sections of country at least." j\Ir. Stanly 
retorted that "If we have not white men [in the east] we 
have negroes. We are cursed "with them" — and again he was 
attacked by the same kind of stroke as before. The commit- 
tee reported it inexpedient to pass the bill — which, as shall 
soon appear, was merely one more phenomenon on the way 
to revision of the constitution, in the contest between east 
and west. 

Fortunately a complete speech of Representative More- 
head at this time has been preserved and well illustrates 
the vigor and ability of this young advocate of the growing 
counties of the west. "Mr. Chairman," said he the next 
day, "I had hoped, Sir, that some person would offer to the 
House some substantial reasons for striking out the second 
section of the bill [requiring the Equity Courts to be held by 
Supreme Court judges] ; but in vain have I w^aited to hear 
them. Surely no gentleman of this House can doubt the 
great necessity of adopting some plan to improve the Equity 
system in the two western circuits ; and is it possible that this 
House will give a silent vote against the plan proposed, with- 
out giving even a reason for that vote, or without suggest- 
ing some other plan that may meet the views of the House 
better than the one proposed ? Surely not. Sir. That griev- 
ances do exist, is not denied ; that they shall be redressed, 
certainly this House will not refuse. When, Sir, I arose 


before on this subject, I acknowledged the bill had imper- 
fections, and asked the assistance of the House to bring it to 
perfection; but this assistance has been refused me, not by a 
positive denial, but by being withheld. 

"It was said, the other day, by the gentleman from New- 
bern, our Honorable Speaker [Stanley], whose lamentable 
calamity no one deplores more than I do, Mr. Chairman, 
that the white population of the different circuits had been 
unjustly taken into calculation, without any reference to the 
great number of negroes in the eastern circuits, each one of 
which may form a separate subject of litigation, and with- 
out any reference to the great wealth and commerce of those 

"It cannot be denied, that more litigation must necessarily 
arise among a population, each member of which transacts 
all the common concerns of life for himself, and appeals to 
the laws of his country for his protection and for his rights, 
than can arise among an equal population, many of whom 
are deprived of transacting their own business, and rendered 
incapable of making contracts, and w^hose complaints pass 
unheard, and wrongs unredressed. 

"But, Sir, if the negro population is to be taken into con- 
sideration on this question, let us examine the subject, and 
see if this boasted superiority of the number of blacks of 
the East, over those of the West, does, in fact, exist. 

"I will take the Newbern circuit, to which the gentleman 
belongs, and compare the slave population of that circuit 
with the same population of the Hillsboro circuit, to which 
I belong. From the census of 1820, the slave population of 
the Hillsboro circuit was upwards of 41,000, and that of the 
Newbern circuit only about 29,000; so that if the position be 
granted, 'that each of them forms a separate subject of liti- 
gation,' how satisfactorily does this comparison show that 
more litigation will necessarily arise in the one circuit than 
in the other. And that the Hillsboro circuit should have more 
litigation in it, than the Newbern circuit, is still better ac- 
counted for, by a comparison of the free white and slave 
population of each circuit, that of one being 151,000, while 
the other is only about 73,000, a dift'erence of 78,000. 


"I will now examine, Mr. Chairman, the relative wealth 
and commerce of the two circuits. 

"I know of no way in which this comparison can be 
better made, than by the different sums which the treasury 
receives from each circuit; and the State should distribute 
her favors somewhat in proportion to the bounty she re- 

"It will be seen from the Comptroller's last report, that 
the amount of taxes and money received of Clerks in the 
Hillsboro circuit was about $16,000, while that of the New- 
bern circuit was about $9000 ; the receipts of the first circuit 
being nearly double that of the latter. 

"So that if we take, Mr. Chairman, white population, 
black population and taxation, and compare them in every 
possible variety, as the criteria by which we may judge of 
the number of law suits that will probably arise, we must all 
come to this conclusion, that if the Newbern circuit requires 
a Judge a certain length of time to do the business of that 
circuit, the Hillsboro circuit must require the same Judge a 
much greater length of time to do the business of that 
circuit. We are told, Mr. Chairman, that the dockets even in 
these small circuits are larger: if this be a fact. Sir, is there 
a gentleman in this House, who can doubt for a moment the 
enormous accumulation of business on our Law and Equity 
dockets? And yet, Sir, is the relief proposed by this bill 
to be refused us, and no other offered? 

"It was further said by the gentleman from Newbern, 
that litigation depended much on the habits and morality of 
the citizens ; that if the people of the West could quit their 
frauds practiced in horse swaps, and would leave oft' coun- 
terfeiting bank notes and passing them, that then the dockets 
would not be so much crowded in the two western circuits. 
If, Sir, this be the true reason, why the dockets in the west- 
ern circuits are large, then is there the greater necessity of 
having justice speedily administered, to redress those frauds 
and punish those offenders. 

"While human nature remains as imperfect as it now is, 
we may expect fraud to be practiced and offenses to be com- 
mitted ; but I do not admit that more frauds and offenses 


exist in the western part of the State, in proportion to its 
population, than exist in other parts of the State. 

"If we examine this subject, perhaps we shall find the 
reverse of this to be true. 

"It will be recollected that in 1821, the gentleman from 
Newbern himself procured an act to be passed, authorizing 
a Court of Oyer and Terminer to be held in Newbern, to 
try the various offenders who could not be tried by the regu- 
lar terms of the Superior Court. Whether these offenders 
were persons guilty of frauds, perjuries, counterfeiting or 
passing counterfeit notes, I know not ; but if the little county 
of Craven, having a white and black population of only 
about 13,000 persons, cannot punish offenders in the regular 
terms of the Superior Court, but requires a special term for 
no other purpose but to punish its offenders ; while the large 
counties of the West, some of them containing a population 
of upwards of 24,000 have never yet required a special term 
to punish their offenders, we must conclude that there is as 
much morality in the West as theie is in some parts of the 
East. And this charge against the West would have come 
with as much propriety from any other quarter, as that 
from which it was made. 

"So that, no matter what may be said to be the causes 
of much litigation in the western circuits, every person who 
considers the situation of the western circuits, must be satis- 
fied that the business necessarily accumulates on their dock- 
ets from the diversified transactions of such an immense 

"I again repeat, Mr. Chairman, that it will not be im- 
posing on the Judges of the Supreme Court more duties than 
they can well perform. The bill has already been amended 
by striking out the 1st and 5th Circuits, because the business 
of their courts did not require any alteration. The 2nd cir- 
cuit can not require this court any more than either of the 
others ; and the Supreme Court sitting in this 3rd circuit is 
sufficiently convenient to try all Equity suits that may arise 
in it; so that one of these Judges can hold three courts in 
the two western circuits without employing much of his time, 


and this time would be employed in his term only once in 
eighteen months. 

"If this plan is adopted, the business of the Supreme 
Court will be much curtailed. I have in my hand a state- 
ment of the Clerk of the Supreme Court, by which it ap- 
pears that fifty-one cases have been sent to the present term 
of the Supreme Court, of which only twenty-five are ap- 
peals ; the other twenty-six are Equity cases that have been 
removed to this Court, because they could not be heard in 
the court below. 

"I hope, Mr. Chairman, the committee will refuse to 
strike out the second section of the bill, unless some gentle- 
man will suggest an amendment that will better suit the 
views of the committee.'" On the 19th, however, it was 
voted "inexpedient" 86 to 36, but Mr. Swain secured a reso- 
lution asking the Judiciary Committee to canvass the subject. 
The episode was merely another phase of the great underly- 
ing constitutional revision contest. 

So also was the various phases of the negro problem more 
or less part of that contest. From this time on until the 
end of the session it came up in one way or another. For 
example, on January 23, 1827, a bill for freeing two negroes 
was before the House and Morehead voted for it, but it was 
lost 79 to 41, nearly two to one. On the 30th he fought a 
bill restricting entry of free negroes into the state and with 
somewhat the same results ; but on February 2nd, he pre- 
sented by request a memorial on the subject from the 
Quaker societies, The French Benevolent Associations of 
Jamestown, Springfield and Kennett, which was promptly 
laid on the table. On February 8th, his bill for emancipat- 
ing slaves under certain conditions was finally indefinitely 
postponed 59 to 53 ; while on the same day he fought hard to 
indefinitely postpone a bill to prohibit trading in slaves, ex- 
cept under certain conditions named, failing 42 to 64. On 
the ninth, the efforts of Judge Murphy in his desire to have 
the history of North Carolina written, came to action when 
the Hillsboro Representative made a motion to take measures 

1 Raleigh Register, Feb. 2, 1827. 


to secure copies of colonial records from London ; and the 
same day Mr. Morehead made a motion to grant Judge Mur- 
phy a certain amount to enable him to write a History of 
North Carolina ; but it was promptly laid on the table and the 
next day he, and others, secured leave of absence for the rest 
of the session. 

The people of Guilford county, however, sent him back 
again by their election of the summer of 1827, for that 
summer was destined to be a turning point in the develop- 
ment of North Carolina and in the career of John Motley 
Morehead. But before that occurred Mr. Morehead at- 
tended commencement at the University at Chapel Hill, 
which proved to be a most remarkable occasion in one re- 
spect, namely, that eleven lawyers, in one block, apphed for 
the Master's degree and all received it, among them being 
John Motley Morehead, M.A., and William A. Graham, 
M.A., two young men who were destined to be closely 
connected in the coming years." About the same date a 
prophetic proposal was made by a distinguished engineer 
and architect to build a railway down the Piedmont 1050 
miles from the national capital to New Orleans, which was 
to be a wood rail covered with iron and capable of provid- 
ing a six day trip, or even four days "under pressure."^ 
Then, shortly after Mr. Morehead's election in August, at 
which he received 1603 votes and Mr. Simpson 1290, there 
began to appear in various papers of the state a series of 
public letters. 

These were headed merely '"Communications," the first 
was dated September 1, 1827, and a copy appeared in the 
Raleigh Register of September 7th, and was signed "Carle- 
ton," the name of the home of the Prince Regent of Great 
Britain, "Carleton House." These appeared at close inter- 
vals to the number of twenty-two and the author spoke of 
each one as a "Number." They were afterwards issued in 
book form as "The Numbers of Carleton," and had great 
power both in serial and in volume form. Following so 
closely a great engineer's proposal of what has since become 

1 Raleigh Register, July 3, 1827. 
•Ibid., July 6, 1827. 



The people of Niu-tli-Carolina liavc i;,. 
for some >-e;irs pis' »*\ii5ceU a (iispd.^uio], 
lo facilitate Hie uioaii;^ of cojumerciul ia- 
tercMur^e, boili foreign an<] (lompsfjc. Ir 
is an obj'-ct in whicii they iiave felt then - 
selves io deeplj infertsred, that no 3iu..,| 
>.ums have been already ex»<"n'l*»<| f.r i.^ 
accomplishment. The rivers Yadkin, Capi- 
Fear, N-- use, far and Roanoke, all witne >« 
by 'he work^ co;nmencfd, and t'le Tiioniei 
dr>btjrsrd, that >uch a wish has been allvfc 
ill Ihe }»ub!ic loind : and i^o v. ell kiiouK 
are the many otht'i altiv^tatioiis of i;, that 
to bf^)ar(»calar id llieir etiusnfratioti is nri- 
necessary. It is pr.»c>icai protif thit tli, • 
hive been deKj)ly sensib'e of the dii;adv;ii;"- 
i lanes of tijeir sifu^rion- nni! t Nov !■>-...,. > — 

|^l)/<:Vt 4" I l«A-~ » ••« ••».v 

poshibic. If xve'"would arrive at the };re>i:- 
e*rj2;f*odVifourC<i]un;ry, pprs'^nal '»r local in- 
t e res ' V »n us i' ii ot 6^;- 1 to) she n u oi^ ly c n u s u h 
ed, aokbition otuM not lie %^^^^^ s-l- 

"' fish, bol enllwhJenetl and welCdirectetl, 
a»id »U^6iir'eflr.)rl9^nd re8< ai^^k.jnusi b 
-f i i th fti lly ^itftitf^ .i lite o » ly tarn ecf * ni p o n t h c 
,*disfuvery'tfh(I esfablishincnt of the iro'.h. 

•r»Cot>ld 4he people of N. Cafolina, cou'd riv>; 

j!;ovpr;i*i;|r, niaj>is r.ites-, ie5;islat<)rs and olli- 

cers, all coocuraoon these principles, who 

c -n doubt <hat hom that niooient ^ju- would 

e^ili to ijrow conspicuoos!} in individual 

"|pioe^s> and in strength and pro.spcMtv 

a stale. 

t$ " ■ . CARLTON. 

^^ September Isf. \%9J 

First Number of the Carlton Letters 
Afterwards issued as Numbers of Carlton 


the greatest Piedmont line from Washington south, it was a 
modest proposal compared with that, for it proposed a simi- 
lar line merely from Beaufort Harbor across the central 
part of the whole state to the Tennessee line. It was 
avowedly presented because "a vast proportion of our enter- 
prises for internal improvement [by water] have proved 
partially or totally abortive.'" It was therefore a substitute 
for deep waterways and canals, precisely like the one pro- 
posed in Pennsylvania, where he had once lived, and rail- 
way projects, which he had seen in England in 1825, were no 
longer an untried thing. For the author of these public 
letters was none other than President Joseph Caldwell of the 
University of North Carolina, whose last illness was upon 
him about the time he closed the series.- 

In these letters, he shows how railway experiments have 
proven them superior to canals ; and by railways or railroads, 
as America preferred to call them, he meant only the road, 
not the power, for both horse and steam power were in 
use in England, but only horse power in the United States. 
They were less costly than canals, and far more reliable the 
year around; and, he writes, "It is continually evinced by 
present practice, that steam can be employed in transporta- 
tion by a railroad" — implying if one should desire it, for 
horse power was the one in mind for actual use. Indeed he 
cites instances where a single horse "drew sixteen wagons, 
weighing upwards of fifty-five tons, for more than six miles 
along a level or very slightly declining part of the railway." 
He quotes Engineer Strickland of Philadelphia on the 
"locomotive," however, as an actual fact in England — a 
"gigantic automaton," he calls it. Then he takes up the 
cost of a railway commenced at Newbern, extended through 
Raleigh through the center of the state to Tennessee, to be 
built in seven years, which would require but $100,000 a 
year, divided equally between the state and private capital. 
He defends Beaufort harbor and the Harlow canal as 
terminals, using the tremendous growth of Rochester, N. Y., 
on the new Erie canal as an illustration. He then takes up 

1 Numbers of Carleton, 1828, p. 3. 

= President Caldwell died at Chapel Hill, 24th January, 1835. 


branch lines to all centers north or south of this railroad, 
and the cost of operation in horses, wagons and men, and 
foresees trade with all the world. He then tells what a 
railroad is, in detail, making much of the Mauch Chunk 
railroad in Pennsylvania and the report of the "Baltimore 
and Ohio Railroad Company" upon it. He also describes a 
Fund and predicts an Atlantic Coast Line from Amboy, 
N. J., to Savanah; and warns against Norfolk's efltorts to 
get all North Carolina trade. His suggestion that one might 
"breakfast in Raleigh, dine in Newbern, and arrive in Beau- 
fort in less than fifteen hours, including all requisite delays" 
had in it a note or triumph. He thereupon proposes that the 
next Assembly employ an engineer to canvass a route, and 
the people to call for a Z7 cent additional poll tax ; and there- 
upon quotes engineering authorities. In his issue of No- 
vember 9th, just before the Legislature convened, he again 
defends Beaufort harbor, as if he had aroused a Wilmington 
hornet's nest, and shows the harbor to be only 26 miles from, 
the middle point of the coast line. As this was his last num- 
ber until spring, attention may now be turned to the Assem- 
bly and Representative John Motley Morehead's activities 
in it. 

Raleigh capitol witnessed the gathering of the Solons 
on November 19, 1827, but two of their leaders were not 
present. Indeed this was not a House of a dominant single 
leader. Morehead was the equal of any of them and 
was no longer a lieutenant of Fisher of Salisbury, who was 
present again. James Iredell of Edenton was another until 
he was chosen Governor, while Newbern's successor to Stan- 
ley, William Gaston, was another who had been a member of 
both houses before. Swain had not been returned. Mr. 
Gaston was a native of Newbern, of Huguenot and English 
stock, his mother a Roman Catholic, widowed by the Revo- 
lution. He was educated at Georgetown, D. C, up to his 
Junior year at Princeton, and, graduating with high honors, 
studied law under Francis Xavier Martin. He succeeded to 
the business of (Chief Justice) John Louis Taylor, his 
brother-in-law, and soon entered public life in both Assembly 
and Congress, where young Daniel Webster declared him 


the leader in the War Congress of 1813. He therefore came 
into the House with the greatest prestige of any of them, 
for even Chief Justice John Marshall was to avow in his 
old age that if he was assured that Gaston would succeed 
him he would resign. He was a man of great purity of 
character, and was greatly beloved, but he was no more of 
a leader in this session than young Morehead, who was 
nearly twenty years his junior. 

Mr. Morehead was not present until the 23rd, but he had 
already been put on the Standing Committee on Education, 
and on that day was also added to the Standing Committee 
on Judiciary, which was a most important one this session. 
On the 26th he was put on a Committee on Amending the 
Treasury Laws, one on connecting Albemarle Sound and the 
Ocean and one for a survey of a railroad to connect the Cape 
Fear at Fayetteville with the upper Yadkin river, on the 
27th. On the latter day he himself presented a bill concern- 
ing bail and costs which was referred to his Judiciary Com- 
mittee. On the 29th he was the one who proposed proceed- 
ing to the election of Governor, and he and others made sev- 
eral references to the Judiciary Committee. The previous 
efforts at gubernatorial selection having failed, Morehead 
and Blackledge joined the Senate Committee with no better 
success, but later in the day, December 5th, James Iredell 
was made Governor and on the following day Morehead 
was one of the committee of notification and arrangements. 
On this latter day, he was one of three candidates for 
Solicitor General. Judge Murphy had written Thomas 
Ruffin that Solicitor General Jones had resigned on Decem- 
ber 8th, and that Morehead was talked of. R. M. Saunders 
had also written that the "contest would be between Nash, 
Morehead and myself ;" but Morehead did not get it. 

The month of December saw the Guilford representative 
very active and aggressive. On the 1 1th when a bill came up 
somewhat inimical to Quakers, Dunkards, Mennonites and 
Moravians, he fought for its indefinite postponement suc- 
cessfully, 62 to 51. On the following day, Brevard and 
Morehead were appointed on the joint committee to arrange 
election of a Public or State Treasurer, to succeed the late 


Treasurer Haywood, and they were not successful. During 
the month an unusual number of references of bills and 
resolutions to the Judiciary Committee gave occasion for 
Morehead to represent the committee in reporting almost 
invariable rejection of them.' On the 14th, the Senate re- 
quested a joint committee on establishment of a penitentiary 
and an asylum for insane and idiots, and the House made 
Mr. Morehead chairman of their section of it. And when 
someone presented a bill for repeal of the Common School 
act of 1825, the majority sent it to Morehead's Standing 
Committee on Education, where they knew it would be 
properly interred. He himself presented a bill providing for 
widows when they dissent from their husband's will, and also 
a Guilford county bill, while he secured an amendment to 
one protecting securities. On the 27th he helped vote down 
an appropriation to improve the Cape Fear below Wilming- 
ton, but voted for it three days later. He also favored the 
creation of Macon county in the west and on the 31st had 
the pleasure of reporting out rejection of the repeal bill from 
the Education Committee, which killed that movement. It 
became plain to the public that Mr. Morehead was a defender 
of the common schools, of Quakers and like bodies, of 
widows, of defectives and insane, of slaves and free negroes, 
the West, of the State's history, of judicial justice and exact 
legal procedure. 

But on January 2nd, they were to learn that he was also 
committed to the new project outlined in the Carleton Let- 
ters ; for on that day, a resolution was offered requesting the 
Governor to tell the Secretary of War of the desire of the 
Legislature that a corps of United States engineers survey a 
railroad from Newbern to Tennessee through Raleigh and 
the central part of the state; and when it was read an im- 
mediate effort was made to postpone it indefinitely and it 
failed 58 to 46 ; but when an immediate vote on passage was 
taken that also failed but by only so narrow a margin as 52 
to 50. This close vote was largely sectional as usual, but not 
so much so as most sectional votes. Mr. Morehead was 

^ One of these was a proposition to prevent the education of slaves. 

JoSEPTi Caldwell 

From engraving by John Sartain of a Bust at the 

University of North Carolina 


among the 58 which procured its consideration, and was 
among the 50 who voted for its passage. This showed the 
influence of the "Carleton" Letters and also both a growing 
recognition of the probable efficacy of the new mode of trans- 
portation as well as discouragement over the failure of the 
old method, so far as North Carolina was concerned. 

On adjournment on the 7th of January, 1828, Repre- 
sentative Morehead returned to "Blandwood;" but during 
the year the "Carleton" papers continued. In April he an- 
swered the fear that the very facility of railways would 
cause influx and competition, and soon followed this by ex- 
amination of cost of a level mile, making it $2649. Funds 
are the subject of his next and his May numbers enforce the 
effect it will have on union ; and shows from history how 
commerce grows. "We lay like a man of strength tied hand 
and foot," he writes. In July he takes up the action of 
Maryland, where, on July 4th, ground was first broken for 
a canal connecting the Chesapeake and Ohio — a distance of 
400 miles — and also the first blow was struck for construct- 
ing a railway for the same purpose, more than 340 miles 
long. South Carolina already proposes three railroads from 
Charleston, namely, to Augusta, Columbia, and Camden; 
while the Massachusetts Assembly have just taken measures 
for a line from Boston to Albany. Here he first calls it 
"The Central Railroad," of North Carolina. Then he tells 
in detail the history of railroad development up to that time, 
and closes with the cry of Themistocles, the Athenian: 
"Aye, strike if you will, but Hear!" 

Thereupon on August 1, 1828, at Albright's, in Chatham 
county, over two hundred citizens of that county, Randolph, 
Guilford and Orange met and appointed a committee to 
formulate and issue an "Address" to the people of the State 
in favor of "A Central Railroad." Mr. James Mebane was 
made chairman. The address shows how increased popu- 
lation and consequently production have made stagnation 
because of no outlet or inlet to commerce ; and urges popular 
meetings over the state to further the idea, and especially to 
ask the next Assembly to make an experimental railway 
from the market house in Fayetteville to the wharf a short 


distance below at Campbellton, the port of Fayetteville, head 
of navigation on the Cape Fear. Also to ask the Assembly 
to provide for survey of "The Central Railroad." This "ad- 
dress" was prepared by President Caldwell as chairman of 
a committee and it embodied in some measure the thoughts 
of his main address before this meeting. A committee of 
three from each of the four counties, President Caldwell, 
chairman, was appointed to carry on a correspondence and 
provide promotion of the aims of the meeting. The 
"Carleton" papers were continued during the fall, appeal- 
ing to the farmers and avowing "A Central Railroad" to be 
"The Poor Man's Cause." Mr. Morehead would naturally 
have been in this meeting, but, if so, he is not mentioned 
among those who were active in it. Early in September the 
Newbern Spectator announced a meeting to cooperate with 
the Chatham meeting, on September 4th, at which meeting 
William Gaston was made chairman of the promotion com- 
mittee. Even the Wilmington Recorder came out in favor 
of it and praised the essays of "Carleton." And on Novem- 
ber 17th, even the chief executive. Governor James Iredell, 
in his message, favored it; and in doing so, made probably 
the most concise statement of the heart of North CaroHna's 
problems that has been made : 

"There are three great outlets to the ocean," he writes 
to the Assembly, "which nature seems to have indicated for 
this State: one for the waters of the Albemarle, another 
for the waters of the Pamptico [later Pamlico] , and the third 
for the Cape Fear. The Albemarle Sound, in length about 
seventy miles, with a uniform depth of not less than twenty 
feet, receiving into its bosom, besides other rivers of no in- 
considerable importance, the Roanoke, the noblest river that 
traverses our State, finds its communication with the ocean 
impeded by a sand bar not eight hundred yards in width. 
All the produce which floats on its waters, after coming 
within sight of the Atlantic, must seek that ocean by a nar- 
row strait into Pamptico Sound, through that sound a dis- 
tance of eighty or ninety miles, over dangerous shoals, and 
through the Ocracock [later Ocracoke] Inlet. Nine-tenths 
of the navigation of that part of the State (as indeed of 


every other part) are directed to New York as the best 
market; and, by inspection of the map, it will be seen that, 
in passing through Ocracock Inlet and proceeding to New 
York, a vessel descending the Albemarle, must sail more 
than one hundred miles to reach a point on the coast, not five 
miles distant from that at which it was compelled to pass 
into Pamptico Sound. The importance of opening a direct 
communication from the Albemarle to the ocean, cannot be 
urged in a more forcible manner than by stating the extent 
of territory which would find a market for its productions, 
and a diminished price of transportation through the chan- 
nel. The Roanoke River is now rendered navigable for 
bateaux from its mouth to the Blue Ridge, in Virginia, and 
to Leaksville, in this State. In both States its branches are 
susceptible of improvement to much higher points. There 
is perhaps no river east of the Mississippi, which, in propor- 
tion to its extent, washes a more fertile soil. The rich pro- 
ductions of its adjacent territory have become, both in this 
State and in Virginia, almost proverbial. In this State 
alone, at least eleven counties would find it the most natural 
and convenient highway to market. Add to these eight 
counties, through which flow the Chowan, the Casbie, the 
Perquimans, the Pasquotank, the North, the Scuppernong, 
and the Aligator Rivers, each of a depth not less than 12 or 
15 feet, which convey the produce of a highly fertile coun- 
try, and which contribute to form or to swell the current of 
the Albemarle ; and you will see that the agricultural inter- 
ests of nearly one-third of the State is deeply concerned in 
the accomplishment of this work. . . ." 

He then speaks of the shoal which was the greatest im- 
pediment to navigation through the Ocracoke, namely, the 
"Swash" and government experiments at running it. If 
this failed, a ship channel to unite the lower part of Neuse 
River with Beaufort Harbor, "perhaps the most commodious 
harbor in the State," was the next most plausible project. 
The Neuse's improvement almost up to Raleigh, which ren- 
dered a bateau navigation safe eight or nine months of the 
year, was noted. Cape Fear outlet was noted next, and the 
fact that all the western counties, that used North Carolina 


ports at all, would use this through Fayetteville, as the 
highest point for steamboat navigation nine months of the 
year, with bateau navigation still higher, and with Wilming- 
ton as its port. He notes that the shoals below Wilming- 
ton are much improved and will soon form no obstacle. 
He advocated port perfection first, then river improvement ; 
then roads or canals from western counties to Fayetteville 
and counties connected with the Roanoke and other rivers. 
He spoke conservatively of "Railroads" and experiments 
with them, especially the latest one to connect the Ohio with 
Baltimore. He favored a similar experiment with a "Rail- 
way" from Fayetteville to Campbellton, a landing on Cape 
Fear River, and he praised the "Carleton" papers.^ 

But if Mr. Morehead was not active in these prelimi- 
naries, it was because he was engaged in a far larger game, 
through which he would be able, in due time, to lift the 
project with greater power, for the gentleman from Guil- 
ford was then an Elector for General Andrew Jackson. 

^Raleigh Register, 21st November, 1828. 

Measures for Development 


Its Organ, a New Constitution 

On December 3, 1828, the members of the Electoral Col- 
lege of North Carolina met in the Senate Chamber of the 
old brick capitol at Raleigh. There were fifteen of them, 
about one-third of whom were venerable men with three- 
score-and-ten to their credit. General Mountfort Stokes 
was made chairman, and Hon. Willie P. Mangum was 
probably the most distinguished among them; then there 
were Edward P. Dudley of Wilmington, Richard Dobbs 
Spaight, Jr., both eastern men, and John Motley Morehead 
from the west. Four years before young Morehead had 
been the only active friend of General Jackson in Guilford 
county, and the east had been against this "People's Candi- 
date ;" but now the state was united on this political Lochin- 
var out of the West, and the Guilford county elector saw his 
favorite candidate of four years before not only the unani- 
mous choice of this electoral college, but of that of the nation 
as well. The great fact, however, was that the east had 
turned and followed the west for the first time, in both state 
and nation. These men were the leaders of it in North 
Carolina. Morehead and Spaight conducted the balloting 
with a solid vote for Jackson and Calhoun. Indeed the state 
at large had gone overwhelmingly for the North Carolina 
lawyer who had become a Tennessean ; only seven counties 
in the whole commonwealth went against him and one of 
these was Morehead's own county, Guilford, which went 
almost two to one for Adams, the greatest majority that can- 
didate received. 

The contest had been a fierce one all over the land. It 
was a period of breaking up, with a new generation coming 



to the front. "This country," says the Raleigh Register of 
July 22, 1828, "bids fair to contain as many parties in politics 
as there are sects in religion. Formerly there were two 
national creeds, now we have nearly a dozen; and as they 
have multiplied so fast of late, it is impossible to predict 
how many there may be a few years hence." The feeling 
was intense also: At a Jackson barbecue in Pennsylvania, 
in the autumn, a toast was offered : "John Quincy Adams — 
may he take sick on Monday ! Send for the Doctor on Tues- 
day ! ! Get worse on Wednesday ! ! ! No better on Thurs- 
day ! ! ! ! Die on Friday ! ! ! ! ! Be buried on Satur- 
day !!!!! ! And go to Hell on Sunday !!!!!!!" The 
South Carolinians had the same feeling, but, on one occasion, 
expressed it more classically : "Adams, Clay & Co. — Would 
to God they were like Jonah in the whale's belly ; the whale 
to the devil; the devil in hell; and the doors locked, key 
lost and not a son of Vulcan within a million miles to make 
another!" There was no such ebuUition in North Carolina, 
for the revolution there had been so overwhelming that the 
result was a great rebuke to the State's Congressmen who 
had nullified the vote of their Electoral College of four years 
before.' It was also a victory for the western part of the 
State and in that much for John Motley Morehead of 
Greensboro; and it was prophetic of greater changes to 

Busy as Mr. Morehead was in his profession, his mind 
teemed with all sorts of development; and the interest in 
railroads, which President Caldwell in his "Carleton" letters 
had awakened, was accompanied by a new belief in manufac- 
tures. The manufacture of cotton into yarn, at the falls of 
the Tar river, was the oldest factory, and it had recently 
shipped twenty bales of yarn, according to the Tarboro Free 
Press. Another factory was at Fayetteville, head of navi- 

^ Hon. Edwin Godwin Reade, in an address before the North Carolina Bar 
Association, in 1884, says that in April, 1828, two lawj-ers were to fight a dud 
because one of them had reflected on the character of Mrs. President Adams. 
The bearer of the challenge was told his principal was a scoundrel and he 
himself could have a fight if he wanted it. The bearer accepted it, but was 
just then already bound over to keep the peace in another matter, and this 
raised the question whether his bond would be forfeited if they went over the 
state boundary to fight The two submitted it to Mr. Morehead and his old 
Latin preceptor, Thomas Settle, and in a written opinion they said it would 
forfeit the bond. The belligerents thereupon subsided. 


gation on the Cape Fear, and another in the far west in 
Lincoln county, west of Charlotte. On October 14th, the 
Greensboro Patriot gave notice of a meeting to organize 
manufacturing and to apply for incorporation of a new mill ; 
while on November 8th, a like meeting was held at Salis- 
bury, Rowan county, and a similar one for both cotton and 
woolen factories in the adjoining county of Iredell, at its 
Court House, on the 17th. They cited the successful opera- 
tion of the Tar river factory, and those at Fayetteville and 
in Lincoln county. This had been, in great measure, stimu- 
lated by Charles Fisher's wool report of January 1st, previ- 
ously, in which he had shown that the balance of trade for 
several years had been so greatly against North Carolina, 
that she was probably 810,000,000 behind. Why should she 
buy flour in the north ? Why buy pork in New York ? Or 
hogs in Kentucky and Tennessee ? Cotton and tobacco were 
the only things exported from the west part of the state and 
rice and naval stores all from the seaboard. The introduc- 
tion of the manufacturing systems and railroads, of course, 
was the remedy. The state ships 80,000 bales of cotton at 
$2,400,000, which, if manufactured, would bring $9,600,000! 
— a gain of $7,200,000! It would give occupation, arrest 
emigration, and build towns like Lowell, Mass., which, six 
years ago, was nothing and now has 6000 population. 

John Motley Morehead was also behind this public agi- 
tation during 1828, and was acting personally, too. Leaks- 
ville, near his old home in Rockingham county, was the head 
of bateau navigation on the Dan-Roanoke and he, his father 
and brothers owned land in the region.^ He and his brother, 
Samuel, established a big combination business there which 
developed into various kinds of mills, cotton and otherwise, 
general merchandise and supplies of all kinds. He later 
had occasion to tell the people the relation of this enter- 
prise to his temporary retirement from public life in 1828: 
"The very extraordinary support which you gave me in 

1 This land was first acquired by his father, John Morehead, after Leaks- 
ville was laid out, on the belief that this town would become the head of Dan 
and Roanoke navigation to a far more considerable degree than it ever has. 
Spray was then a part of Leaksville. It was this investment, it is said, that 
finally made John Morehead fail. 


1827, after having been representative in 1826, was, to me, 
the most gratifying evidence of your approbation of the 
manner in which I had discharged the duties with which 
your kindness had entrusted me. My removal to Greens- 
borough to settle myself among you, and the loss of my 
brother, to whose care I had entrusted, almost exclusively, 
the management of a considerable mercantile establishment, 
the concerns of which devolved entirely upon me after his 
death, rendered it extremely inconvenient for me to 
solicit re-election in 1828 ; and which I could not have 
accepted without a personal sacrifice not required by my 
friends, and which my opponents had no right to demand."^ 
This was his brother, Samuel, who died on September 17, 

1828. There was one office, however, that, a few months 
after his brother's death, Mr. Morehead did accept. His 
friends had put him up for this office once before, without 
success, as has been seen; but early in January, after the 
aged Nathaniel Macon and Archibald R. Ruffin had resigned 
as Trustees of the University of North Carolina, the Assem- 
bly in an election on January 5, 1829, selected Mr. More- 
head first among five new trusteees. Almost ten years later, 
they chose his brother, James Turner Morehead as Trustee, 
also ; and the two served together for nearly thirty years, 
while John Motley, in serving the rest of his life, was des- 
tined to aid in guiding the development of his alma mater 
for but a dozen years less than a half-century, one of the 
longest services in the history of the institution. In that 
long period he served with such distinguished men as Archi- 
bald DeBow Murphy, William Gaston, Dr. Joseph Caldwell, 
Dr. James Mebane, Dr. McPheeters, Governor James Ire- 
dell, Chief Justice Thomas Ruffin, Secretary of the Navy 
George E. Badger, Hon. Willie P. Mangum, Hon. R. M. 
Saunders, Dr. Francis L. Hawks, Hon. Thomas Settle, 
President David L. Swain, Hon. Wm. A. Graham, Bar- 
tholomew F. Moore, Hon. John M. Dick, Gov. D. S. Reid, 
and many others, few or none of whom served so long. 
Nor was he a figure-head as a trustee, but for nearly forty 

^A public "address" in the Greensboro Patriot of July 11, 1832. 

The Original Cotton Mill 
at Spray, N. C. 


years — over thirty-eight, to be exact — he had a positive in- 
fluence in the development of this great institution. 

All of the general activity in manufactures and banking 
in 1829 and on was accompanied by activity in transporta- 
tion and this centered to a remarkable degree about the 
Roanoke valley, of which President Caldwell had occasion 
to say, in the Senate of North Carolina late in 1829, while 
speaking of the Baltimore and Ohio raiload project, and the 
Georgetown and Ohio canal: "If we were to lay our hand 
upon the region of our own state, the brightest for affluence 
and efficient ability, it would fall upon the Roanoke with the 
portion of country that enjoys its privileges and prospects." 
And when during March, 1829, Delaware voted a railroad 
from New Castle on the Delaware Bay to head of navi- 
gation on Elk river at the head of the Chesapeake, when in 
April Baltimore and Ohio engineers returned from Europe 
announcing that steam "locomotives" were built that could 
pull up a grade four times any elevation on their survey, and 
that the Liverpool and Manchester railroad was to be built 
through to London as soon as Parliament passed an act ; 
that the Baltimore line had experimented with a freight car 
loaded to 8260 pounds that one man moved easily ; and that 
Massachusetts had in June authorized railroad construction 
across the state west and to Providence, R. L, and that 120 
tons of railroad iron had just arrived in Charleston, S. C, 
for their new lines ; that with the completion of the Dismal 
swamp canal, there were now eight vessels on the line be- 
tween Weldon, at the Roanoke rapids, and Norfolk — then 
it was that a Virginia port rival to Norfolk, namely, Peters- 
burg, on the Appomattox, not far from where it empties 
into the James — also a rival to Richmond — began taking 
measures to tap this rich Roanoke valley, not with canals, 
but with a railroad, and a survey was announced late in Oc- 
tober, the objective also being Weldon.' This project was 

1 Raleigh Register, 3rd November, 1829. A month or so later the Liverpool 
and Manchester Railway had offered £500 for the best locomotive and the 
"Rocket" won. By the following June passengers arrived from Baltimore to 
Washington. A single horse drew a carriage weighing more than a ton, on 
which were 28 persons and they came at the rate of 15 miles an hour. "This 
was done, too, with much apparent ease, for the traces did not seem half the 
time to be strained at all." Raleigh Register, 3rd June, 1830. 


destined to be the most influential event in the transportation 
history of North Carolina as well as Virginia ; and soon led 
the upper Roanoke to demand a canal around the rapids 
above Weldon. It was inaugurated the following February. 
About the same time, October 28, 1829, a big meeting was 
also held in Beaufort to further the project of a ship canal 
to connect its harbor with the Pamlico and so with the Albe- 
marle and Roanoke.^ 

Virginia was stirring North Carolina vigorously in an- 
other way, also, for the conservative eastern counties, which 
had heretofore quoted the Old Dominion's conservatism in 
not touching their constitution of 1776, could do so no 
longer. Agitation had begun in the spring and in April the 
aged Chief Justice Marshall had agreed to serve in the con- 
vention, while by June lists of delegates were published and 
in October the people of the Old North State began to read 
the proceedings of the convention and realize that the old 
constitution of 1776 in their sister state must go. Probably 
no one event was more calculated to revive the old east and 
west division in North Carolina over revision of her own 
fundamental law. President Jackson's election might con- 
solidate the state for the moment, but the deep purpose of 
the Piedmont and Mountains to have proper representa- 
tion was not to be denied much longer. Indeed, by June, 
1830, proposals for a Convention were widely discussed, and 
the Fayctteville Observer drew attention to the fact that this 
ought not to be an east and west division — let it be as it was 
in 1787, when a Warren county man proposed it (Philemon 
Hawkins), or in 1788 when a Craven county representative, 
Richard Dobbs Spaight, urged it.^ 

This agitation was reinforced by the results of the new 
census of 1830, which showed injustice of representation 
was greatly intensified. The seven largest counties in popu- 
lation were all western, if Wake be included, and she often 

^ It is startling to most readers to learn that North Carolina had 3100 In- 
dians within her borders at this time, out of the 312,300 in the United States. 
New York had still more and Mississippi had most. About 20,200 were be- 
t\veen the Mississippi, Illinois and the Lakes; 94,300 between the Mississippi 
and the Rockies, above Missouri, and west of Arkansas and Louisiana; 20,000 
in the Rockies and 80,000 west of them. 

^Raleigh Register, June 24, 1830. 


was: 1. Orange, the largest, with 23,875; 2. Lincoln; 
3. Rowan; 4. Wake; 5. Mecklenburg; 6. Granville; and 
7. Guilford — Mr. Morehead's county, with 18,735. Indeed, 
excepting Halifax, the next seven largest counties were 
western, too: 1. Burke; 2. Rutherford; 3. Buncombe; 4. 
Stokes ; 5. Iredell ; 6. Chatham ; 7. Caswell, before an east- 
ern county is reached. Furthermore, omitting Edgecombe, 
Craven and Northampton, the next six largest are also west- 
ern: 1. Cumberland; 2. Surry; 3. Anson; 4. Davidson; 
5. Rockingham ; 6. Randolph. Two more, out of 36, above 
10,000, in the whole 64, were western. The increase in 
population for the decade had been nearly 100,000 and 
mostly in the west. Newbern, 3796, was still the largest 
town, and Greensboro came up to 562. There was an in- 
crease of nearly 5000 in free negroes — nearly 20,000 — the 
greatest number being in Halifax, the other counties having 
more than 500 each being Pasquotank, Craven, Hartford, 
Northampton, Guilford, Martin, Surry, Wake, Granville, 
Cumberland, Orange and Robeson. Halifax and Granville 
had the most slaves.^ 

The public mind was awakening to many new ideas : The 
confining of capital punishment to first degree murder was 
one; abolition of imprisonment for debt was another; there 
was wide-spread organization for more scientific agriculture ; 
new transportation methods have already been noted ; also 
manufacturing; in addition to these came mining; silk cul- 
ture was also advocated ; the advance of public education 
was not the least of these agitations, and colonization of 
negroes was an earnest theme. The tariff of 1828 had 
already brought much talk of nullification, by South Caro- 
lina particularly, but North Carolina had no sympathy with 
it. This so incensed the Charleston leaders that one of them 
succeeded in attaching the epithet "Rip Van Winkle" to the 
"Old North State" soon after; but that state had gone 
unanimously for President Jackson and he was not asleep on 
nullification. Indeed the North Carolina House of Com- 

^ By January, 1831, the Quakers had freed and removed 652 slaves with 
children at a cost of about $13,000. 


mons, in January, 1831, passed a resolution against "this 
unhallowed thing!" 

In this latter Assembly, fearing a fire in the old brick 
capitol, provision was made to replace the shingle roof with 
tin; and when the change was being carried out in June, 
1831, the very thing feared, which tinners were at work with 
solder to prevent, was, on Tuesday, the 21st, apparently 
caused by one of the workmen, and the old brick capitol went 
up in flames, destroying the famous Canova statue of Wash- 
ington in the rotunda. This comparatively insignificant 
event was the turning point in the development of North 
Carolina, strange as that may seem; and it was because it 
again raised the question of location of the state's capital 
and opened a Pandora's box of rivalries that were to involve 
the most vital questions to the commonwealth. For Fayette- 
ville, daughter of Wilmington, on the Cape Fear, was am- 
bitious to be mistress of the state, and Wilmington and the 
Cape Fear valley were in sympathy with it and the West saw 
in it a mode of furthering her two most important measures : 
a new constitution and central railroad. The former once 
settled, the latter would follow. The feature which made 
this possible was the fact that the capital had been settled 
at Raleigh by the state Ordinance of 1788, a convention 
measure and hence of the character of part of the consti- 
tution, which only a new convention could change. The 
matter was precipitated in the Assembly of 1831-32, held at 
Government House, or the executive mansion, at the foot of 
Fayetteville street just outside of Raleigh. 

The beautiful chess-like game was as follows : First, on 
November 25th, Senator Seawell, of Raleigh, offered a bill 
to rebuild the capitol on Unon Square. Then, on December 
8th, Senator Martin of Rockingham, 32 to 31, got it post- 
poned a year. Next, on December 10, 1831, Senator Dis- 
hough of Onslow county, on the coast below Beaufort, called 
for a joint committee to consider a railroad or railroad and 
canal from Old Topsail Inlet, the entrance to Beaufort Har- 
bor, through the central part of the State to the mountains, 
whereupon it was amended to include a Fayetteville-Yadkin 
valley road and one from Chatham, southwest to Raleigh, up 


to the Roanoke to join the Pettersburg road when it should 
be completed. These were assigned to the joint committee. 
On December 16th, James Harper of Greene, an eastern 
county, presented a bill in the Commons to rebuild the capitol 
in Union Square, Raleigh, and it was referred to the commit- 
tee of the whole House on the 21st. On this latter day be- 
fore the Commons proceeded to the capitol matter, William 
Gaston, the distinguished Newbern member, reported from 
the joint committee bills to incorporate the "North Carolina 
Central Railroad Company," Beaufort harbor to Newbern, 
Raleigh and the west, and the Cape Fear- Yadkin Railroad. 
Immediately thereafter the committee of the whole House 
began consideration of the rebuilding of the capitol. It be- 
gan to be evident that the West, headed by Mr. Morehead's 
old district, which was both a Cape Fear valley and a West- 
ern district, had decided to hold over the East a threat to join 
the lower Cape Fear Valley and remove the capitol to 
Fayetteville, unless the East joined the West in securing a 
new constitution and a central railroad from Beaufort har- 
bor. Even on the 8th of December, Senator Seawell saw 
the combination: "Who," said he, "are the people who 
find fault with the constitution? The people of the West, 
who want more power; the people of the Cape Fear, who 
want the seat of government. The small counties on the 
Cape Fear, with a black population, in some instances greater 
than the white, are by this compromise to surrender the right 
of representation to the West, provided the West will cede 
them the seat of government. ... I perceive, Sir, by 
the newspapers, that our enterprising brethren of the West 
contemplate the project of a railroad from the back country 
to Old Topsail Inlet. God speed their undertaking and give 
it success." Senator Toomer of Fayetteville, answered him : 
"The scepter is passing away from Judah," said he, "empire 
is marching westwardly ; in that section population is increas- 
ing. We have seen the grandeur of the eastern, and enjoyed 
the splendor of the meridian sun ; we must now admire his 
beauty in the west. Fifty-five years have devolved since the 
constitution was formed. During that period many changes, 
moral, political, and physical, have occurred in the condition 


of our country, and the character of our people. Yes, a new 
country has appeared, and a new population has arisen in 
the west." So when it came up in the Commons on the 
21st, 22nd, and 23rd of December, William Gaston made 
one of the most impassioned pleas of his life for it. He said 
there were but 13 smaller Cape Fear valley counties of the 
64 that had any real interest in it, but there were 30 that 
abhorred it and would not stand for it in the end. He said it 
was being done by a dominant Jackson party, upheld by 
Crawford adherents — another political combination. He 
said these 13 counties were selling their equality of represen- 
tation, their birthright, for a mess of pottage! And when 
he finished, the battle was lost to those who wanted the new 
capitol — in Raleigh — 68 to 65. The 68 were : from Anson, 
2 ; Ashe, 2 ; Bladin, 2 ; Brunswick, 2 ; Buncombe, 2 ; Burke, 
2; Cabarrus, 2; Caswell, 2; Chatham, 2; Columbus, 2; 
Cumberland, 2 ; Davidson, 2 ; Duplin, 1 ; Guilford, 2 ; Hay- 
wood, 2 ; Iredell, 2 ; Lincoln, 2 ; Macon, 2 ; Mecklenburg, 2 ; 
Montgomery, 2; Moore, 2; New Hanover, 2; Onslow, 1; 
Orange, 2; Randolph, 2; Richmond, 2; Robeson, 2; Rock- 
ingham, 2 ; Rowan, 2 ; Rutherford, 2 ; Sampson, 2 ; Stokes, 
2; Surry, 2; Wilkes, 2; Wilmington, 1; Fayetteville, 1. 
The italicized names are those which joined Wilmington and 
Fayetteville for the West. This was the first successful 
battle of the West, unless the Jackson West's capture of the 
Crawford forces could be called the first. It should be ob- 
served, however, that this 68-to-65 vote was merely negative, 
so far as capital removal was concerned ; and that Mr. Gas- 
ton and other eastern men had served a warning on Wil- 
mington and the lower Cape Fear in the form of a Beaufort 
harbor-Central Railroad Bill. 

It was now to be a struggle between the Cape Fear and 
lower Roanoke for the favor of the West, which boded well 
for both a new constitution and a Central Railroad. For 
the West had said merely "The capitol question is still open, 
so far as the Commons is concerned; we will wait and see 
what you will do." Thereupon, they put forth further oppor- 
tunity of test, when Senator Dick of Guilford county, on 
the 28th, presented a preamble and resolutions calling for 







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the election of a Constitutional Convention, a chief feature 
of which was practical representation according to popula- 
tion by giving the largest counties four votes each and the 
rest graduated down to one each for the smallest. Two 
days later the Central Railroad bill was pushed forward 
and on January 6, 1832, the main bill was passed, but not the 
completed bill. Thereupon the Senator from Granville, on 
the 9th, tried to reintroduce the capitol bill and, after a fight 
that lasted to the 11th, it was ruled out by but one vote, re- 
maining postponed until next Assembly. This was the West's 
notification that the capitol question must await the out- 
come of the convention question ; and it was well they did so, 
for on January 4, 1832, Senator Louis D. Wilson of Edge- 
combe made a determined effort to have it postponed in- 
definitely and succeeded by a vote of 42 to 21. So both 
capitol and convention were postponed for another year, 
and the honors were even, between the east and the west, 
with the West in possession of her railroad bills.' 

A curious feature of the situation, however, was the fact 
that Raleigh's friends, so confident of keeping the capital, 
had anticipated the Fayetteville-Campbellton "Experimental 
Railroad" of a mile or so, and in February, 1830, had se- 
cured incorporation of their own "Experimental Railroad," 
designing to run it from capitol or "Union Square" to the 
quarry, a mile or so southeastward, to also haul stone for 
the new capitol, when it should be ordered. It went east- 
ward from the capitol, on Newbern, to Bloodworth, then 
south to East Hargett, then east to Tarboro and south 
again to the quarry. All railroads were "experimental" 
ones ; but by "experimental" they meant not only mechanical 
experiment, but psychological and political experiment. 
They proposed to have not merely a railroad track and 
freight wagons, but "handsome cars on it for such ladies 
and gentlemen as may desire to take the exercise of 
a Railroad airing," a feature that was accomplished not 

1 The year 1831 was characterized by slave insurrection to an unusual de- 
gree. In August there was one in Virginia and in September one in the 
counties of Duplin, Sampson, and others near Wilmington were nipped in the 
bud. These followed one in Charleston that was apparently started by Haytian 


many months later/ This feature was designed to convince 
Solons and other North Carolina visitors to the capital, by 
actual experience with a railroad, w^iat a good thing the 
North Carolina Central Railroad would be ; for the progress 
of the Petersburg and Roanoke Railroad toward the Roa- 
noke valley, and the effect it was having on the shipments 
from the Roanoke, even before it reached there, was causing 
intense thought on the subject in the southern part of the 
state and in Wilmington especially. Before the close of 1832 
Halifax was saying she was getting goods and shipping them 
much quicker, even though it was only 30 miles from 
Petersburg, and a good way from the Roanoke, yet. 

In view of these things, it is not strange that John Mot- 
ley Morehead's motto, Quiescere non Possum, should be- 
come acutely active in his consciousness, for by the time 
"The Experimental Railroad" was organized in July, 1832, 
the friends of President Jackson had nominated him for 
Presidential Elector again. Of this The Greenshoroiigh 
Patriot of July 11, 1832, says of the Jackson connection in 
that place, after coming out for that ticket, "then for 
dulcifying the pill which the Divil would hate to swallow, 
without something to give it a relish, 'a member' very gravely 
asserts that John M. Morehead, Esq., stands pledged to sup- 
port the above ticket. If this pledge was given at all, it 
must have been given in confidence, to 'the member' alone, 
for we never heard such a thing in these Capes ! It is true, 
the gentleman in question has been nominated by the friends 
of the present administration, as an elector on the Jackson 
ticket; but Van Buren was never named, and only remem- 
bered to be depised, in the several meetings which made 
and sustained the nomination. Mr. Morehead is properly 
pledged to support the Jackson ticket, if chosen as an elec- 
tor; but who ever authorized 'the member' to cram Van 
Buren down his throat?" 

1 Raleigh Register, 2Sth December, 1832. The first meeting of stockholders 
was on June 29, 1832, and the organization took place at the Raleigh Court 
House on July 6th, with Joseph Gales as President By September 10th, their 
iron rails were at Petersburg and by January, 1833, the road was finished, and 
possessed two cars and three horses. Minutes of the Managers' Board, His- 
torical Commission, Raleigh. 


On the same day as the above, Mr. Morehead issued a 
"Circular to the Freemen of Guilford County," in which he 
says: "Fellow Citizens: The very extraordinary support 
which you gave me in 1827, after having been your repre- 
sentative in 1826, was, to me, the most gratifying evidence 
of your approbation of the manner in which I had dis- 
charged the duties with which your kindness had 
entrusted me. 

"My removal to Greensborough to settle myself perma- 
nently among you, and the loss of my brother, to whose care 
I had entrusted, almost exclusively, the management of a 
considerable mercantile establishment, the concerns of which 
devolved entirely upon me after his death, rendered it ex- 
tremely inconvenient for me to solicit a re-election in 1828; 
and which I could not have accepted without a personal sac- 
rifice not required by my friends, and which my opponents 
had no right to demand. 

"Our late worthy Senator having declined a re-election, 
I became a candidate to represent you in the next Senate. 
I was induced to do so for diverse reasons : — Our next legis- 
lature will be a very important one ; — Matters in which the 
state and yourselves have the deepest interest, will, no doubt, 
be agitated. The subject of holding a convention, to revise 
and amend our constitution, and remove the seat of govern- 
ment, if it shall be the people's will; the establishment of a 
bank, by which the interest of the state and her citizens shall 
be advanced and secured, and a sound and sufficient cur- 
rency, now so much needed, be afforded for all commercial 
purposes ; — Investments in railroads, on a plan, wild and ex- 
travagant, or prudent, economical and judicious; and an 
appropriation for rebuilding your capitol ; and diverse other 
matters of equal or minor importance. 

"You who pay the least attention to the interests of our 
State, know that the next session will present an important 
crisis in our affairs. And you must be satisfied that at no 
time, has it been more desirable that the West should send 
to our next legislature the whole force of her moral and 
intellectual strength. And it is to be lamented that some 
of the most efficient, able and distinguished members of the 


>last session, from the West, are not before the people for a 

"Some of you, my fellow citizens, as well as some other 
citizens of the state, were kind enough to signify to me the 
favorable opinion that I could be of service to my country 
and state in the next legislature, and that I would in some 
degree, add to the weight and character of the Western rep- 
resentation. This favorable expression was accompanied 
with a request that I would tender my services to the people. 
Believing it the duty of every citizen to render service when- 
ever required, I came to the conclusion to tender you my 
services, however much it might be against my inclinations 
and interests, if no other citizen should do so. 

"At May term of your court, having understood that it 
was probable Jonathan Parker and Francis L. Simpson, 
Esqrs., would be candidates in the Senate, I applied in 
person to Mr. Simpson, between whom and myself the most 
friendly relations have existed from our first acquaintance, 
to know whether he had any such designs, at the same time 
assuring him of my determination not to become a candi- 
date, if any other person of respectability did so. Mr. 
Simpson replied, that he was determined Mr. Parker should 
have opposition if he became a candidate ; and that he would 
oppose him unless I would do so. I again stated to Mr. 
Simpson that I was determined not to become a candidate, 
if himself, Mr. Parker, or any other respectable citizen chose 
to do so — as I was determined to have no contest with any 
person. To this Mr. Simpson replied, that the friendly re- 
lations which had existed between us forbade our oppo- 
sition; and he was kind enough to say, that my becoming 
a candidate met his entire approbation. He also assured me 
in the most positive and unequivocal terms, that he would 
not become a candidate for the Senate if I would tender my 
services. I thanked him for his renewed but not unexpected 
evidence of his friendship, and assured him that I should 
become a candidate, if Mr. Parker, or some other citizen 
did not. 

"Not until Friday of the same court, did I know certainly 


that Mr. Parker would not offer; and no other citizen com- 
ing forward on that day, I tendered you my services. 

"And I assure you, fellow citizens, that I should have 
been again proud to represent the intelligent freemen of 
Guilford, if it had met their approbation — if I would have 
done so with honor to myself and usefulness to them. And 
as an earnest of the future, I would have referred you to past 
services I have rendered you. During the two sessions I had 
the honor to represent you, I have not heard the first com- 
plaint ; and I was not, during that time, a mere cypher, 
counting only when on the right of a figure! 

"Scarcely had my name been announced, when the ever 
busy tongue of slander commenced its worthy work. The 
public ear was filled with suspicions, jealousies and slanders, 
the most ridiculous and unfounded. And there were some, 
whose good opinion I desire and respect, affected to give 
some credence. 

"In all communities there will be a noisy herd, who utter 
a senseless clamour and gladly listen to, and circulate every- 
thing that is destructive of a neighbor's character. If I had 
found the opposition to me confined to this class, I should 
certainly have disregarded it; but when I find those, whose 
good opinion I esteem, attributing to me unworthy and un- 
founded motives for tendering to them my services, and, 
instead of giving me their support, pursuing me with jealous 
suspicions — I have for them, too much regard, to any longer 
trouble and disquiet them. 

"I desire to render services to my state, and the honor 
of representing the freemen of Guilford, is, and will be at 
all times, to me, a sufficient motive to tender them my ser- 
vices, whenever I may deem them acceptable. And I shall 
deplore the condition of our common country, when the 
feelings of patriotism shall become so far extinguished, as 
not to be a sufficient inducement to serve the public — and 
when, to receive the suffrages of freemen, shall cease to be 
an honor. 

"I find myself unexpectedly opposed by Mr. Francis L. 
Simpson. This is an opposition which no man could have 
anticipated after what had passed between us unless he 


were much better acquainted with Mr. Simpson, than I con- 
fess I was! 

"Whether the idle clamours against me have offered 
him temptations he could not resist; whether a fickle 
disposition could not bear the yoke an honorable pledge had 
imposed ; or whether an anxiety to play the bravo, flourish 
the candidate a few days and then retire, as on a former 
occasion — has been the cause of his course, I know not. 

"But whatever the cause may be, I sincerely regret it ; — 
not that I could have anything to fear from such a contest. 
The language which you have heretofore spoken through 
your ballot-box, to both of us, when canvassing for the 
same seat, was too intelligible for the most consummate 
vanity to misunderstand. And even if anything was to have 
been apprehended, in a fair and honorable contest — now, 
that apprehension would be certainly removed ! 

"The same busy tongue which has traduced me, and 
abused you, will attribute my withdrawal to an apprehension 
of the result of the contest. Can you expect anything else 
from that mind, in which a noble emotion never arose — in 
which a generous sentiment, a disinterested motive, honest 
candour, or veracity has no abiding place? 

'T stated to you, my fellow citizens, in my first declara- 
tion, that I wished not to have a contest for the place — I am 
still determined to have none ; and beg you to consider me no 
longer a candidate before you. 

"To have been your representative by a respectable ma- 
jority; and yet to have been opposed and suspected by an 
honorable minority, would have rendered my seat unpleas- 
ant, particularly at a time when every Western representa- 
tive should be untrammelled ; and should unite all our intel- 
lectual energies and strength for the advancement of our 
common good. 

"A seat in the legislature is pleasant to him who is con- 
tent to obtain it by any and every means, however degrad- 
ing or unjustifiable — who is content to screw himself into 
some obscure corner of the legislative hall, equally incapable 
of originating or sustaining any great and useful public 


measure, and from his snug retreat, to cry 'Aye' or 'No' to 
every question put, regardless of the propriety of the vote he 
is giving — but regarding strictly how he thinks it will go 
down at home; — who draws his pay — chuckles over it — 
returns home — and tells what wonders 'we have done!' — but 
never tells that stubborn truth : — 7 got my pay, but I did not 
earn it!' 

"Far different are the feelings of that honorable member 
who takes his seat, deeply impressed with the magnitude of 
the responsibility he has assumed — who reflects, under the 
obligations of an oath, that he is legislating upon the lives, 
the liberties and fortunes of his fellow men ; and that after 
ages may be affected by an error in his course — who votes 
for the public good, regardless of popular clamour, returns 
among his constituents, convinces them of their error, 
and again receives their support. 

"While a portion of the community remain ignorant and 
unsuspecting, for the artful and designing demagogue to 
play upon and deceive; and the more intelligent give ear 
and countenance to idle clamour and unfounded reports, 
you will find your legislative halls filled ^with the former 
class of representatives, while the latter never attempt to 
stem that torrent of scurrility which lies between them and 
an honorable seat. 

"If you have anything on earth to give your children, 
vest it in the head — in every sense of the word, it is a life 

"If you have talents, wisdom and integrity among you, 
and that you have there can be no doubt, I conjure you, 
fellow-citizens, if you ever intend to employ them, to do so 
now. A more propitious time will never arrive. 

"Most joyfully will I join with you, to place that one of 
you, most distinguished for these attributes, in that seat I so 
lately sought to occupy — indulging the fond hopes, that the 
able and distinguished individual, who may occupy it, will do 
honor to himself and his constituents, and will sustain and 
advance the interests of our beloved country. 

"Accept, fellow citizens, a renewal of my thanks for the 


contulence you have heretofore placed in your fillmv citizen 
and humble servant. 

"John M. Morchcad." 
"Grecnsboronj;h. July 11, 18v^2." 

In this adtlrcss are evidences of the lart^e mould in which 
John Motlcv Morehead was cast, llis was the spirit of the 
statesman. The West at this critical juncture could not 
afford to allow dividing contests, and he personally wouUl 
not be the subject of one in the presence of such a great 
opportunity to get a new constitution aud the lesser organs 
of the transformation of NcMth C'arolina. On the other 
hand, he showed the bold fearlessness of the master surgeon, 
probing to the seat of disease and following it with knife 
and scalpel. Likewise, as a modern surgeon, he used the 
anesthetic of a hue and lofty feeling, gentle humor and goi)tl 
will. But all his efforts came to naught si) far as the Assem- 
bly of 1832-33 was concerned, for although so progressive 
a westerner as Judge David L. Swain of Buncombe was 
chosen Governor, when on December 3, 1832, Senator Mar- 
tin of Mr. Morehead's old home county of Rockingham 
presented a preamble reciting people's desire for a new con- 
stitution, election of Governor by themselves, and a possible 
change of the capital from Ixaleigh. to which was added a 
resolution proviiling for vote on a convention in August, 
1833, it did not succeed, while on the 17th. action was begun 
on a House bill to provide a new capitol in Raleigh. On the 
18th. antl on the 20th, tights for and against the latter bill 
were made by Senators Leake and Martin, the Raleigh 
capitol party winning in each by a vote of 33 and 36, against 
27 — the solid new constitution block.- So when Mr. More- 
head, as an elector on the overwhelming Jackson-Van Buren 
ticket — again against his ow'u county which went for Clay 
and Sergeant — he knew the constitutional contest was again 

When, however, during the Christmas holidays, it was 
realized what had happened, the friends of the Convention 

' The result was thiit Candidate Parker was chosen Senator. 
* The defections from the vole of 1831 came from such counties as Dladen, 
Duplin, Onslow and a few others. 


in the Assembly, met on January 4, 1833, and elected Gen- 
eral Polk of Rowan chairman, and it became evident they 
were there for but one thing, namely, to find a mode for the 
people of North Carolina to express themselves on the desire 
for a convention. Among them were some eastern men who 
realized the gravity of the situation and felt that now the 
capitol question was settled, the West's demand for the 
North Carolina Railroad, already surveyed from Newbern 
to Raleigh by Engineer Francis W. Rawle of Pennsylvania, 
and a new constitution were due that section. These were 
men like William Gaston of Newbern, David Outlaw of 
Beaufort, William H. Haywood of Raleigh, and others. 
This unofficial constitutional convention recommended that 
election officers take the unofficial vote of the people and for- 
ward returns to the Governor, and that officer in turn to the 
Assembly ; that a committee of four issue an "Address" and 
explain the amendments sought and that county committees 
of three aid these purposes. The four for the "Address" 
were Richmond M. Pearson, Romulus M. Saunders, William 
H. Haywood, Jr., and Thomas Dews. The local committee 
for Guilford county was Air. Morehead, George C. Alenden- 
hall, John M. Dick, and F. L. Simpson ; and the rest were 
men of like character ; so that it was plain that this unofficial 
constitutional convention was not going to be an inefficient 

While awaiting their action preparatory to the August 
elections attention may be turned to other momentous events. 
One might dwell long on the nullification movement led by 
South Carolina but as fiercely and impatiently resisted by 
her sister Carolina were is not so well known a part of 
national history. The action of President Jackson, in this 
matter endeared him to the old North State, even when she 
opposed him on other scores; but the subject of railroads 
w^as as much uppermost in men's minds as that of the re- 
vision of the fundamental law. While in the previous 
November, Halifax had said she was getting goods more 
quickly than ever because of the Petersburg thirty miles of 
railroad that didn't even reach them, and a toll-bridge bill 
for the Roanoke at W'eldon was passed on Tanuar\- 3rd 


[1833] and the Virginia bill for a Portsmouth and Roanoke 
Railroad was also passed to enable it to reach Weldon — 
Portsmouth notice of rivalling Petersburg for the Roanoke 
valley trade — it was announced on February 15th, that the 
Petersburg road was complete, with a locomotive, for 41 
miles, and that tri-weekly four-horse coaches from Raleigh 
took passengers to it at Belfield. The Raleigh "Experi- 
mental Railroad" from the new capitol site to the quarry 
had been completed on January 4th, at which time Engineer 
Rawle's formidable estimate of $5000 a mile for the North 
Carolina Central Railroad from Beaufort harbor to Raleigh 
and $9000 for the Yadkin line came out as a great dis- 
courager of the project. This led to the Raleigh Register 
proposing an extension of the "Experimental" line to the 
Neuse River, and, by March, Granville county held a meeting 
at Oxford proposing a railroad through that place to con- 
nect with the Petersburg and the proposed Portsmouth- 
Norfolk road at Weldon. Fayetteville was working hard in 
January and February raising $200,000 for the Cape Fear 
and Yadkin Valley road ; while in April the Granville people 
had another meeting, this time proposing that the line have 
Blakely on the Roanoke as an objective, instead of Weldon, 
and go westward through Warrenton and Oxford. They 
told of how two cars and about forty people were easily 
drawn by two horses ; how the road across New Jersey, 
from the Delaware at Bordentown to Amboy toward New 
York, had a locomotive and eleven cars with 200 people car- 
ried at 15 miles an hour! By April the old capitol ruins at 
Raleigh were being removed and the "Experimental" line 
getting ready to haul stones from the quarry. A traveler 
visiting Newbern, in June, notes that the Petersburg line has 
thoroughly convinced that section of railroad efficiency ; that 
in Orange county railroads was the "talk of every third 
man ;" that the Neuse people's slowness is forcing the north- 
ern counties to connect up with the Petersburg road, and 
proposes a line from Raleigh to Smithfield on the Neuse, 18 
miles, which, if made as cheaply as the "Experimental" line, 
at $2800 a mile would cost but $68,000. The Raleigh 
Register editor on same date, June 11th, proposes an exten- 


sion of the "Experimental" line to South Washington in 
New Hanover county, about 75 miles, and make that the 
head of navigation instead of Wilmington. 

By this time, the committee of the unofficial constitu- 
tional convention at Raleigh issued their "Address" on June 
18th [1833]. This was a strong presentation: They said 
that 33 counties with only 156,000 population elect a ma- 
jority of the Assembly when 31 have over 316,000 popu- 
lation; that the 33 have only an $8000 land tax while the 31 
have $17,000; that the 33 elect a majority, with all taxes 
only $24,000 as against 31 with twice that amount; that half 
of the 33 do not pay enough to even pay their own members' 
salaries — two-thirds taxed by one-third to pay minority for 
controlling the majority! that 40 counties do not pay taxes 
to equal their share in public expenses, yet elect two-thirds 
of the Assembly! that the 40 do not contain an average 
population ; that 46,600 people have no larger share in gov- 
ernment than 9000! In 1776 the 36 counties had 115 mem- 
bers, but in 1833 the 64 counties have 199 — double the size 
an Assembly ought to be ; so that there has been an annual 
deficit of $12,000 to $17,000 for years! They propose: 
1. Reduction in size of Assembly; 2. Biennial meetings 
only ; 3. Popular election of Governor ; 4. No borough repre- 
sentation ; 5. And a new mode of amendment. They point 
out that New York, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Georgia 
have already revised their old constitutions. 

The main burden of their paper, however, was an argu- 
ment for a limited convention. Indeed, they distinctly avow 
that "no unlimited convention is asked." They remind the 
people that the conventions to merely accept or reject the 
national constitution were limited ; that the New York con- 
vention of 1801 was limited ; likewise the Virginia conven- 
tion and those of New Hampshire and Georgia. The North 
Carolina constitution, they say, is silent on a mode of re- 
vision; but, they add "in this country," sovereignty, "is 
lodged with a majority of the people" and these can deter- 
mine that mode, keeping in view justice to the minority, the 
right of the majority, and the interest of both. It was a 
most able and disinterested paper and was destined to point 


out the way to final settlement of the generation-long con- 

Coordinate with this and the railroad agitation, was the 
establishment of a new Bank of North Carolina provided 
for in January [1833] to take the place of the old State Bank 
whose charter would expire in 1835. It was to be capitalized 
at $2,000,000, one-half of the stock to be taken by the State ; 
and with a head bank in Raleigh were to be branches in 
leading centers over the state — a recurring necessity be- 
cause of the President's new attack on and final destruction 
of the Bank of the United States. On January 8th of this 
year, Governor Swain appointed commissioners to take sub- 
scriptions to the new Bank of North Carolina in the leading 
towns, and he made Mr. Morehead chairman of the 
Greensboro body, composed of Messrs. Lindsay, Humphries, 
Maxwell and Parker. "Senex," whose series of papers 
was pleading for the new constitution, incidentally but ably 
touched upon the bank question, saying that since the State 
Bank was created in 1812, $2,000,000 had "taken wings and 
flown away."^ 

Various matters came to a strategic head on Independence 
Day at Raleigh, when the laying of the corner-stone of the 
new capitol was also made the occasion of what might be 
called a "Transportation Convention,' but was entitled 
"Internal Improvement Convention." As the new capitol, 
in a very true sense, represents the new North Carolina 
of a new constitution and modern development, it may be 
well to take more careful note of it, as the corner-stone was 
laid on this 4th of July, 1833 : That it should epitomize the 
efifort to unite North Carolinians in both a constitutional 
and transportational way is unique. The Scotch architect, 
David Paton of Edinburgh, took charge not long after the 
corner-stone was laid and had much to do in determining its 
character. It is about twenty feet longer, north and south, 
than east and west, so that it can be said to front both east 
and west, but the east front is most used as front, at the 
head of Newbern Avenue, named for the city whose able 

1 Raleigh Register, 18th June, 1833. 
^Ibid., 11th June. 1833, "Senex" No. IV. 


citizen, William Gaston, had so much to do with harmonizing 
the conflicting elements which raged around this capitol for 
and against a new constitution and some unifying mode of 
transportation and trade centers. The greatest height, the 
dome, is 97^ feet. Built completely of stone from the 
Raleigh quarry, it is of Grecian Doric style, copied from the 
Temple of Minerva, or Parthenon, of Athens of 500 B.C., 
its octagon tower forming the rotunda and being capped 
by a crown similar to that of the Lanthorn of Demosthenes. 
The proportions may be realized when it is known that the 
columns of the east and west porticos are over five feet in 
diameter. The vestibules and corridors are decorated with 
Ionic columns, and the rest with groined arches on Doric 
columns and pilasters. The Governor's rooms are in the 
southwest corner, and the Senatorial and Representative 
Halls are in keeping with the rest of this noble Greek struc- 
ture, which cost the state over a half million dollars — a 
capitol of which even the 20th century North Carolina may 
well be proud. But only its corner-stone was finished on 
this day by the company which met at "Government 
House," as the executive mansion at the foot of Fayetteville 
street was then called, and served as temporary capitol. 
Governor Swain presided at the function in the morning, 
as he did at the more important one at Government House 
in the afternoon. 

This Convention was a peculiar one, composed of some of 
the strongest men of the state, and especially of the east, for 
it was essentially an eastern convention : out of 20 counties 
represented, only Chatham, Orange and Wilkes could prop- 
erly be called western, as Cumberland, Wake, and Granville 
were sometimes one or the other. Governor Swain was 
properly from the west, though credited to Wake county. 
Gaston, of Newbern, was always a great harmonizing force, 
and he represented a constituency committed to the North 
Carolina Central Railroad and a new constitution, if it could 
be wisely done. Raleigh sent George E. Badger, James Ire- 
dell, Dr. William McPheeters, the Haywoods, Judge Sea- 
well, Charles Manly, Editor Gales, and others of like stand- 
ing. Orange, from the west, had such men as Nash, W. A. 


Graham, W. J. Bingham, and similar characters. Mr. More- 
head and his brother, James T., were there from Greens- 
boro.^ It was as though Newbern, Raleigh, Hillsboro and 
Greensboro — the mid-Carolina centers — had got together 
to find a golden mean between the desires of the Roanoke, 
the Cape Fear, and the Yadkin and Catawba, which were all 
fearful lest they be left out in the play for a favorable 
seat, when the great new god — the Locomotive — entered 
North Carolina with his procession of passenger and 
freight cars. Under such circumstances, it required great 
skill to find just what they could agree upon. Transporta- 
tion was the real subject, but they used the term "Internal 
Improvement;" and it was evident that while they saw the 
rising tide of sentiment toward railroads — the cry of the 
west, they clung to the water side of transportation 
tenaciously; that was a fixed quantity, while the railroad 
could go anywhere and cause a revolution in the importance 
of position on water routes. Almost every community of 
any wealth saw opportunity to itself to build a railroad 
to its nearest market. Consequently the burden of this 
convention was favorable to new transportation ; that funds 
should be created by the state for it; that the state should 
take two-fifths of the stock of any enterprise in this line 
when the other three-fifths were privately subscribed. To 
this end an "Address" should be issued ; proceedings should 
be laid before the Legislature ; committees of correspondence 
be appointed in each county ; and a full convention be held 
on the fouth Monday of November, 1833. Editor Gales of 
The Register thought it "perhaps not going too far to say 
that it was the most talented, respectable and dignified body 
ever convened in North Carolina for any purpose."^ 

President Swain made William Gaston chairman of the 
general committee of 20, and on July 20th announced his 
elaborate committees for each county, in one of which, that 
for Guilford county, Senator Parker was chairman and Mr. 
Morehead one of the members. Then ten days later the 
Gaston general committee issued its address : it dwelt on the 

^ Greensboro Patriot, 31st July, 1833. 
- Issue of July 9, 1833. 


contrast with other states which had surpassed it in develop- 
ment; "The great wants of our state then are emphatically- 
good marts of traffic and the means of cheap transporta- 
tion," said the "Address." Then they showed that natural 
water routes could be developed, and when these could not, 
the canal and railroad must enter. Sacrifice by individuals 
and aid by the state was the slogan ; and a great Convention 
in November. It was a strong appeal to forget the mistakes 
of the past and move forward, and worthy of the pen of 
William Gaston. 

Thereupon a movement arose in Raleigh to immedi- 
ately make an effort to get subscriptions for that section 
of the "Central" railroad between Raleigh and Waynesboro 
(later Goldsboro) on the Neuse, to be extended later to 
Beaufort or Wilmington or both. Governor Swain was 
active in it, while Gen. Edward B. Dudley and others of 
Wilmington, early in August, secured a public meeting 
and appeal to the counties between them and Waynesboro 
and Raleigh for subscriptions to a railroad to Waynesboro 
to connect with a Raleigh line. They announced that 
they already had $173,000 and aimed at $180,000. "Citi- 
zens of Fayetteville !" said the Observer, "Will not such 
facts as these rouse you to action?" Waynesboro and 
Pittsboro followed with subscriptions. On August 2nd, 
at Smithfield, Johnston county, $22,000 was subscribed 
in a mere election crowd. Newbern meetings called a 
district convention at Kinston in September, and by 
27th August Waynesboro territory had raised $60,000 for 
a Wilmington road to Raleigh by way of that place and 
Smithfield. This was all voluntary, but stimulated by the 
Raleigh Convention of July 4th. A meeting on the 
29th of August at Pittsboro, Chatham county, was somewhat 
divided, but was for improving the Cape Fear above Fayette- 
ville; and on the 27th of August Beaufort city's meeting 
decided on a railroad from there to Trenton — thus passing 
by Newbern — and urging Onslow and Jones counties to aid 
them in it. The Wilmington Press, in September, showed 
that $400,000 had been subscribed for a Wilmington and 
Raleigh Railroad — a port-to-capital road — via Waynesboro, 


already by various interests along the route. The Kinston 
meeting, presided over by Governor Swain, late in that 
month raised $30,000 for a railroad from Beaufort 
to Waynesboro (later Goldsboro). The Wilmington activity, 
however, did not satisfy the western people, and the upper 
Roanoke country and tributaries began intense activity for a 
road from Weldon, to which the Petersburg railroad was 
nearly complete, westward by way of Oxford, in a meeting 
at Hillsboro on September 9th. The Beaufort and western 
idea, represented by Governor Swain, and the Oxford and 
western desires, represented by Judge Thomas Ruffin, came 
in conflict, when the latter was elected President over the 
former by a vote of 26 to 16. The result was the avowal 
for such a road and that a charter should be sought en- 
titled the Roanoke and Yadkin Railroad Company. It is 
curious to note that nearly all of these plans wanted Mr. 
Morehead to head their committee in Guilford county, as 
did this Hillsboro Railroad convention; but there is more 
evidence that he was most interested in the North Carolina 
Central Railroad plan from Beaufort and in the unofficial 
vote for a Constitutional Convention. He was, therefore, 
not at the Hillsboro Railroad Convention, although they 
appointed him head of their Guilford county committee. 

The wide-spread interest in railroads, all over the 
United States, was indicated by the appearance this month 
of The Atnerican Railroad Journal in New York ; and it was 
proposed to run the New York and Erie Railroad directly 
through to Chicago and to complete it in seven years. The 
line from Washington to New York was all provided for, 
except the part between Baltimore and Port Deposit on the 
Susquehanna ; and there was prospect that there would soon 
be a railroad from Maine to New Orleans, with branch 
lines from it — a great Piedmont line being in view at this 
early date. This great movement was taking on so many 
complications in North Carolina, however, that it was evi- 
dent the coming Raleigh November Convention would be a 
great battle ground. Johnston county had a meeting favor- 
ing a road from Fayetteville and Smithfield to Halifax, 
which did not look favorable to Wilmington's plans. The 


Salisbury meeting of October 17th, seemed inclined toward 
Fayetteville also, though it deferred to the Raleigh conven- 
tion of November. 

The months of October and November, 1833, were a 
pregnant period. The action of President Jackson in 
ordering the removal of national deposits from the Bank of 
the United States and the use of Roger B. Taney to enforce 
it startled the whole union and no part more so than North 
Carolina. It meant the flowering of a great anti-Jackson 
movement in this state, as vigorous as the anti-Nullification 
movement was for him. The Assembly was to meet and it 
was to be a notable one, before whom was to be laid the 
unofficial vote of North Carolina on a new Constitutional 
Convention. In addition to this was the great Transporta- 
tion Convention to meet in Raleigh. But before turning 
attention to these let it be noted, that Mr. Morehead, besides 
being a great lawyer in active practice, and the recognized 
head of his counties' activities for the North Carolina 
Railroad prospects, the Bank of North Carolina subscrip- 
tions, and a Jackson leader, he was interested in the 
Humphrey Cotton Mills at Greensboro, which had just 
received a steam-engine from Pittsburgh ; had two great 
plantations at Leaksville, one of which he farmed under his 
own direction; and on October 16th [1833] in the Greens- 
boro Patriot advertised as one of the firm of Barnet & More- 
head, his partner having built the first mill in 1813, a plant 
composed of a saw-mill, oil mill, carding mill, cotton gin, 
blacksmith shop, general merchandise, and supplies store, 
and their own line of boats on the Dan River. These became 
his own property later on the death of his partner. And his 
devotion to private affairs did not signify that his motto — 
Quiesccre nan Possum hung in any less prominent place on 
the walls of his mind. It did, however, indicate that he 
realized that there was to be little public progress in other 
lines until the fundamental basis of such progress was 
secured — namely, a new constitution. This was true, not 
only because it was right ; but because, notwithstanding the 
few leaders of that section with broad ideas like William 
Gaston, the east acted on local interests and were unable 


apparently to grasp the broad unifying conception of the 
state as a whole. Mr. Morehead's conceptions were well 
known and in no sense vague. As Washington had once 
said in the apparently hopeless days of the early 1780s on 
the same subject, that the people must suffer still more be- 
fore they would feel enough to act, so John Motley More- 
head might have said in the early 1830s regarding all 
questions, and especially the one concerning a new state 

The meeting of the Assembly on November 18th [1833] 
gave Governor Swain an opportunity to state the great 
questions before the people, but while ably stating the secon- 
dary ones he was notably silent on the one great primary 
one of a new constitution. And this was not because he did 
not consider it primary, himself, but because he saw from 
the character of the present Assembly, especially the lower 
house, that the people had little to hope from it. Further- 
more, the death of Chief Justice Henderson gave that ele- 
ment opportunity to remove the great power of William 
Gaston from the active arena of public leadership to the 
sequestered shades of the Supreme Court. Governor 
Swain was re-elected and he dwelt upon what he called the 
"excitement" in every part of the state on "Internal Improve- 
ment," which practically always meant "transportation." 
He showed that real improvement had been made since 
Murphy's original movement in 1818-19; but asserted that 
the railroad would be "the commencement of a new era in 
the annals of physical inmprovement." One can feel the 
intense jealousy of every corner of the state in his scrupu- 
lously cautious general territorial terms in reference to it. 
To increase the educational Fund he dwells upon the over 
2,500,000 acres of fertile swamp land, three-fifths of which 
was state property, and the whole was one-twentieth of the 
extent of the state and probably one-eighth in fertility urg- 
ing its reclaimability, and as an educational Fund measure. 
The currency and bank questions w^ere acute, and the Bank 
of North Carolina charter was not inviting to capital, and 
must be made to ; for a bank must not be created to escape 
taxation, but to regulate the currency. He dwells also 


upon revision of the statutes from the earliest one of 1235 
and the first "revised code" of 1715 and thought almost 
everything before 1777 might be discarded — but he said 
nothing about a new constitution. 

November 25th, however, was the red-letter day of the 
session, for on that day the Governor presented to the As- 
sembly Chairman Thomas G. Polk's report on the results 
of the unofficial vote of the people on a Constitutional Con- 
vention. This report showed "that, in thirty-three counties 
in North Carolina more than thirty thousand freemen have 
voluntarily demanded of their immediate representatives a 
change in our State Constitution." Furthermore, these re- 
turns "exhibit a vote, which is by several thousand over a 
majority of the largest poll ever held in North Carolina for 
the election of a President of the United States.'" A large 
majority of the people of North Carolina had therefore de- 
manded a Constitutional Convention. 

On Saturday the Internal Improvement Convention at 
Raleigh laid before the Assembly their program: 1. A ship 
channel connecting Beaufort harbor with the Pamlico and 
Neuse river, to avoid Ocracoke Inlet ; 2. A railroad from 
the sea to Tennessee ; 3. A Roanoke-South Carolina railroad 
above the falls of rivers ; and 4. A canal or railroad from 
Edenton to Dismal Swamp canal. This was a $5,000,000 
proposition. Four Roanoke counties had voted against it, 
but 44 counties and towns had voted for it. It was vague 
and was of no value to the Roanoke country, and had in it 
nothing to hold them back from connecting up by railroad 
with Petersburg and Norfolk; and it left the Wilmington- 
Beaufort rivalry on the door-step in plain sight ! 

And what did the Assembly do with these two momen- 
tous programes? It spent the longest period in session in 
the history of North Carolina to that date, namely 57 days, 
adjourning from Government House, or the executive man- 
sion, on January 13, 1834 ; and yet the organization of a bank 
system and charters for a few privately owned railroad 
propositions was all that was done with great questions. 

1 Raleigh Register, 3rd December, 1833. Letters dated 25th November. 


The transportation program failed because of the fight over 
the constitutional question, chiefly. The Senate was in- 
clined to accept a convention program of a limited kind 
and had even passed it on final reading, but the House by 
five votes only rejected it. "If the people of the Eastern 
counties," wrote Editor Gales of The Raleigh Register, 
"knew the excitement which exists in the West touching 
this matter — if they were aware, as their representatives in 
the Legislature must be, that unless the grievances com- 
plained of be speedily redressed, the yeomanry of the West 
will take the remedy into their own hands — if they were 
enlightened as to the defects which exist in our constitution, 
and were convinced of the utter hopelessness of achieving 
anything for the advancement of the State, while these evils 
are without a remedy — if, we say, proper exertions were 
made to inform them on these points, they would cordially 
sustain the course of those who have 'dared to be honest in 
the worst of times.' That the people of the West will ulti- 
mately obtain the relief for which they are seeking is as cer- 
tain as that their demand is founded in equity. Then let 
us meet our brethren half way — let us arrange our differ- 
ences in such a manner, as will secure to them their legiti- 
mate rights, without making us 'hewers of wood and drawers 
water.'"' On the 11th of January, immediately after 
the Convention bill was rejected by the House, friends 
of the measure held a meeting to provide an organization to 
go to the people and urge them to instruct their representa- 
tives to provide for calling of a convention at the next As- 
sembly. Senator Robert Martin of Rockingham was, as 
usual, active in it; Fisher of Rowan proposed the resolu- 
tions, and the Executive Committee chosen were Wm. H. 
Haywood, Jr., of Raleigh, chairman ; Judge R. M. Saunders 
and Editor W. R. Gales of the same city ; Wm. A. Graham 
of Hillsboro; James Seawell of Fayetteville ; and Wm. R. 
Hargrove of Granville county. 

As this was destined to be the last reactionary legislature 
obstructive of a new constitution, it will be of interest to 

1 Issue of January 14, 1834. 


note an analysis of it, by occupation : of the 199 members 
of the Assembly, 147 were married and 52 single men. 
The great bulk of them, 145, were farmers or planters, while 
the next greatest single block was 31 composed of lawyers. 
Seven merchants came next and six physicians, with six of 
no occupation at all, evidently retired. Two blacksmiths, 
one tailor, and one tavern keeper made up the rest. 

These law-makers were convinced of one thing, however, 
and that was the desirability of railroads, as a private enter- 
prise; they were not even yet convinced that public money 
should be put into them. Speaking of the Raleigh "Experi- 
mental Railroad," Editor Edmund Ruftin of The Farmer-'s 
Register of Richmond, said on November 26th : "This little 
Railroad has doubtless had much effect in promoting the 
present zeal for similar and more extensive works. We 
are much more ready to be impressed by what we see, even 
if we hear truths demonstrated, and made undeniable ; and 
very many, who have come to the seat of government from 
every quarter of the State, have been first convinced of the 
advantages of railways by seeing the enormous masses of 
stone conveyed as fast and as easily as the empty cars could 
be drawn on good common roads." Consequently they 
passed bills to incorporate a "North Carolina Central Sea- 
port Railroad Company," "The Wilmington and Raleigh," 
and the "Greensville and Roanoke" — a Virginia road to 
connect at Belfield with the Petersburg road from a point 
above the falls on the Roanoke, later to be called Gaston, 
"The Roanoke and Yadkin," "The Campbellton and Fayette- 
ville" — a short experimental railroad at Fayetteville to her 
river wharf, "The Cape Fear, Yadkin and Pee Dee," and the 
"Roanoke and Raleigh." These were all to be, like the "Ex- 
perimental Railroad," at Raleigh, private enterprises, un- 
supported by the State, and when, in January, 1834, the 
Raleigh road declared a ten per cent, dividend, it gave great 
encouragement to these various railroad projects. They 
were likewise encouraged by progress elsewhere ; for ex- 
ample from Washington to New York there were 37 miles 
of the Baltimore and Ohio to Baltimore ; 41| miles from the 
latter city to Port Deposit; then 31| miles of the Oxford 


Railroad to the Pennsylvania Railroad ; then the latter road 
into Philadelphia at Broad Street for 46| miles, or 156 miles 
from the National Capital to Philadelphia. Then a mile up 
Broad Street by the Northern Liberties and Penn Township 
Railroad; then 27 miles from there to Trenton; then the 
Delaware Bridge and New Brunswick turnpike, 26:^ miles; 
then the New Jersey Railroad to Jersey City, 30 miles ; and 
finally 4 miles across the Hudson — a total of 244^ miles, 
very much of which was completed. In England there were 
a dozen new roads projected; next door, in South Carolina, 
was a locomotive hauling each way every other day, and the 
road was making money. 

With all the local projects in North Carolina there was 
one region that proposed the Beaufort-Tennessee or "North 
Carolina Central Railroad," namely, in 1827 when President 
Caldwell, as "Carleton," advocated it, and at Jamestown on 
June 28, 1828, in a district meeting urged it, and that was 
Guilford county.' From that time to July, 1834, they had 
had four meetings of this county Internal Improvement 
Convention, but the one of July, whose public address ap- 
peared in the Greensboro Patriot of July 14th [1834], 
signed by Andrew Lindsay and Dr. David Worth, called 
upon the people to begin building the railroad from Beau- 
fort to Newbern and Raleigh by subscribing 3/5 of the 
capital ; but also announced that nothing could ever be done 
until the constitution was revised, as the East was opposed 
to transportation improvement. 

This was followed on the 19th, by the appearance in the 
Greensboro Patriot of a unique public letter, signed "Clin- 
ton," referring no doubt to Governor De Witt Clinton of 
Erie Canal fame, and purporting to be from Beaufort. It 
was the first of a series and is so similar to the style and 
ideas of John Motley Morehead that it is given in full : 

"Gentlemen : A request has been made to county com- 
mittees of correspondence and others who feel an interest 

^ President Caldwell had spoken in the first of these meetings and he also 
spoke in a Hillshoro meeting on May 27, 1834, in which he urged that the State 
was without debt, had a capital of $800,000, and even $500,000 after the $300,- 
000 bank stock was taken out; so that the State could easily take the two-fifths, 
especially when private capital stood ready to take the three-fifths. Raleigh 
Register, 10th June, 1834. 


in the improvements of the state of North CaroHna, to com- 
municate their plans to the pubHc previous to the next ses- 
sion of the legislature. I shall therefore submit my plan 
to the farmers of North Carolina. If I only inherited one- 
half of Girard's fortune I would amuse myself with making 
a grand central railroad from the port of Beaufort to the 
Tennessee line. In the first place I would employ an ex- 
perienced engineer: M. Robinson, H. Allen, or A. A. Dexter 
might probably be engaged ; and such assistant engineers as 
they might deem best qualified to carry on the work. I 
would then take them out on Beaufort bar — let them sound 
the bar outwards and inwards, and satisfy them that there 
was 22 feet [of] water at ordinary high tides. And then we 
would sound the channel up to Fort Macon, about two 
miles, with from four to five fathoms water, good harbor, 
and safe anchorage, as soon as you get within the bar. 
From Fort Macon we would sound up to the mainland, near 
Shepherd's point, about two miles, by which they would be 
satisfied that the lowest cast of the lead in this noble channel 
is 22 feet, and near Shepherd's point this channel terminates 
in a large harbor or basin, with from four to five fathoms 
water, and good anchorage. This harbor is protected by a 
powerful port. Here then at Shepherd's point, my engi- 
neers would commence their level, and proceed in the best, 
most practicable, shortest and most level route, to Morgan- 
ton in Burke county, and thence by the most practicable 
route to the Tennessee line. I shall consult my own interest 
in selecting the best and shortest route. I cannot consent 
to run this road zig-zag through every little town between 
Beaufort harbor and Morganton. The main road must be 
as straight as possible, to facilitate the speed of the loco- 
motive engines and freight and passenger cars. A straight 
road will last much longer than one in which there are fre- 
quent curves. Let all the county towns near the main rail- 
road make branches into it as soon as possible. 

"The more branches, the better for the farmers — and 
the merchants, also. Most of the farmers who make small 
quantities of produce will sell it to the merchants in the in- 
terior towns near the railroad. As soon as the engineers 


could get ten miles of the road levelled, I would put it out to 
contractors at a public sale, after due notice. These con- 
tracts should be made with the lowest bidder, fairly and 
honestly. And proceed on in the same way as soon as an- 
other ten miles is levelled. I should proceed a little south 
of the lakes, to near the line of Onslow county: There 
would be a slight curve in the road — and thence straight to 
Trenton or near it. By this route I should avoid crossing 
Newport river, and also Trent river near Newbern, where it 
is navigable. No engineer will attempt to cross a navigable 
river, when he can possibly avoid it. The citizens of New- 
bern could make a short branch railroad to join near Tren- 
ton. At the close of the first year, say 1835, I would have 
the road finished to Trenton, and two Locomotive steam 
engines, with a sufficiency of passenger and freight cars 
travelling on it. The distance from Shepherd's point to 
Trenton is about 45 miles. From Trenton I would run the 
road in a straight line to Haw river and cross that stream 
by a stone viaduct, near Haywoodborough. From Trenton 
to the Haw river is about 100 miles. I would 'go ahead' the 
second year, and at the close of 1836, would have the line 
from Shepherd's point to the Haw river in operation. The 
ground is so favorable in this division of the road and timber 
so convenient, that I do not feel a doubt of completing this 
division by the close of 1836. In 1837 and 1838 I would 
push on the railroad to Morganton in Burke county, about 
one hundred and forty-five miles. 

'Tn this division it is necessary to make good stone via- 
ducts across the Haw, Deep, Yadkin and Catawba rivers. 
All these viaducts could be built while the other parts of the 
road were in progress. In the year 1839 I would carry the 
railroad from Morganton to the Tennessee line, in Bun- 
combe county, where the French Broad river passes through 
the Bald Mountain. When I get to the Tennessee line, I 
shall think it is 'glory enough' to have accomplished this 
great state — I have a mind to say — national work. 


^Whether the series were all written by the same hand can not be known; 
indeed the second article, on Oct. 1st, avows it to have been written by a resi- 


On October 1st, he writes : "I agree with Dr. Caldwell 
in the opinion that a road can be made for five thousand 
dollars per mile, including locomotive, passenger and freight 
cars. But it is prudent to allow something for contingencies 
— say 250,000 dollars — which makes in all the sum of two 
million of dollars. 

"If I had the funds I would commence the work and only 
ask of the legislature the same rates of toll which are re- 
ceived on the Charleston and Petersburg railroads. Time 
would soon demonstrate that I had a fortune equal to any 
man in the United States. But, as I have not the honor to 
be the son of Girard, how shall the funds be raised? Let 
the next legislature authorize the Governor and treasurer 
of the State to borrow in London, or elsewhere, one million 
dollars, redeemable in 25 years. A late number of the 
London Mercantile Journal says: 'so abundant has money 
become that discounts in some cases have been obtained at 
the extreme low rates of 1^ per ct. per annum.' The current 
rate is, however, 2 and 2| per cent. Certainly if money is 
so plenty in London, it could be borrowed for four cents, in- 
cluding brokerage and all expenses. The money could be 
deposited in the new state bank subject to the order of the 
treasurer of the State countersigned by the comptroller. 

"The contracts on the railroad when executed and ap- 
proved by the chief engineer, would be certified by him and 
the commissioner or commissioners, presented to the comp- 
troller and treasurer, who would take receipts and issue 
drafts on the State bank for the amount. The engineers 
and commissioners to be debarred by severe penalties from 
any interest directly or indirectly in any contracts to be exe- 
cuted on the railroad. The legislature could, by joint ballot, 
appoint one or three commissioners to superintend the con- 
struction of said great central railroad ; with such compen- 
sation as would command men of unquestioned talent for 

dent of Beaufort. At any rate the first and second so well represent Mr. More- 
head that it is possible it was his custom to spend a part of his summers there; 
they serve well for illustration of the best thought of this early period. Dr. J. 
Allison Hodges, born on the Lower Cape Fear river, tells the writer that it was 
the custom of such families to be at the shore together one month of summer 
and at the mountains another month, so that it is entirely possible that Mr. 
Morehead had "lived" there, in that sense, for many years. 


such an important work. Then let the great work be im- 
mediately commenced, and prosecuted with all possible 
energy to its final completion. While it was going on, the 
citizens of Wilmington and Newbern, with the aid of two- 
fifths subscribed by the state, could push forward their 
branches to connect with the central road, probably at Tren- 
ton. Wilmington, which is the second best sea-port in 
North Carolina, would thus by a branch of 60 miles be con- 
nected with the main road and Newbern by a branch of 20 
miles in length. Then would the farmers of our state who 
are the main pillars of society have a choice of the markets 
of Beaufort, Wilmington and Newbern. 

"Beaufort is as healthy as any sea-port in the United 
States. In this respect it is far superior to Petersburg and 
Norfolk to the north or any sea-port to the south of this." 
And he devotes a remarkable paragraph to this feature, after 
which he details the profit of the road, the advantages in 
fresh foods from a distance, like sea-foods, similar branches 
like those to Wilmington and Newbern, the completion of 
road and branches as they proceeded westward, the develop- 
ment of one great port, steamship lines abroad and 
consequent commercial development. The two letters are 
strikingly predictive of what the Greensboro statesman was 
to actually undertake and persuade the state to undertake 

These July operations were followed on August 13th 
[1834] by a discussion at a public meeting in Greensboro 
held under the auspices of the Raleigh Internal Improvement 
Committee of the previous November, of which Mr. More- 
head had been appointed a member, but it was ineffective. 
After election, however, a Greensboro meeting was held on 
the 15th of August in the Presbyterian Church to listen to 
the successful candidates at the late election talk. And 
although John Motley Morehead was neither a successful 
nor a defeated one, he was called upon ; and it became prac- 
tically the signal for his re-entry into public life. "He said 
he appeared before them in a character different from that 
in which his predecessors had presented themselves. He 
was neither a candidate elected^ nor a candidate beaten, 


but as the town was already sufficiently represented, he had 
stepped forward as a candidate for the country. He was 
very sorry that questions of importance were always pre- 
sented to the consideration of the people, when they were 
disqualified, by excitement, for deciding correctly. It was 
not the proper way for candidates to vindicate their con- 
flicting sentiments among the people just before the election ; 
because each one would have his personal favorites, who 
would go for them, principle or no principle. Hence the 
result of an election was no test of any principle. 

"He maintained that it was not for candidates to say 
what they were in favor of ; but it was the proper business 
of the people to elect men who were intelligent, firm and 
untrammelled ; to consult together and determine, among 
themselves, what they wanted done, and then command their 
servants to perform it! He never had any confidence in 
anything that a candidate might say, either about principle or 
policy — as his object was to say anything that might advance 
his hopes of success. 

"He therefore, as one of the people, feeling no interest 
in the matter but what ought to be felt by every citizen in the 
State, called upon them to assemble at the Court House in 
this place, on the Tuesday of November Court, to take into 
consideration the subject of Internal Improvement; and 
either determine upon some plan proper to be pursued, or 
else put the matter forever at rest. He said every man who 
ever had a dollar, or whoever expected to have a dollar, or 
whoever expected his children to have a dollar, ought to at- 
tend this meeting, that all information on the subject might 
be thrown together in one common stock, for the benefit of 
all ; and that an aggregate of public sentiment might be made 
out as a guide to our Representatives. 

"Mr. Morehead was cheered by the people in a spirit 
which clearly indicated their hearty approbation of the 
course he had proposed, and we hope that every man, rich 
and poor, learned and unlearned, will make up his mind to 
attend on that day, in order that the question may be 
fairly settled, so far as this county is concerned. We know 
the question is one of vital importance. If it be for the 


interest of the State to improve it by Railroads, it ought to 
be known, and the work commenced ; if otherwise, the 
project ought to be promptly met and put down.'" 

This meeting was held on November 15th, and it was so 
well attended and considered of such importance that the 
Court adjourned for it. The occasion was one of the most 
important in the history of the state, for it virtually became 
the announcement of a new leader with a definite program, 
from which he was never to deviate and in which he was 
destined to lead his state to its adoption. With a long and 
powerful address he introduced a set of resolutions de- 
signed to definitely instruct the representatives of Guilford 
county just what to do, as he had proposed doing in the 
previous meeting. They are so important that they are 
here given in full: 

"Resolved, that the spirit of Internal Improvement, 
which pervades every State in the Union, should not be 
permitted longer to slumber in this State ; and that it is the 
duty which our State owes to herself and to her citizens, 
forthwith to arouse that spirit, and to put it into energetic 
and successful action. 

"Resolved, that the State contains within herself the 
elements of a great and powerful State, in the mildness of 
her climate, the fertility of her soil, the variety of her pro- 
ductions, the exhaustless stores of her innumerable mines 
and minerals, and in the intelligence, industry and patriot- 
ism of her citizens ; and that nothing is wanting to bring 
these elements into immediate action, but a system of wise 
and liberal legislation, by which the energies of her most 
enterprising sons shall cease to aggrandize other States, 
by emigration. 

"Resolved, that this State has one of the best harbors 
in Beaufort harbor, south of the Chesapeake; and that a 
Railroad, from that place to the city of Raleigh, should be 
forthzvith commenced by the State herself; that she has 
the means to execute this zvork speedily; that, by the exe- 

1 Quoted from the Greensboro Patriot by the Raleigh Register of 2nd 
Sept., 1834. 


cution of the work, all her citizens — even the most ignorant 
and narrozv minded — must become convinced of the practi- 
cability and utility of such improvements^ 

''Resolved, that by the construction of this Road, access 
will be opened from the interior to our best harbor ; facilities 
and powerful inducements will be offered to individuals, 
to invest their capital in the construction of lateral roads to 
Newbern, Wilmington, and other places, and the extension 
of that road westwardly, through the center of the State. 

"Resolved, that a steamboat navigation, if practicable, 
should be opened through the Club-foot and Harlow's Creek 
Canal between the waters of Beaufort harbor and the waters 
of Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. 

"Resolved, that it is the duty of every State, in all works 
of general utility, to execute them at public expense, or at 
least, to contribute largely to their execution. 

"Resolved, that it is expedient that a general law be 
passed whereby the State shall pledge herself to take two- 
fifths of the stock in any company that shall or may be 
hereafter incorporated for the purpose of internal improve- 
ment, whenever individuals shall subscribe and secure the 
payment of the other three-fifths. 

"Resolved, that we view the conduct of the Legislature 
of our State, upon the subject of Internal Improvement — by 
merely passing acts of incorporation, in which the collected 
wisdom of the State refuses to invest one dollar of the public 
wealth — as a mere mockery of our wants; and as wholly 
impolitic, unjust and unworthy the State, and contrary to a 
wise system of legislation. 

"Resolved, that inasmuch as all the funds and revenues 
of our State are subject to the disposition of our Legislature, 
we deprecate, exceedingly, that Manger policy by which 
they are hoarded up, and rendered useless, while the best 
interests of the State are starving for want of their judicious 

"Resolved, That we cannot enough deprecate that system 
of demagogical legislation, which proclaims unlimited con- 

> Italics by the present writer. 


fidence in, and friendship for Internal Improvement,, mani- 
fested by acts of incorporation, whereby individuals may do 
what the State should do — and whereby a miserly care of 
the people's money is attended with the usual concomitants 
of all miserly acts — degradation, poverty and suffering! 

"Resolved, That in the opinion of this meeting, if each 
American citizen had been permitted to fight just as much 
as he chose for his freedom ; and each State had not, in her 
sovereign political character, declared her citizens a free 
people, we should have continued to be, until now, the sub- 
jects of Great Britain: — and it is further the opinion of this 
meeting, that our citizens must remain the subjects and 
slaves of thraldom and poverty, unless our State, herself, 
shall again declare them free, by adopting a system of In- 
ternal Improvement that shall bring into action all her 

"Resolved, That a copy of the Proceedings of this meet- 
ing, and of these Resolutions, be transmitted to our Rep- 
resentatives in the present Legislature, with a request to lay 
them before each House thereof. 

"Resolved, That our Representatives be instructed to 
vote, on all subjects of Internal Improvement, according 
to the true spirit of the foregoing Resolutions; and that we 
shall hold them responsible, without specific instructions, 
for the judicious exercise of their votes on all questions 
relative thereto. 

"Resolved, That the foregoing proceedings be published 
in the Greensboro Patriot, and that all Editors in the State, 
friendly to Internal Improvement, be requested to publish 
them also.'" 

This was the signal of preparation for action on the 
backbone question of transportation that should follow the 
almost certain reference to the people by the next Assembly, 
of the question of a constitutional convention. For the 
Carolina Watchman, early in July, had said: 'Tf the Gen- 
eral Assembly does not submit the inequalities of our 
Constitution to the people in some formal mode — we of the 

1 Reprint in Raleigh Register, 9th Dec, 1834. 


West are determined to go to work without the behest of 
that body. We admit that the experiment is dangerous — if 
the people were less virtuous, it would be imminently so — 
but we think the spirit of our fathers which bore them 
through the trials of the Revolution, is still sufficiently with 
us to secure us against the perils of faction. Mark it, my 
dear Sir, cost what it will, the experiment will be made 
immediately after the rise of the next Assembly, if some 
measure of Reform does not pass. We are determined to 
try it before another hot Presidential contest shall come on 
to absorb State politics. We say this in the very best 
feeling, not as a threat, but as a warning. We would be glad 
to avoid the alternative, and it is but right that we should 
try to do so — for this purpose, we ask our brethren of the 
Press in the East to repeat this caution — for this purpose 
an attempt at liberal concession will be made by Western 
members at the next Assembly — and then, if the alternative 
is forced upon us, we will go ahead !'" 

As to the position of the North Carolina Watchman 
amongst the press of the commonwealth, let an interesting, 
though partizan statement of a powerful journal of that day 
in the western part of the state. The Greensboro Patriot, be 
given, for Editor Swaim was almost as important a figure in 
the state press as Editor Gales at Raleigh. "The Milton 
Spectator is already out of the question ;" the statement pro- 
ceeds, "the Fayetteville Journal is fluttering like a wounded 
pigeon — the Rutherfordton Spectator has worked itself into 
an interminable fog — the Wilmington People's Press is sort 
of Boo! and sort of not Boo! The Nezvbern Sentinel 
CLUCKS now but to hang its wings in despair on the morn- 
ing of our political resurrection ! and the North Carolina 
Standard [Raleigh] 'conceived in iniquity and brought 
forth in sin' will die a natural death with the extinction of 
Col. White's pursership in the navy. Thus, 'we have met 
the enemy and they are ours.' On one side stands the 
Raleigh Register, venerable for its age and consistency; the 
Star, once in bad company, but now on the side of the 

1 Reprint in Raleigh Register, July 29, 1834. 


people and the constitution; the Oxford Examiner, not to be 
sneered at by modern Toryism; the Fayetteville Observer, 
an untrammelled asserter of truth and correct principles ; 
the Western North Carolinian, once tainted with the heresy 
of nullification, though now threatening death and desolation 
to the usurpers of imperial power; the Carolina Watchman, 
like a faithful sentinel, sounding the alarm at any approach 
of danger; and last, though not least, the Newhern Spec- 
tator, scoring the trammels of party discipline and soaring 
high above the temptations which have led the Standard 
into ways of error and falsehood, stands like an everlasting 
pillar of truth in the midst of a wicked and perverse genera- 
tion. When to these can be added the Southern Citizen 
[Editor Swaim's proposed new periodical], with its twenty- 
four ponderous columns, and two thousand subscribers, 
the cause of the people must triumph. Jacksonism will go 
down into its socket and disappear ; and Van Burenism will 
pass away as a dream in the night.'" 

The significance of the political upheaval plainly to be 
seen in this picturesque view of the Carolina press is well 
expressed by a Beaufort correspondent of the Newbern 
Spectator, so highly praised by Editor Swaim : "We are 
generally Whigs — or Rebels, if you insist on it, in this county 
[Carteret]. We cannot and will not support a collar man 
for Congress. We are in favor of Clay's Land Bill — we are 
in favor of a National Bank, to regulate the currency — we 
are in favor of the cause pursued by a majority of the 
Senate of the United States — we are opposed to the Kitchen 
Cabinet — we are opposed to the election of Martin Van 
Buren to the Presidency — we are opposed to the corruptions 
of the Post Office Department — we want to see this Augean 
stable cleansed — we are opposed to the usurpation of the 
Executive, and his violation of the Constitution and laws of 
Congress — we are opposed to the union of the purse and 
the sword in the same hand — we are opposed to the practice 
of President Jackson of appointing members of Congress 

1 Greensboro Patriot, 24th Dec, 1834. 


to office. This practice, if not rigorously opposed, will soon 
destroy what small remains of liberty we possess.'" 

This great wave of national political tide was serv- 
ing to help float both the movement for a constitutional 
convention and for railway transportation. And yet it 
would be no easy matter, for the alluvial soil of the east 
was heavy upon the bottom of the ship of state, and localism 
was a barnacle not easily removed. Nor did John Motley 
Morehead of Guilford underestimate these difficulties or ex- 
pect a commonwealth to be remade in a day. However, he 
expected it to be rebuilt; and indeed considered the process 
was well under way. 

^ Reprinted in the Raleigh Register, Aug. S, 1834. 

Probably it ought to be added that Judge Gaston's elevation to the Chief 
Justiceship, as noted in this chapter, was not altogether political, but for the 
good of that high bench, as Judge Conner has shown in his address on Gaston. 


Revision of the Constitution 


Transfer of Political Power 


The West 


Probably the earliest reference in the North Carolina 
press to a new political uprising in the nation was that on 
June 10, 1834, in the Raleigh Register giving an account of 
a celebration at Alexandria, Virginia, on the 27th of May of 
a victory over the administration party by a combined oppo- 
sition which everywhere had taken the name of "Whig." 
The Alexandrians cheered the "Whigs of '34" as follow- 
ing in the footsteps of the "Whigs of 76 !" And the name 
was commonly used all through the campagn of 1834 in 
North Carolina which was to have so much influence on local 
questions in the coming Assembly of 1834-35. The Whig 
cry was no louder, however, than the Wilmington cry, 
through their Committee of Correspondence on June 17, 
1834, against the Raleigh Convention program of November, 
1833, which favored, as has been seen, the North Carolina 
Central Railroad from Beaufort to Tennessee and a 
Roanoke-South Carolina line, above the granite falls of 
rivers, which offered as great an obstacle to rail grade as to 
navigation. This Wilmington Committee defended their 
port with some important statistics, and it had among 
its members men like General Edward B. Dudley. Their 
cry was against a Virginia-South Carolina railroad above 
the falls as permitting those two states to "bleed" North 
Carolina; "but," said they, "if there is any general plan to 
be adopted by the Legislature, and to be preferred above 



others, we would advocate the construction of a Railroad 
from the port of Beaufort through Newbern to the city of 
Raleigh, thence to Fayetteville and Hillsboro, or in any 
other direction that may be more favorable, so as to reach 
the remote "west." They further add that "after the com- 
pletion of this zvork," they would support any cross-state 
proposition if it were generally desired. This was a great 
victory for the North Carolina Central people and was made 
possible in some measure, no doubt, by the disaffection of 
Johnston county in favor of the above-falls-Fayetteville 
line instead of the Wilmington-Raleigh line. By July 15th, 
the Raleigh committee directed Gavin Hogg to answer the 
Wilmington address and on August 12th, the Wilmington 
committee retorted with vigor. This controversy became 
essentially a Raleigh-Wilmington one, because the Raleigh 
leaders of the November Convention were accepting the 
verdict against Wilmington as a possible great port, and had 
cast their lot in with Beaufort and were still trying to hold 
the Roanoke and Yadkin regions. So that so far as Wil- 
mington was concerned this question was quite as vital as 
the new Whig politics or the new constitutional conven- 

The election of the new Assembly in August reflected the 
political revolution in some measure. The Whigs were 
able to elect the Speaker of the House, a western man, but 
the Jacksonians elected the Speaker of the Senate. On 
November 18th [1834], Governor Swain, in his message, 
which was longer than usual, devoted first and chief space 
to the constitutional convention, as he said circumstances 
were different from those of last year. In a most able, con- 
vincing historical as well as logical and compromising 
treatment, he showed how this system of inequality in rep- 
resentation inherited from our British Colonial status had 
been either abolished or drastically modified by every state 
except Maryland and North Carolina and that it did not 
appeal to the national convention of 1787. He dwelt on 
the desirability of limiting action, but that a wise com- 
promise would win them "the lasting gratitude of posterity." 
Not to do so would leave the baneful spirit among them 


that had defeated all progress in wise and liberal legislation 
since the beginning. While giving this subject first place 
he reiterated his beliefs regarding transportation and the 
port of Beaufort. He also announced the opening of the 
Bank of North Carolina. Probably the best known men 
in the House were Graham of Hillsboro, General Dudley of 
Wilmington, Wm. H. Haywood, Jr., of Raleigh, M. E. 
Manly of Newbern and James Seawell of Fayetteville. 

On the 19th of November [1834], the first motion to 
refer any subject of the gubernatorial message was that on 
convention to a select committee, which was announced 
on the 21st as Messrs. Craige of Rowan, Barringer of 
Cabarrus, Haywood of Wake, Outlaw of Bertie, and Clark 
of Beaufort City, but on the following day Graham was ap- 
pointed in place of Haywood, resigned, making three 
western men to two eastern, showing that Mr. Haywood 
declined to play the role of Justice as a representative of the 
capital county. The result was as it should be : the west 
was to have her Convention, but it would be on as con- 
servative lines as a compromise could make it. On Novem- 
ber 24th Mr. Outlaw asked to be relieved and Mr. Potts 
of Edgecombe county was substituted, not affecting terri- 
torial representation. Chairman Craige's committee made 
a Convention report on December 4th, which passed first 
reading and was made the order of the day for a week 
later. On the 9th Mr. Manney of Carteret (Beaufort) 
thought this a good time to introduce a bill for a railroad 
from Beaufort to the Tennessee line to take the place of the 
North Carolina Central bill which had not been efifective 
thus far. It was referred to the Internal Improvement 
Committee, and was a bill ''to construct the Central Rail- 
road," and was evidently along the lines laid down by 
President Caldwell at Hillsboro. The political fight over 
instructions to U. S. Senator Willie P. Mangum prevented 
the ordered discussion of the Convention report, but on the 
ISth both the Convention and the Central Railroad bills 
were set for discussion the following week. It was the 
23rd before a discussion in committee of the whole was 
secured without definite result, and likewise on Christmas 


Eve; but on the 26th, it was decided by a vote of 74 to 52 
that it should be re-committed to a select committee of one 
from each Congressional District — which would be on a 
Federal ratio basis. This had been proposed by Mr. 
Kittrell of Anson and he was made chairman, with Bar- 
ringer of Cabarrus, Weaver of Buncombe, Waugh of Surry, 
Cotten of Chatham, Poindexter of Stokes, Haywood of 
Wake, Dudley of Wilmington, Pugh of Bertie, Bragg 
of Warren, Norcom of Edenton, Whitfield of Lenoir, and 
Smallwood of Beaufort county. This gave six western 
men and six eastern, with Mr. Haywood of Wake, the 
capital county, again to be asked to play the role of Justice, 
and on the 27th they reported a substitute bill, which was 
accepted by a vote of 68 to 61, favored by the west, with a 
certain number of harmonizing eastern men. Immedi- 
ately following this vote the east tried to remove the pro- 
vision of election of Governor by free white voters, but 
it was held in 94 to 35, whereupon they tried to remove 
borough representation, but lost it by the practically original 
v'Ote of 68 to 60. Thereupon a Brunswick representative 
tried to open the capital question by giving it into the Con- 
vention's hands, but he was promptly overwhelmed by a 
vote of 108 to 19. It was finally passed second reading and 
ordered printed by a more conservative vote of 66 to 64. 
On the 30th, General Dudley ofifered an amendment to the 
charter of the Wilmington and Raleigh Railroad which was 
significant. On the 31st, by a vote of 66 to 62, the Conven- 
tion bill passed third reading and was sent to the Senate. 
This was a dangerously small margin. 

The Senate had had a bill under consideration but laid 
it on the table to receive the House bill on January 1st 
[1835] and on the 2nd began its consideration and promptly 
made a few slight changes and one important one, namely, 
by reducing the House membership limits to between 90 and 
120 and leaving the borough representation to the Conven- 
tion. It was then passed by the narrow margin of 31 to 30. 
On January 3rd, third reading was had and after many 
efforts to amend it in various ways it was passed by the 
same vote, 31 to 30, practically as it was, and returned to 


the Commons. The House took up the amended bill on the 
5th and after a determined fight by some, which was 
resisted by a large majority, the Senate amendment was ac- 
cepted by the equally big majority of 86 to 36, and the 
Senate so informed. The House later wanted to add a sup- 
plement providing that judicial salaries be not diminished 
during continuance in office, and sought a conference com- 
mittee to which the Senate agreed, and by the 9th the bill 
was finally passed and provision made for printed copies of 
the bill for circulation ; thereupon the Assembly closed its 
long session on January 10, 1835. 

It will be v/ell to take note of the leading features of 
this act, for it determines the essential features of the new 
constitution in advance; and what is determined satisfies 
neither the east nor the west. Thus it was a compromise 
that it soon became evident both east and west would ac- 
cept as the solution of the half-century old controversy. 
After providing for the modes of securing the convention 
on a House of Commons basis, it provided that the people 
should vote for or against a Convention to be bound by the 
following propositions: 1. A Senate of but 34 to 50 mem- 
bers, elected by taxation districts ; 2. A House of but 90 to 
120 members, "exclusive of borough members," which the 
Convention may exclude as it will, the basis being the 
Federal population, except that each county must have at 
least one representative; 4. Use discretion as to free negroes 
voting, the holding of both State and national offices, 
equality of capitation tax, and nine other provisions, one of 
which was election of Governor by the people, and a mode of 
ratification. The supplement provided for Judiciary revision. 
The vote was to take place on April 1st and 2nd [1835] 
next; and if favorable the Governor should provide for 
election of delegates. Twenty days later, as if feeling 
that his work was done and that with the coming of the new 
constitution all things else would be added unto them, in- 
cluding "Carleton's" Sea to Tennessee railroad. President 
Joseph Caldwell passed away and men said : "A great man 
has fallen!" Contemporary with this event, also, the Ala- 
bama "Whigs" nominated Judge Hugh L. White of 


Tennessee for President against the Tennessee President's 
candidate, and the "Whig" movement was abreast of both 
constitutional and transportation reform. 

While these events were in progress, Mr. Morehead was 
leading public action against the Jacksonian Baltimore Con- 
vention, being the chief speaker in a Guilford county 
meeting on May 19th [1835], at Greensboro, which was 
thereby led to denounce it by a vote of 93 to 3. During the 
meeting he twitted Mr. Shepperd on "Confessing the sin" of 
supporting the "powers that be," meaning Jackson and Van 
Buren, "as he [Morehead] was himself a sinner of the 
same description about that time ; but that since then he had 
become heartily penitent." He had already spoken in other 
counties with similar results. On May 13th, the editor of the 
Greensborougli Patriot had said : "We are anxious that 
John M. Morehead should be in the Convention by all 
means. His interest is identified with the west; and his 
ability to defend any proposition he may bring forward to 
sustain that interest renders it peculiarly important that he 
should have a seat in that body. ... In this case we 
need our strongest men — our heaviest metal!" 

He was again in public life, and the people knew what 
he would do in convention. 

The meeting at the Guilford County Court, on the con- 
stitutional convention, had appointed a committee of ten, of 
whom Mr. Morehead was one, to address the public. This 
address was issued on February 25, 1835, and among other 
things, it emphasized the fact that five western counties 
named, with greater white population than nineteen named 
eastern counties, had but fifteen representatives, while the 
latter had fifty-seven ; that five western counties having more 
black than white population than sixteen eastern counties, 
had only fifteen representatives, while the latter had forty- 
eight ; that Guilford had a greater white population than five 
eastern counties, yet she sends but three, while the latter 
have fifteen! Orange county, but slightly less in white and 
black population than five eastern counties has but three, 
while the five eastern counties have fifteen ! Tzvelve eastern 
counties paid only two-thirds of what five western counties 


paid the State treasurer. They showed that western coun- 
ties were actually paying the salaries of eastern county 
members! The new convention would make a constitution 
based on taxation and federal population ; and while the 
proposed limitation of the powers of the convention were 
not all that was to be desired, yet the proposals were fair to 
all, and some things like election of executive by the people 
was in line with more direct popular control. "The oppor- 
tunity is now offered us [on April 1st and 2nd] to put 
ourselves on an equality with them [the eastern counties] ; 
and to give the west a decided preponderance, which it ought 
to have in the legislature." 

The April election occurred and with the result not so 
unlike the unofficial ballot of near 30,000, namely 27,550 for 
and 21,694 against, making a majority of 5856, with every 
county voting, and having votes both for and against, 
even to a solitary one in Rutherford or two in Rowan against 
to so few as four for in both Tyrrell and Greene or five and 
six in Hyde and Martin respectively. And the remarkable 
feature of it was that this majority vote of 27,550 was given 
by 26 counties, while it took 39 counties to furnish the 
minority vote, or 13 more than the majority! The location 
of them is shown on the accompanying map. The greatest 
number against in any one county was that of Johnston, 
Edgecombe coming next and Beaufort and Wayne counties 
following ; while the greatest for was Lincoln, Orange com- 
ing next and Rutherford and Surry following. Wake, the 
capital county, went over 2 to 1 against. Probably Halifax 
gave the greatest number for of any eastern county, unless 
Granville be called eastern ; and probably Caswell gave the 
largest against, among western counties, unless Cumberland 
be called western. Guilford was 1271 for to 143 against. 
The Governor appointed May 21st for the election of 
delegates who were to meet in the capital on June 4th. 
Guilford County sent John Motley Morehead and Jonathan 

Government House, the temporary capitol at the foot 
of Fayetteville street, Raleigh, was the objective of every 
thoughtful man in North Carolina as the new delegates 


gathered there on the afternoon of June 4, 1835. Editor 
Gales, of the Raleigh Register, said that "the people, laying 
aside political feeling, have in almost every county, selected 
their most experienced, most talented and strongest men — 
men who would confer dignity and honor on any station." 
"It may be said," he asserted in the issue of June 9th, 
"without the fear of contradiction, that the Convention, as 
a body, will not suffer by comparison with any similar 
assemblage in the Union, which has preceded it." Here 
came the venerable Nathaniel Macon of Warren, now com- 
ing probably to his last great public service, as he had come 
to his first, when the place was merely "Wake Court House," 
in 178L Craven sent Judge William Gaston and Greene 
sent Richard Dobbs Spaight. Governor John Branch came 
from Halifax, General Alfred Dockery from Richmond, 
Governor Swain from Buncombe, Calvin Graves from 
Caswell, Charles Fisher of Rowan, General Alexander Gray 
of Randolph, Judge Henry Seawell of Raleigh, D. M. Bar- 
ringer of Cabarrus and others of like character. 

Even before permanent organization was effected, Judge 
Gaston, as often before, became the voice of a great 
majority, 86 to 22, to enter upon the work in the spirit 
of the Assembly's limitations of it, now, by endorsement, 
the people's limitations, also. Thereupon the patriarchal 
Macon was unanimously chosen President of the Conven- 
tion. Mr. Morehead's first effort was on June 5th, desiring 
to economize in printing, and Mr. Fisher supported him and 
he won his point of election of a Convention printer and 
Gales and Son, of the Raleigh Register, were chosen. He 
then offered resolutions assigning different subjects of the 
Act to select committees, but differing ideas upon the 
matter led to adjournment and to use of the Presbyterian 
Church for a future meeting place. The idea of Weldon 
Edwards of a Procedure com.mittee as first in order was 
offered as similar to Virginia and New York plans, while 
some preferred a Committee-of-the-whole plan used in the 
national constitutional convention ; but, by a vote of 64 the 
Edwards plan failed and Morehead again called up his plan ; 
and Judge Gaston again became a decisive factor and actually 


secured the adoption of the Edwards resolution, and More- 
head as well as Gaston, Edwards, Fisher and others active 
in the matter were appointed on the Congressional District 
committee of thirteen. This occurred during the first ses- 
sion in the Presbyterian Church, a brick structure on the 
site of the present one at the southwest corner of Capitol 
Square, of which Rev. Dr. McPheeters was pastor. 

Before Judge Gaston made the report of the Procedure 
committee, some discussion was had on whether visitors 
should be allowed elsewhere than in the galleries, then the 
report proceeded to provide for committees much as Mr. 
Morehead had proposed: 1. On representation in Assem- 
bly ; 2. On processes of amendment, ratification and 
ordinances ; 3. On borough representation ; 4. On vote of 
free negroes; 5. On holding both state and national offices ; 
6. On capitation tax of white and slave ; 7. On militia and 
local justices' selection and removal; 8. Assembly mode of 
election of officers ; 9. On the 32nd article ; 10. Assembly 
vacancies ; 11. On frequency of Assembly meetings and elec- 
tion of Secretary of State; 12. On gubernatorial election; 
13. On Attorney General's election; 14. On judicial im- 
peachment; 15. On local Justices' disqualification; 16. On 
judicial disabilities ; 17. On judicial salaries ; 18. On private 
legislation; and 19. On confining Judges elected to judicial 
offices only, while still on the bench. At this point occurred 
that invariably interesting pair of proposals : attacking all 
subjects alike vs. first selecting the simple great subjects 
in committee of the whole. This latter was proposed by 
Governor Branch, and others brought up almost all the 
various methods so familiar to students of the convention 
of 1787. On taking up the first resolution, however, an 
eastern member tried to change the Congressional District 
basis to a judicial district one, and on Morehead's attacking 
it, it was lost 75 to 51, but the committees were doubled 
to 26, instead of 13, and Morehead was placed on the Assem- 
bly representation committee, and his motion to meet at 
10 A. M. every day closed the session of Monday, June 8th, 
at the corner of Salisbury and West Morgan Streets. 

An effort on the 9th to get statistics on the election 


brought out some interesting facts : Among others, 
Governor Swain said the April vote, "thin" as it was said 
to be, was the greatest in her history, with one exception — 
the Presidential vote of 1828, when it was 51,776, while 
that of April was 49,244. But on Wednesday, the 10th, 
the Committee of the Whole took up borough representa- 
tion, for which Judge Gaston made the most notable 
plea, and as usual Governor Swain brought out some 
interesting history, namely, that it was the course of the 
borough members which brought this Convention into 
existence in the Assembly. He thought the country would 
not be just to the towns; and said he had hoped district 
representation would take the place of county represen- 
tation, and so break up, by district lines, an imaginary 
line between the east and west. These two probably 
strongest, most liberal leaders of the Convention, one of 
the east and one of the west, both for borough representa- 
tion, was a rather remarkable fact, except that one was 
from the largest town in the state, and in the east, and the 
other from the extreme west, at that time. And when 
Fisher of Salisbury confessed his practical decision to vote 
for abolition of borough representation had been suspended 
by what he had heard, one may know the discussion was a 
powerful one ; and his own description of borough election 
fights was, unconsciously no doubt, one of the strongest 
points against them, for he said it was not true of county 
election. His conclusion seemed to favor some eastern 
boroughs, but he was against western borough representa- 
tion, and he was from Salisbury. Meares of Sampson 
county made good points for representation of marine bor- 
oughs — in fact it was Newbern, Wilmington and Fayette- 
ville, marine towns, which desired separate representation 
most. Of course they would be represented in the Senate, 
but that was not enough. "The interests" of that day were 
in the marine boroughs. Some gentlemen even advocated it 
on the old English basis. And then the Roanoke and Albe- 
marle spoke up through Governor Branch and others, and 
they were against the borough. One of them indeed said: 
"Halifax, Sir, is gone — Edenton is going — and Newbern is 


not far behind" — so their power to vote did not protect them 
as boroughs! Mr. Toomer made a powerful plea for the 
boroughs, noting that South Carolina, Virginia, New York 
and Massachusetts, in their revised constitution, retained 
borough representation. At the end of two days, a vote 
on excepting the three marine boroughs was negatived, and 
abolition was also negatived, and it was sent, 103 to 23, 
to the committee of 26 as it w^as. 

On June 12th, negro voting was taken up in Committee 
of the Whole — meaning of course free negroes. Mr. Daniel 
of Halifax precipitated the question by a resolution to have 
them vote, if with a freehold of $250. The greatest attack 
upon it was by Mr. Bryan, of Carteret, who insisted that 
freeing slaves did not confer political rights. "North 
Carolina," said he, "is the only Southern State in the Union 
that has pcnnitted them to enjoy this privilege." He in- 
sisted that "this is a nation of white people," and, whether 
one agreed with him or not, his was a powerful plea. In it 
he anticipated almost all the difficulties that have grown out 
of this great question. He didn't want North Carolina to 
become "an asylum for free negroes." It was finally decided 
by a close vote of 61 to 58 to withdraw the vote from free 
negroes ; and on the following day it was taken up in open 
Convention. Here again discussion was able and vigorous. 
Mr. ^McQueen of Chatham, drew attention to the fact 
Connecticut gave them no vote, likewise Ohio. Judge Gas- 
ton favored not removing the vote, and Mr. Morehead 
favored voting for Commons alone, with a $100 freehold. 
Thereupon a vote was taken, 66 to 61, in favor of abrogation 
of the vote, Mr. Morehead being one of the 61 ; and with him 
such men as Fisher, Gaston, Branch, Swain, Seawell, and 
others of like character. It was plain that the British and 
probable French freeing of slaves in the West Indies and 
the occasional insurrections had some influence in the settle- 
ment of this question, as well as some northern movements 
of this period — and yet it was done by a narrow margin of 
but 5 votes, and the division was not territorial ; it seemed 
to be wholly an individual sentiment or conviction. 

No time was spent on No. 5, as all were agreed two 


offices should not be held by one person at one time in state 
and nation ; and No. 6 on equal capitation tax was held in 
similar attitude, but it succeeded in bringing out that occa- 
sional expression of suspicion that suggested an atmosphere 
of armed peace between east and west; and thus June 15th 
was ushered in with the question of members in each house, 
in Committee of the Whole. This was the vital point of the 
whole Convention. "It has been said," exclaimed Spaight of 
Greene, "that unless the Convention would agree to fix the 
number of 120 members for the House of Commons, 50 
having been agreed to for the Senate, the West would not 
accept of the Constitution. A fair course," said he, "would 
be to give the West ascendency in the House of Commons, 
and the East ascendency in the Senate." He acknowledged 
the right of the majority to rule, but said "there were checks 
and balances for the security of the minority ; and when this 
should cease to be the case, our Government would be more 
odious than the despotism of Europe. In the North," said 
he, "they have small Senates and large Houses of Repre- 
sentatives. In the South the number of the Senate is much 
larger, and possess all the legislative power of the other 
House." He avowed that emigration was not from North 
Carolina alone, but from all eastern states, and was due to 
cheap land sales in the west. He said there was not only 
an eastern and a western interest, but a Roanoke, a Cape 
Fear and a Neuse interest. Great differences were ex- 
pressed as to property controlling in the Senate, and popula- 
tion of some sort — whether white or federal ratio — in the 
House. Governor Swain answered him that 120 for the 
House and 50 for the Senate was the compromise in view 
in the Act — which, by the way, became the Magna Charta of 
the Convention — between East and West, and he thought 
this Convention had a majority to carry out that compromise 
in good faith. This was what it was for. It continued 
through the next day, too, and came close to being a question 
of Counties vs. Districts. It was bitterly fought on both 
sides. Mr. Bryan, of Beaufort city, as usual clarified the 
subject, by admitting that the East and property was to 
dominate the Senate ; the real difficultv was in the House, 


for any number between 90 and 120, mentioned in the Act, 
would give the East power there ; so it w^as somewhat imma- 
terial what number between was taken. He praised Judge 
Gaston's tabulations, and showed that the plan would give, in 
the House, six to eight majority for the West, in the Senate 
four for the East and, in joint session, four for the West — 
but he wanted three eastern boroughs represented. Presi- 
dent Macon occasionally expressed himself, but as if fearful 
of a new Pandora box. Mr. Fisher of Salisbury, saw fit to 
answer his statement that all changes in government were 
"from better to worse;" after which he reminded the Con- 
vention most ably, that the assertion, that the West w^as 
pressing for pozver, was false ; they were pressing for a 
principle which would operate justly all over the state. He 
noted the fact that the West was homogeneous, while the 
east had three sections always jealous of one another. He 
thought it immaterial, what number between 90 and 120 
was taken, so far as a majority to the west was concerned ; 
it would go there anyhow, and that was what they were here 
for! He believed the east and west division would disap- 
pear with the new constitution. 

The Convention was still engaged in the subject on the 
18th, and for the first time Mr. Morehead indicated his deep 
interest in keeping at it until it was settled. He was wisely 
letting the East have its say, for was he not witnessing a 
fulfillment of his demands and predictions of 1821 ? Was 
not the battle already won, and could not the vanquished 
wisely be permitted to work out the details? The Magna 
Charta Act and its ratification by the people in calling this 
Convention were the real Constitution of 1835 ; it was al- 
ready theirs. Let the East work out the details ; and no 
man was more influential or able in it than Judge Gaston of 
Newbern. He now made his first great address of the Con- 
vention. He showed how the East- West division had arisen 
first over location of the capital, then the Seaboard vs. the 
West. This was perpetuated in a new slogan: "A new 
Western county, a new Eastern one." Now it must cease, 
in a justice to the West, for the People have bound all mem- 
bers with an oath to do so. "Some things we tnust do. 


Some things we may do. There are others we cannot do." 
He was magnificently interpretative, giving that funda- 
mental conception of our political science, which is so rarely 
appreciated ; and yet he showed the deeply rooted English 
ideas of the east on property and limited suffrage. Such 
studies make one realize how the new American political 
science, underlying the Declaration and the Constitution, 
had, and still has to fight its way against the antiquated sys- 
tem of Great Britain. Even so great a man and scholar as 
Judge Gaston took it for granted that the Senate should rep- 
resent property, and the ordinary man had no right to vote 
for it. The English term "Freeholder" was more sacred 
than the Jeffersonian Declaration as to men born free and 
equal. He revealed the East's great fear lest the West on 
coming to its own, should vote Eastern wealth for transpor- 
tation. His analysis of the federal ratio, instead of white 
vote only, was most able. "Slaves are human beings," he re- 
minded the West. As the Senate represented mixed property 
and person, so the House must represent mixed persons and 
property. A slave is both property and a member of so- 
ciety, he said. Every Southern state had one of the 
federal ratio in the national House. How could they want 
it less for the State? The opposition to 50 to 120 was 
merely because it was slightly different from the old 1 to 
2 ; but this was merely because taxation made 50 and popu- 
lation made 120, if each county was to have at least one 
representative. In fact, the excess that 120 is over 65, 
is the population basis, and it is a compromise the West 
has accepted ; the 45 members, only, represent the popu- 
lation proportion, and it must not be reduced, so long 
as the Senate is 50. Those, who would make it 100, would, 
if Person and Robeson counties were Western, make the 
House stand 47 to 53 ; if neutral 47 to 51 ; if Eastern 49 to 
50 ; but with 120 the first would be 55 east to 65 west — the 
second 55 to 61, and the third 59 to 61. To make it so close 
as 100 would make it, was not fair to the West or to the 
oath of this Convention. This matter was settled and no 
half-settlement would answer, nor would it be made. 
"Make it right, so that it may last." Wealth had many 


forms, and the West would yet rival the East in its posses- 
sion. He analyzed the excess-member question ably, but re- 
minded them that the Act settled the matter that they must 
go to counties according to respective numbers ; so that he 
suggested county election for counties not having excess, 
and district for those having excess. Judge Gaston closed 
with a beautiful comment on North Carolina, but he made 
one statement that showed him not to be the man of vision 
that Morehead was: "The laws of Nature forbade North 
Carolina from attaining great commercial eminence, or 
rivalling in wealth some of the other States of the Confed- 
eracy." The method he proposed was adopted and reported 
to the Convention — the product of two weeks' work, for the 
Convention confirmed it. Thus far it was plain that no man 
was so nearly the father of the constitution of 1835, as 
Judge Gaston, so far as its construction was concerned ; 
but so far as the voices that represented the demand of the 
West was concerned, the fathers of it were Fisher and More- 
head in 1821. Nothing had been added in the past fifteen 
years to what they had uttered ; and this Convention was 
constructing what was then asked for, in the main. 

The three weeks longer, that it was destined to sit, would 
have no such important question to settle, as the one just de- 
cided ; and yet what occurred was to be a great and plainly 
recognized change in the spirit of the Convention. The 
chief bone of contention had been removed, and the state 
stood upon a new basis. The West had come to her own, 
but left the East, or minority, an organ of self-protection 
in the Senate, just as had been done in the national constitu- 
tional convention. North Carolina had again endorsed the 
great American doctrine of minority self -protection. The 
final vote on the 120, on the 19th, showed that the Conven- 
tion stood 75 to 52 for it — a very vigorous majority; and 
this was no doubt due chiefly to Gaston, the "Peace-Maker," 
the role he, himself, avowed he wished to play. To rein- 
force this settlement, a vote of 120 to 4 for holding to 50 
for the Senate was had, and all doubt removed as to the 
vitality of the settlement. 

The biennial meeting of the Legislature was easily 


settled on the 20th to the accompaniment of an interesting 
Jeremiad by President Macon, to whose venerable mind the 
course of the Convention, and especially of Judge Gaston 
were anathema. It was therefore most interesting to see 
the new order recognized promptly, on Monday the 22nd, 
by making Mr. Morehead chairman of Committee of the 
Whole. The biennial matter was again fought when it 
was attached to the original resolution on representation, 
but again confirmed by a vote of 85 to 35. Then came that 
sensitive subject, borough representation, on the 24th, and 
it was fought over for two days, but the "Peace-Maker," 
although followed, in wanting representation, by such men 
as Fisher and Morehead, lost his battle 73 to 50 — practically 
the same majority that settled representation in general' 

Representation was now fully settled, it would seem ; 
but it was plain that the Convention was in a mood to leave 
no dark corner of it uncleansed ; and action to that effect was 
precipitated on Friday, the 26th, in taking up Article 32, 
namely, the subject of religious disabilities in office-holding 
as most thought, of Roman Catholics and other non- 
Protestants. Mr. Fisher, of Rowan, was called to the 
chairmanship of Committee of the Whole. This Article, 
for sixty years, had been essentially obsolete, for Catholics 
held both legislative and judicial offices; indeed the "Peace- 
Maker" of this very Convention was a Roman Catholic, and 
as some would say, "the noblest Roman of them all ;" but, 
essentially obsolete as it was, profound sentiment surrounded 
it in many quarters. It was a theme for flights of oratory, 
and men like Weldon Edwards of Warren, Bryan of Beau- 
fort city, President Macon, Shober (the Moravian) and 
Rayner took advantage of it, eloquently. This was the one 
theme on which President Macon could see the constitution 
changed and not be from "better to worse." To one man 
on this floor in the Presbyterian Church at the south- 
west corner of capitol square, it was a personal question, 

"^ A very interesting suggestion is made by A. B. Andrews, Esq., of 
Raleigh, that it was the Roanoke valley — meaning the lower Roanoke — which 
punished the marine boroughs by taking away representation, for aiding the 
West to get a new constitution. The favor of such men as Fisher and Morehead 
to the boroughs gives ground for its plausibilitj-. 


probably more than to any other — a man now on the highest 
bench in the state, the man, who, at this moment, was doing 
more than any other one man to construct this new consti- 
tution, namely, its avowed "Peace-Maker," Judge William 
Gaston of Newbern. At the beginning of the fourth day in 
Committee of the Whole he began an address that must 
ever be considered a classic in constitutional annals. He 
showed that the article was inconsistent with the Bill of 
Rights and did not forbid Catholics from holding office, ac- 
cording to the most careful thought of thoughtful men. The 
article was not understood, as it was, nor could it be; 
let it be made plain, whatever it was to mean, and he would 
abide by it. His idea was that its meaning hung on positive 
denial of truths of the Protestant religion. It has been held 
to disqualify Atheists, Deists, Jews, Catholics, Quakers, 
Mennonites, and Dunkards, at least. The Convention is di- 
rected to make it plain. His historical treatment was superb. 
He noted how Maryland, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania 
were "the only countries," before the Revolution, in which 
religious equality was established, and the Declaration of 
Independence and Union made it all but universal among 
the States, North Carolina alone having the sole relic in 
Article 32. He insisted that as a Roman Catholic he owed 
"no allegiance to any man or set of men on earth, save only 
to the State of North Carolina, and, so far as she has parted 
with her sovereignty, to the United States of America." 
His plea to the West, which stood for equal representation 
was most earnest, and he closed with a plea for full free- 
dom. Many more speakers followed him on July 1st, the 
last one, except a word from Governor Swain, being Mr. 

The Guilford delegate said he should have remained 
silent, except that such censure had been passed on all who 
would retain the article. "Because we are in favor of re- 
taining in the Constitution something like a Test for office, 
we are charged with bigotry and illiberality. In every 
Constitution," said he, "certain qualifications are made neces- 
sary for office. In the amendments proposed by this 
Convention to the Constitution, certain qualifications are 


provided for the members of both Houses, and why not place 
some guard against inroads on the religion of our country? 
We, the other day, refused to a class of freemen the right of 
voting, because the color of their skin happened to differ 
from ours. Why was that done? Not because it was just, 
but because it was expedient. But when we prefer keeping 
a guard upon our religious rights in the Constitution, we 
are called illiberal bigots, fanatics, etc." Mr. Morehead 
could not "say he was a Christian, because he made no pro- 
fession to be such ; but he was as free from bigotry and 

fanaticism as anyone. If no care is to be taken to 

preserve the sanctity of Religion in our country, why keep 
up the custom of administering oaths? Why administer an 
oath to an Atheist? He would not be bound by it." It had 
been said that there were no such beings in the country. He 
believed there were many such. He was therefore in favor 
of retaining the section in question. If any amendments 
were made to it, he should prefer that offered by the gentle- 
man from Wilkes, and now under consideration. He agreed 
with the gentleman from Cumberland (Mr. Toomer) that it 
had been settled by the highest authority, that the 32nd 
Article did not exclude Roman Catholics from office, since 
the General Assembly had recently selected a distinguished 
gentleman of that profession to till one of the highest offices 
on our Judicial Bench. He had been admitted to his seat 
without a single whisper of objection from any quarter, but 
on the contrary, with the general approbation of the whole 
country. Mr. Morehead added that he wished every man 
in North Carolina could have heard the able defence and ex- 
planation which the gentleman from Craven (Mr. Gaston) 
had given to the Convention, of the Roman Catholic Re- 
ligion. He wished it, because he was satisfied that it had 
been greatly misrepresented and misunderstood. He knew it 
was generally believed in the part of the country in which he 
was best acquainted, that the Catholics here owned allegiance 
to the Pope. He was glad to hear this positively contra- 
dicted by the gentleman from Craven. He would add 
another remark in relation to what had fallen from the 
gentleman from Buncombe some days ago, in relation to the 


late Rev. Dr. David Caldwell, of his county. Mr. Morehead 
said there never was a truer Whig than Dr. Caldwell, nor 
one that had the good of his country more at heart. He 
mentioned several striking instances of his ardent zeal dur- 
ing the Revolutionary struggle, in evidence of this fact. 
And Mr. Morehead, when it came to a vote on substituting 
"Christian" for "Protestant," was in the minority of 51 to 
74, along with Governor Branch, General Dockery, Spaight 
of Greene County, Judge Seawell, Judge Toomer of Fayette- 
ville, and others of like standing. Judge Gaston had won 
again. Even so, however. Judge Gaston was voting to keep 
Jews and Atheists out of office, and it was extremely proba- 
ble that this would occur to some as unjust, before the 
Convention rose. 

July 2nd was a scarcely less auspicious day than the 26th 
of June had been, for the question was then raised as to 
whether the distrust of the people and distrust of the Execu- 
tive shown in the old constitution was to stand. The annual 
choice of Governor by the Assembly indicated a purpose to 
center all control in the Assembly, so that the Governor 
was merely a species of executive officer dependent on the 
legislature. Here again the old British conceptions were in 
evidence, as well as repudiation of the checks-and-balance 
system between legislative and executive departments. 
While it did not affect power between east and west, it was 
part of the same political ideas, and was scarcely second in 
importance to the future of the commonwealth to that of 
proportional representation itself. The West proposed to 
elect the Governor in the same way they were to elect the 
lower House ; for they purposed having an executive in sym- 
pathy with measures the House should secure. Not that the 
Governor had veto power, for he had not, but that he should, 
like the lower House, be the voice of population and, conse- 
quently, the West. And the curious thing about it was that 
it was an eastern — extreme eastern man, Mr. Jesse Wilson of 
Perquimans, on the Albemarle, who proposed the resolution. 
And the very first speaker said he had heard no complaint 
against the sixty-year-old mode of choosing the Governor; 
and he was possibly right ; but the call for population repre- 


sentation in the Assembly, which would have given the West 
its choice anyhow, carried with it as a corollary, like election 
of the executive ; for both were merely means to an end, 
namely, the will of the majority of the people in development 
of North Carolina. TJic defeat of development zvas the 
motive of constitutional revision, rather than any senti- 
mental or academic political theories of popular equality ; so 
great was the hold of the old British conceptions of political 
representation upon the people. They were far behind the 
new American political science expressed in the national con- 
stitution, but not so far as Pennsylvania had been before 
their constitution of 1790. This latter, the work chiefly of 
James Wilson, chief father of the national constitution and 
first to present the new political science, as a science, had 
been formed on the new science; and all that great body 
of settlers in western North Carolina who came from that 
state after 1790 had those ideas. That they influenced the 
thought of the west there can be no doubt. In this particular 
question, however. North Carolina was no doubt somewhat 
influenced by her daughter, Tennessee, who had in her recent 
constitutional revision done the same thing. Indeed the 
first speaker, Mr. Daniel of Halifax, said he had lately met a 
Tennessean "who said that two Candidates were travelling 
through the State on an electioneering campaign, at expense 
and trouble to themselves, and to the great annoyance of the 
People," and he hoped not to see such a phenomenon in 
North Carolina. He of course could not know that there 
were members present then who should soon be doing that 
very thing for the first time in the history of the State. He 
cited Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts as warn- 

Others followed : President Macon said that a Governor 
that could do no more than a North Carolina executive was 
of not enough importance to bother about it ; but if he had 
a veto power, as many have, he thought the People ought 
to elect him. Some feared that the only question people 
would ask would be : 'Ts he an eastern or a western man?" 
Judge Gaston recognized the inseparableness of this and the 
new House basis, and its inevitableness. He also noted the 


utter absence of power in the "Old North State's" execu- 
tive ; he was merely and strictly executive, with neither 
appointive or veto powers, and so to vote for such an office 
was no great privilege, that 60,000 voters should bother 
about: it would be dififerent if he had power. He dreaded 
the election machinery. He thought it broke the compro- 
mise between east and west, because it would compel free 
white voting, not the federal ratio. Judge Gaston again lost, 
74 to 44, almost the usual majority; and with him were men 
like Bryan, Edwards, Macon, Seawell, Toomer and others of 
like standing. 

On July 3rd, the Senatorial districts and House election 
arrangements prepared by a committee were accepted, and it 
was decided to keep at work on the 4th, on which day, the 
Volunteer Militia celebrated with noisy procession past the 
Presbyterian Church so effectively, that, while it irritated 
Mr. Morehead, who thought it deserved a reprimand, it 
actually resulted in persuading the Convention to honor the 
day by adjournment, the day being Saturday. On the 6th, 
however, the future method of amendment was taken up. 
It was natural that the West, which had struggled so hard to 
get revision, should want a more easy mode of amendment, 
and it was even proposed that only majorities in two suc- 
cessive Assemblys, the second elected on this basis, could 
secure its presentation for ratification by the people. The 
Convention's course in turning down Judge Gaston's position 
three times was beginning to raise his apprehensions, and 
since he was so great an instrument in securing the present 
revision, he wanted a conservative amendment process for 
the future. "In what sense," said he, "ought majorities to 
govern? That the deliberate will of the People ought ulti- 
mately to prevail, no one will deny ; but that the temporary 
will of the majority, which may be produced by the efferves- 
cence of the moment, ought to do ivhatevcr it pleases — set up 
and pull down Constitution from day to day — no man can 
be so extravagant as to desire." In this comment, he ex- 
pressed the permanence of American institutions — which 
makes ours the oldest government on earth. If the West 
did such a thing, he considered himself deceived. "There 


are many reasons," he said, "why the claims of the West did 
not sooner succeed. He owed it to the East to say, that 
never until lately were these claims fairly before the East. 

Sometimes the West connected the removal of the 

Seat of Government with their claim for equal representa- 
tion — and sometimes they advanced their claims in connec- 
tion with other propositions which actually reflected on the 
understanding of those to whom they were addressed." He 
said no other state had such loose provisions. In this he 
won the day for two-thirds votes in the Assembly, 107 to 17. 
Mr. Morehead astonished the Convention by a vigorous 
unequivocal denunciation of requiring viva voce voting for 
public offices in Assembly, which came up next ; but he was 
disagreed with, 82 to 38. He was pleased, however, when, 
immediately thereafter, July 6th, Judge Gaston suggested 
that since the majority against giving free negroes the vote 
was so small, it might be reconsidered. Before the Revolu- 
tion, he thought there was hardly a freed negro in the State, 
and such as there were, were mulattoes, children of white 
women, and thereby free. The act of 1777, providing for 
control of emancipation plainly noted it as a recent phenome- 
non. A few days since he had seen the certificate of John 
Chavis, a colored minister, that he had taken the oath of 
allegiance at Mecklenburg, Va., on December 20, 1778. 
Legislative acts entitled freed negroes to all rights of col- 
ored freemen, i. e., mulattoes, sons of white women. He 
therefore proposed an amendment, restricting, but not with- 
drawing the vote. Mr. Holmes, of New Hanover, cited the 
case of San Domingo, where in 1791, slaves who became 
free through meritorious services, the removal, some years 
later, of the voting rights then conferred upon them was the 
chief cause of revolution. A Perquimans member said no 
free negro, in his region, had ever been allowed to vote. Mr. 
Fisher proposed a less severe amendment. Objection was 
made that no free negro was allowed to enter any state, 
except he give bond for good behavior, and Ohio forbid 
his entrance at all. A vote would cause confusion. The 
Gaston amendment was voted down, 64 to 55, and Mr. 


Morehead was one of the 55, results not essentially different 
from the first vote, but more favorable to the minority. 

Judge Gaston made an attempt to reopen the county- 
district method of voting for the lower House, but in vain ; 
and then Mr. Morehead brought up the impeachment article 
which provided that the Chief Justice should preside, as in 
national proceedings of like character; but they wanted no 
one but Senators concerned in this judicial act. Mr. More- 
head did secure one amendment, however, namely, one on 
holding state and national offices ; but he failed in another, 
namely, the abolition of private laws, and it was Judge 
Gaston's influence which defeated him. Mr. Wilson, of 
Perquimans, made an impassioned plea to remove the 
word "Christian" before "Religion" in Article 32, but in 
vain. The general report on form of amendments for 
submission was adopted, 81 to 20, on the evening of July 
10th. The usual acts of courtesy were performed on the 
following day, when President Macon avowed he had never 
witnessed such good order and decorum in any body with 
which he had been connected, and he expected this to be 
"the last scene of my public life." With a closing prayer 
by the pastor of the Presbyterian Church, in which this 
great act of justice to the West had been consummated, 
the Constitutional Convention of 1835, for North Carolina, 
ceased to be. 

In a word what were the results : 1. Equalized represen- 
tation ; 2. biennial sessions ; 3. Popular biennial election of 
executives ; 4. Attorney General's term to be limited to four 
years ; 5. No borough representation ; 6. No vote of free 
negroes ; 7. Viva voce Assembly vote for public officers ; 
8. Removal of Roman Catholic disability to hold office, 
definitely ; 9. Two-thirds Assembly votes for amendment 
process; 10. Mode of impeachment of officers ; 11. Removal 
of judges for disability; and 12. Restriction on private 
laws. The new order of representation provided one mem- 
ber for each of 9 counties, with less than the federal ratio ; 
Brunswick, Columbus, Chowan, Greene, Jones, Tyrrell, 
Washington in the east and Macon and Haywood in the 
west. The remaining 111 members are on a ratio of 5399, 


that gave 32 counties each one member, 17 counties two 
each, and 7 counties three each — not allowing for fractions 
permitting another member. The latter counties — those 
given another member on fractional excess, were 24 in 
number: of these 15 went to the 32 with one member, 
while 7 went to the 17 with two members, and 2 went to the 
7 with three members. These additional members, as be- 
tween east and west, were not very equal. The two 
three-member counties, which thereby got four, were west- 
ern, Lincoln and Orange. The seven two-member ones, 
getting three, were five western — Burke, Chatham, Iredell, 
Surry and Stokes — and two eastern — Granville and Hali- 
fax; while on the other hand almost all of the 15 given to 
the one-member class were eastern. Therefore only Lincoln 
and Orange had four members. Those having three were : 
Guilford, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Rutherford, Wake, Burke, 
Chatham, Iredell, Surry, Stokes, Granville and Halifax. 
Those having two were: Anson, Buncombe, Cumberland, 
Craven, Caswell, Davidson, Edgecombe, Randolph, Rock- 
ingham, Wilkes, Beaufort, Bertie, Duplin, Franklin, John- 
ston, New Hanover, Northampton, Person, Pitt, Sampson, 
Warren, Wayne, Montgomery, Robeson and Richmond. 
The rest had but one representative. As property was so 
largely the basis of the Senate, it was only a question of a 
short time when the West would be equally dominant in 
that body. 

The Convention had barely adjourned when news came 
of the death of Chief Justice John Marshall, whereupon 
North Carolina came out boldly and vigorously for the 
Roman Catholic "Peace-Maker" of the Convention as his 
successor. It was a premature wish, however, for it was to 
take over a half-century before the people of the United 
States were able to take such an attitude. That the new con- 
stitution was more his work than that of any other one man 
is self-evident. That Mr. Morehead recognized him as leader 
is also self-evident, and, as a rule, supported him on the 
great committee of which both were members. That More- 
head would have gone farther than Gaston is also not to be 
questioned, nor that he recognized that Gaston led Cape Fear 


and Neuse sections of the east against the Roanoke, or the 
commercial boroughs of the southeast against the planters 
of the Roanoke. A sub-conscious, if not conscious, basis 
for this, was undoubtedly the Newbern-Beaufort-Raleigh 
hope for a Beaufort-to-Tennessee railroad. The Caldwell 
idea of the west had become the Gaston idea of the east, the 
lever by which the State was to be lifted. That this was 
Mr. Morehead's objective, rather than any especially aca- 
demic ideas in political science, there can be still less doubt ; 
for this new constitution was preeminently a means to an 
end, just as Judge Gaston himself was. The statesmanship 
of the Murpheys, the Caldwells, the Fishers, the Moreheads 
and other western leaders, whose eyes were on the building 
and development of the commonwealth, were the real cause 
of this new fundamental law. They were the designers ; 
Gaston the chief builder, after their plans — plans which had 
been forced upon him and his eastern friends almost at the 
point of revolution. And it had been the whole burden of 
Morehead's public life, his heritage from his great teachers 
and heroes, Murphey and Caldwell. The order for the Con- 
stitution of 1335 had been given in the West and the general 
design made there, but its mechanism was built chiefly by 
eastern hands. 

Its ratification was not to be voted on until November, 
so that the general elections at once overshadowed all else. 
The "Whigs of '34" were now merely full-fledged Whigs, 
and were carrying the banner of Hugh L. White of Tennes- 
see against "Van Burenism." It was a period of the rise 
of the national "West" as well as the State "West;" Ar- 
kansas and Michigan were asking to become states. The 
growth of the \\'higs everywhere was amazing. North 
Carolina was divided nearly equally between the two — the 
idolizer of General Jackson not long since! General Har- 
rison's friends were becoming active ; and with this uprising 
came also, in the North, aggressive propaganda for the 
abolition of slavery. These themes were in the minds of 
all in November, when the new Assembly met and the vote 
on ratification was taken. This vote of the people was 
a magnificent proof of the need for revision, for the tre- 


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mendous number of 39 counties were against, nearly 40 
against, to 26 for; and yet 26,771 were for and but 21,606 
against, making 5165 majority for ratification! The only 
difference between this vote and that for calling the conven- 
tion was that the latter majority was somewhat larger, 5856. 
In other words, the two votes for, were 27,550 and 26,771 ; 
the two votes against were 21,694 and 21,606; and the 
majorities 5856 and 5165. The chief difference was that 
several hundred were so sure it would win that they did not 
vote, while less than a hundred were won to the eastern 
cause. Therefore, on December 3, 1835, Governor Swain 
proclaimed the new constitution to be in effect from and 
after January 1, 1836. 

And what was the immediate result? The Assembly 
had its shortest session within memory, adjourning on De- 
cember 22nd. Their most notable work was to amend the 
Wilmington and Raleigh Railroad act of 1832, changing the 
line to run direct from Wilmington to the Roanoke, leaving 
Raleigh out ; for not only Petersburgh was running trains to 
W^eldon, below the Roanoke rapids, and, by way of the 
Greensville and Roanoke, from Belfield, were running to a 
point above the rapids now called Gaston ; but a new "train 
of cars" was announced for December 1st on the way from 
Portsmouth to its successive termini on the way to Weldon. 
Wilmington, therefore, proposed to make haste and take 
its share from the rich Roanoke. The Gaston terminus, 
therefore, on the Wilmington people's leaving out Raleigh, 
caused her to secure incorporation of the Raleigh and Gaston 
Railroad Company, and the Raleigh and Fayetteville Rail- 
road Company. The Weldon Toll Bridge increased its 
capital to $75,000, to get ready for the big business. These 
were the answer to the new constitution, of the people of 
Wilmington and the Roanoke, for they expected the west 
to move for the North Carolina Central or Beaufort to Ten- 
nessee railroad. 


John Motley Morehead 


The Rise of the Whig Party 


North Carolina 

Immediately on the close of the Assembly on Decem- 
ber 22, 1835, the Anti-Van Buren or Whig members met in 
the House of Commons hall, at Government House, foot 
of Fayetteville Street, and resolved upon organization of a 
party ticket to be known as Wliig. General Polk, of 
Rowan, took the lead in this as in the unofficial constitu- 
tional convention of 1833, although Col. Andrew Joyner of 
Halifax, was made chairman. They nominated White of 
Tennessee for President and formed a Whig Central Com- 
mittee headed by Charles L. Hinton, an address committee 
headed by General Polk, provided for county nominations 
of a Whig candidate for Governor, and for county com- 
mittees of five each. When these were appointed the list 
showed almost none of the old leaders, except General 
Polk in Rowan, Mr. Morehead in Guilford, General 
Dockery in Richmond and a few others, but its organization 
was complete in every county. 

But whether Whig organization, which was almost as 
vigorous in most other states as in Carolina, was more 
active, or railroad promotion more so, is difficult to say. 
On January 2, 1836, Raleigh held a meeting of all those 
interested in a railroad to the Roanoke terminus of the 
Greensville and Roanoke Railroad at Wilkins Ferry, now 
called Gaston. Judge Cameron, Charles Manly, George 
E. Badger and others led the enthusiasm and $150,000 was 


Pos»lsE8B«Bat3a &; SSosaai^ke 




yjWlV. i'ul)llc are intbimed tliut r«;is.iy I^tilps 
^ ot t!ll^l liuad are cuinpteted and ready for 
tilt Tr;Ll)^pc)l•lallun. ol I'ubseiigers unci Vioducc. 

H STiMtn of (Cavf$ 


(commencing- tilis «l;iy, Tuesday, the firtt 
of l)<'cemhtu\ at 9 o'clock. A, M.) and Hrrivo at 
ii.\UUAUKTVn-.r-T', (t'le present tenirmatiou 
of the road,) to dinner, vvhence |);tssengcra rtill 
be cor.voj'cd in 

TO HAIilFAX, N. €« 

Arriving in time I'ftr the 
,*Jonllie«s*Sa:ag:es, via Raleigh Ac, 

First Picture of a Train in a 

North Carolina Paper 
Raleigh Register, 15th Dec, 1836 


subscribed, whereupon the President of the Petersburg 
Railroad announced that he was authorized to put down 
$150,000 for citizens of his city. This made immediate 
organization possible ; but the Wilmington people were 
equally in earnest and at the same time announced a sub- 
scription of $200,000 for their road. The Gaston road 
organized on February 4th. Five days before, on January 
30th, Raleigh Whigs started the local nominations for Presi- 
dent, Vice-President and Governor and determined on Hugh 
L. White, a native of North Carolina; John Tyler of Vir- 
ginia, and for Governor, General Edward B. Dudley, of Wil- 
mington. A general understanding existed among the Whigs 
of the State that there should be unity on these men, so that 
the campaign should be wholly against Van Burenism and 
Jacksonism, whose ticket was headed by Spaight, both 
eastern men, and designed to divide the east, prospects of 
which was almost certain. 

On February 16th, General Dudley accepted and 
slightly less than a month later, 14th March, he was also 
chosen President of the Wilmington and Raleigh Railroad 
Company. The success of the Raleigh-Gaston organi- 
zation seems to have made the board change its policy 
and go to Raleigh, for this meeting decided to at once 
begin work at both ends, Wilmington and Raleigh. The 
Raleigh-Roanoke road, designed to go to Weldon from 
Raleigh was active but not so far successful; so that the 
commitment of the Raleigh people to the Gaston, or above- 
falls route, no doubt temporarily influenced Wilmington 
to go to Raleigh, with an idea of heading off any Raleigh- 
Fayetteville alliance. The decision did not last long, how- 
ever, chiefly, it is said, because Johnston county would not 
subscribe. This course was stimulated, too, by the Raleigh- 
Gaston line calling in 8% on its stock on June 7th and 
actually getting to work on the Gaston end; and also be- 
cause the Raleigh-Fayetteville road was becoming active, 
while the Richmond and Petersburg and Richmond and 
Fredericksburg roads were building so fast, that Wilming- 
ton feared lest the through line |night be diverted west of 
her by Raleigh activities. The fact that stocks of all com- 


pletecl roads in the United States were above par served to 
make them attractive investment as w^ell as public improve- 
ment. The Hartford and New Haven was to begin opera- 
tion on August 15th; and 48 miles of the Richmond and 
Fredericksburg was in use in November, with only 16 
miles more to complete. The Raleigh-Gaston road had 
35 miles out of Gaston contracted for by October and 
would have 50 before the end of the year. By November 
the Wilmington-Weldon route was settled and 30 miles sur- 
veyed and 35 under contract. They took over the Halifax 
and Weldon road as part of this line. Then came a new 
idea from Virginia, not unlike the Greensville-Gaston 
branch of the Petersburg to tap the upper Roanoke above 
the falls. This was to tap the still farther upper Roanoke 
and Dan valleys from Portsmouth to Danville, paralleling 
the Roanoke, under the name Roanoke, Danville and Junc- 
tion Railroad proposed in December — a project that was to 
appeal greatly to Mr. Morehead's district, because it would 
be their nearest line, although it would bind them com- 
mercially to Virginia. By this, the latter state, which 
was capturing the lower Roanoke already, would capture 
the back country to the north, as South Carolina was al- 
ready capturing it to the south by water and proposing to 
do by rail. Indeed so early as 1833 a North Carolina 
convention proposed a line to Louisville and Cincinnati 
through the mountains and now Charleston was actively 
at work on the Louisville, Cincinnati and Charleston Rail- 
road and was at this very time, through her agent, attempt- 
ing to enlist North Carolina in it, showing that the Yadkin 
road, from Fayetteville to Beatties Ford, would make it as 
much a Wilmington as a Charleston road, in the east, and 
be a great thoroughfare for the west. The agent's letter to 
the Governor noted the increase of commerce that was 
bound to come with passenger travel. "Before the rail- 
road," said he, "was made between New York and Phila- 
delphia, about 80 or 100 passengers daily was the usual 
number; now it has increased to between 1500 and 
2000. . . . Between Charleston and Augusta, a single 
stage three times a week, was more than sufficient for the 


transportation of passengers. Since the establishment of 
the railroad, the average of passengers to Charleston has 
gone as far as 500 per week.'" This was something that 
would sooner or later awaken Wilmington to the mere first- 
aid nature of her Weldon line, as a state measure. 

During the summer, however, politics grew, what might 
be called, "White Hot;" for, as Tennessee had been the 
first to champion her and North Carolina's son, Jackson, 
and North Carolina and Pennsylvania had been first to 
second that cause ; so now Tennessee was first to turn from 
him to her and North Carolina's other son, Hugh L. White, 
and again the same seconds followed her! The Whigs 
were growing as fast as the new Washington monument 
plans, under the leadership of ex-President James Madison, 
who died on June 28th in the midst of them ; and the stars 
in the national flag, which would increase to just double 
the original number, with the transformation of Arkansas 
and Michigan from territories to States. And John Motley 
Morehead, twice a Jackson elector, now became in July a 
White, or Whig elector from the Sixth District, and with 
him were, for the most part, a new set of leaders. Judge 
Toomer of Fayetteville, Charles Manly of Wake, John 
Giles of Rowan, Dr. James S. Smith of Orange, and others 
equally new, so that Mr. Morehead was probably the best 
known among them. And the August election gave Guil- 
ford's vote to General Dudley for Governor, 1145 to only 
475 for Governor Spaight, the administration party candi- 
date. It was typical, for 32 counties, both cast and west 
almost equally, gave Dudley 31,829 votes, or 5007 majority 
over Governor Spaight, with 26,822 votes.- The east and 
west seemed broken up forever ! They were both divided : 
the coast counties from Carteret to Camden went W'hig 
almost without exception, and even Halifax and Northamp- 
ton. The central part, Warren to New Hanover, went for 
the administration, as did the Charlotte country, three 

^ Raleigh Register, 3rd Jan., 1837. 

- Technically, when official count was made, 62 counties gave Dudley 33,993 
and Spaight 29,950, Chowan, Gates and Burke not counted, for various reasons. 
So that Dudley's technical majority was 4043. If they had been counted, it 
would have been 4729. The 5007 figures were the actual, but not technical 
votes; so that the map has been made from it, as truer to the movement. 


mountain counties, and three upper Roanoke ones on the 
Virginia line. Judge Gaston's county went with them. The 
Whig gubernatorial victory was so great that, when it 
came to the Presidential vote, many took it for granted 
and didn't vote at all!' Over 10,000 Whigs did not, and 
nearly 2000 Democrats, so that White lost, 21,218 to 24,878, 
a difference of 3660. The House of Commons was simi- 
larly affected, the Whigs securing 59 members and the 
Democrats 61, so that here, too, the east and west lines were 
broken up. As Judge Gaston had predicted, the national 
lines in politics had overshadowed state lines. For, strange 
to say the Whigs secured a majority of four in the Senate, 
so that with the Senate and Governor and joint ballot, the 
Whigs were victorious ; and there was even a good chance 
of a tie in the House. Surely 1836 was a year of revolution 
in the politics of North Carolina! Mr. Morehead's brother, 
James T., was made a Senator. 

When it came to organization of the Legislature in 
November, 1836, it is interesting to see how east and west 
still persisted, but under political names of "Van Buren- 
ites" or Democrats and Whigs ; for that central bulk of 
Democratic territory eastward from Raleigh was leader of 
the one, and that central bulk of territory west of Raleigh 
led the Whigs. And, although the state went so largely 
for the Whig Governor, General Dudley was an eastern 
man ; and the smallness of the margins in both Senate and 
House enabled the east to utilize various influences to their 
advantage. For example, speakership candidates in the 
Senate were an eastern Democrat and a western Whig ; and 
with only 48 present, the two candidates not voting, gave 
24 for the Whig and 22 for the Democrat, electing the 
Whig, and with one vacancy to be filled, the Senate then 
stood, 25 Whigs and 24 Democrats! The House margin 
was not quite so small, but nearly so, properly 61 Demo- 
crats and 59 Whigs, and yet when the Whigs put up Wm. 
A. Graham of Hillsboro, the west, against Mr. Haywood of 
Raleigh, the east, they lost 53 to 60, showing that some 

1 Even so the opposition majority to Van Buren, in the nation was over 
18,000, which was significant for the future. 

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in both cases, merely joined the majority. The Whig Sen- 
ate leaders were Polk, Morehead (J. T.), Dockery, Bryan of 
Beaufort city and a few others, while the House Demo- 
cratic leaders were equally new men. The result was that, 
on joint ballot the parties were so equally balanced that 
anything might happen — with a Whig majority of two in the 
Senate, as there finally came to be, and a Democratic ma- 
jority of two in the House. And yet, while such a con- 
dition favored the east, it was a tremendous party revolution 
for North Carolina that promised much for the future; 
and was an equally wonderful eastern victory in the midst 
of a sectional state revolution in which the east was prop- 
erly a loser! The activities of the old legislative election 
of Governor were now transferred to the election of 
United States Senators ; and the small margin let loose 
an amount of contest of seats on various grounds and resig- 
nations and apparently even death, that characterized this 
Assembly above probably all its predecessors. The result 
was that a Democratic United States Senator, Judge Strange, 
was chosen, by a majority of four votes ; and the new Sena- 
tor would be asked to act on the proposition of the Minister 
from the Republic of Texas, just arrived in Washington, 
that that republic become a state in the American union, to 
become the only state that ever exercised national sover- 
eignty as a commonwealth. And, as Mexico proposed 
forcibly to resist this course, the new Senator was destined 
to help sow the seeds of a foreign war. 

The cap-stone of Whig, though not unmixed Western 
victory, was the inauguration of Governor Dudley at Gov- 
ernment House, foot of Fayetteville street, on January 1, 
1837, at noon, in the House of Commons Hall. The noble 
new capitol at the other end of the thoroughfare was in 
course of construction, but it was not destined to be ready 
for the first Whig executive ; and in this hall which was 
properly the Executive Mansion, he outlined his policies. 
They noted that the state, fifth in population among the 
twenty-six, needed all manner of internal improvement, 
from education to transportation. With only a third of the 
banking capital of neighboring states to the south, they 


need more, as the root of progress. The new distribu- 
tion of federal surplus promised nearly two millions and 
would be an aid, but his main idea was increase in capital 
of the present banks ; for he was not in favor of State aid 
in transportation ; in which respect he was thoroughly east- 
ern, and thereby laid foundations for a new determination 
in the west. Governor Dudley was a very high type of 
man — a moderate and a harmonizer, but he was by no 
means designed to carry out the purposes of the west. 
Under his influence, the Assembly was almost wholly 
occupied with financial measures, reorganization of State 
finances, in which Representative Wm. A. Graham led. 
The session was 64 days long — one of the longest and most 
important in results, for it adopted the two-fifths state-aid 
plan for the following railroad projects: Cape Fear and 
Western ( Fay etteville- Yadkin), the Wilmington and Wel- 
don, the North Carolina Central (Beaufort harbor, to go to 
Fayetteville) ; and adopted reorganization of the education 
board on the basis of reclaiming swamp lands and bank 
stock; redemption of State paper money of 1835, revision 
and publication of code modified, new assessment law, 
militia self-election, abolition of imprisonment of honest 
debtors, and some others. The favor to the Louisville- 
Charleston Railroad project was marked and banking 
facilities were granted to it. Meanwhile, the legislature 
had also incorporated a Raleigh southwestern road as ex- 
tension of the Gaston road, which latter line was making 
great progress in construction, 50 miles having been located 
and nearly all under contract, with a force of seven hun- 
dred laborers. With its new extension it desired to tap 
a region midway between Charlotte and Fayetteville, 
going through Anson county, its name being the Raleigh 
and Columbia Railroad. These things put vigor into Wil- 
mington, and by March, she had won the two-fifths state 
aid ; had one locomotive and another on the way from 
England, expecting to have 30 miles completed at the south 
end before the end of the year, 85 miles to Waynesboro 
(Goldsboro) graded, and 20 miles completed at the Weldon 
end. By April trains on the Virginia line to Gaston were 


running — and bridges were building over the Roanoke both 
at Gaston and Weldon. By July (1837) the Gaston road 
had 70 miles surveyed to within 15 miles of Raleigh, 60 
miles under contract, 50 miles to be ready for rails in No- 
vember, and the first 10 miles out of Gaston to be laid at 
once, while the laborers had increased to about 1200. The 
Portsmouth road was ready to send its cars over the Wel- 
don bridge as soon as it was completed and the same road 
was able to announce an accident in which two were killed, 
while Supreme Courts were locating responsibility and 
damages. In the midst of all this the Newbern Spectator, 
in Judge Gaston's town, was calling vigorously for the state 
to note great improvement in Beaufort harbor and to 
undertake a sea to Tennessee railroad. The quarry road at 
Raleigh and the Petersburg road had served a good pur- 
pose ; the railroad in North Carolina was an accomplished 
fact, and the gold at the end of the rainbow was the riches 
of the Roanoke valley; but it will be observed all of this rail 
activity, except that proposed by South Carolina was almost 
wholly eastern and southern ; not in the great central west 
that had brought about this revolution, at all. Indeed it 
seemed to cover almost every part of the state but their 
own, and to deliberately share their trade with other states, 
when it was not a desperate effort merely to save a share 
for themselves. This was because the time was not ripe 
for leadership of that great central west to lay down its 

The coming leader was himself growing in power and 
wealth. John Motley Morehead was forty-one years old, 
and about him at "Blandwood," in Greensboro, was growing 
up a numerous farmily : his eldest child, Letitia, was a girl of 
fourteen, and, like his father, he desired for his family a 
higher education, and it was time his eldest child was 
entering upon it. His next child, however, was also a 
daughter, Mary Corrina, a girl of twelve years, likewise 
almost ready ; while Ann Eliza II, his third child, named for 
her mother, and but a couple of years behind at the age 
of ten years, Mary Louise, seven years of age, and Emma 
Victoria, a babe about one year old, convinced him that 


whatever his plans for higher education of his girls might be, 
they must necessarily be large plans, and plans for female 
education, rather than male, since he had but one son, a 
child of four years, John Lindsay/ For the son, Caldwell 
Institute, established by Presbyterians, of whom President 
Caldwell of the University was a leader and named for him, 
had been opened in January, the previous year, and had 
just been chartered by the Assembly and was already most 
successful. There had been a small private girls' school in 
Greensboro for a number of years, and, during the previous 
year, a talented lady. Miss Mary Ann Hoye, had had 
charge, and he had placed four of his daughters under her 
guidance. But this was not the advanced education he had 
in mind. 

There were large ideas abroad in Greensboro at this time : 
The editor of the Patriot was working out plans for a 
southern periodical as ambitious as Morris' and Willis' 
New York Mirror. The Moravians had a girls' school of 
higher education at Salem, a few miles westward, and the 
Friends had a Boarding School at New Garden to the 
eastward ; while the Methodists, with a little school for chil- 
dren at Greensboro, had, during the previous January, ap- 
plied, with others, not only for a new North Carolina Con- 
ference, but for a female school of higher education for it 
at Greensboro as a Female College. Mr. Morehead decided 
he himself would take Miss Hoye as a nucleus and create 
a school of higher education, not only for his own daugh- 
ters, but for the girls of the South as well.^ He had 
become interested in the fact that the novelist, Maria Edge- 
worth, had done so much for Ireland that she had become 
the inspiration of Sir Walter Scott in doing the same for 
Scotland in his Waverley novels, the books of both authors 
being great favorites in his home and town ; and he chose 
as a name for the proposed institution, Edgeworth Female 
Seminary.^ As his plans were on a large scale it required 

^ The daughter named for his wife was born February 8, 1827, and died 
Oct. 7, 1876. 

^ The girls' school in which Miss Hoye taught, however, continued for some 
time after she left it 

^ Miss Edgeworth was still living, although Scott had been dead for five 
years, and the novels of both were 'best sellers" of the day. 

■V^;-, '^ '-' 


E^«Kil€«K.4: -S' 





Edgewortii Female Seminary 

Greensboro, North Carolina 

From an old woodcut 


the next three years to get ready for the opening. He pur- 
chased a large tract of land from his home, "Blandwood," 
north to West Market Street, to what became the site of 
the Methodist Female College. At his own expense also 
he erected the seminary itself, a large four-story brick 
structure, and laid out the grounds in picturesque design. 
It might well look as though the spirit of an Edgeworth, that 
inspired a Scott, might be preparing decades later to in- 
spire an "O. Henry," who was also to sit at the feet of a 
woman teacher of Greensboro who was herself an Edge- 
worth graduate. This will indicate the kind of vision, 
ability and wealth that John Motley Morehead was to 
bring to public affairs when the time was ripe. 

One reason for this delay was the sudden announcement 
in Washington on May 12th, that the banks of New York, 
Philadelphia and Baltimore had suspended specie pay- 
ments, and the panic was so great in New York, that two 
regiments of soldiers were called out to preserve order. 
Said one witness of it in New York: "I have witnessed ex- 
citement and distress produced by Yellow Fever, Cholera, 
and the great Fire, and I assure you, if they were all con- 
centrated and caused to take place in one day, the excite- 
ment and distress would not equal that now felt in New 
York every day!"^ There was no doubt in the minds of 
men like Mr. Morehead and other Whigs, that this was the 
natural result of the Jackson destruction of the regulatory 
financial system of which the United States Bank was the 
head and had been, with its predecessors, the first Bank of 
the United States and its predecessor (the present oldest 
institution of the kind in the nation. The Bank of North 
America, both of Philadelphia) for over a half-century; 
nearly ever since the Yorktown surrender, except for an 
interregnum of four years, 1811-16, the President of the 
first two banks, Thomas Willing, being known, for this 
period of about thirty years, as "The Old Regulator" of 
American finance. This system, designed by James Wilson, 
and adopted by both treasury heads, Robert Morris and 

1 Raleigh Register, May 16, 1837. 


Alexander Hamilton, was built up by that remarkable man, 
Thomas Willing, the only man ever compared to Wash- 
ington, and that, too, by no less a man than the great 
lawyer, Horace Binney. The destruction of that system, 
without offering any regulatory system in its place, may be 
compared to what would happen at the present day if Presi- 
dent Harding were to destroy the Federal Reserve system. 
The State banks tried to bear the burden, but were unable 
to do so, and legislatures everywhere were hastily sum- 
moned. The Bank of North Carolina, which had super- 
seded the old State Bank, held out until May 19th, when it, 
too, suspended specie payments. Currency and even gov- 
ernment drafts had no value. "So much," said the Raleigh 
Register of May 23rd, "for this grand 'Experiment' with 
the curency, which, it was ever and often promised, should 
fill the purse of the poor man with Benton yellow boys, and 
supersede altogether those dirty rags, called paper money." 
The Whigs held that it all came about from President Jack- 
son's demand that the Bank of the United States remove 
a man from one of its branches who was opposed to his 
election and the Bank refused ; whereupon in 1834 he began 
his attacks upon it, which, in three years, had destroyed 
it and the financial system, with these lamentable results. 
The Democratic leaders held otherwise and spoke of the 
"money power," as later generations speak of "the inter- 
ests" or "corporations." And yet the American system 
was like that of every other great country in the world and 
had made American money respected everywhere, as it is 
under the Federal Reserve system today ; but the difficulty 
was that "The Old Regulator" was not replaced by a new 
regulator of some kind. 

Nothing could have happened more fortunate for the 
immediate future of the Whigs, either locally or nationally. 
On July 4, 1837, the W^higs of Ohio called for a national 
convention in June, 1838, at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and 
the Whigs of North Carolina put up William A. Graham 
for Congress, for election on August 10th, while other dis- 
tricts put up Whigs also and Stanly of the Third was 
elected on July 27th. Whigs everywhere made great gains 


upon the administration members, which, among them- 
selves, were divided into conservative and what was called 
"Loco Foco" wings. It was September before a Bank Con- 
vention was proposed to consider resumption of specie 
payments ; and President Van Buren ready to propose a 
Sub-Treasury system, while postage and duties were de- 
manded in gold by the national government, which enabled 
them to pay members of the national government in specie. 
Upon which the Whigs exclaimed : "Gold for the Govern- 
ment! Rags for the People!" Thereupon the President's 
state. New York, went bodily for the Whigs ; and on the 8th 
of November, at Alton, Illinois, occurred the first bloodshed 
of the Abolition movement, in the death of Rev. Owen P. 
Love joy in a riot. The bankers' convention in mid-winter 
did not think it advisable to set a date for resumption, 
which set it forward at least until their next meeting- in 
April, 1838. The administration charged this action to 
another Philadelphia state bank, the Bank of Pennsylvania, 
which had become the leading one — said to have more 
specie in its vaults than all the New York banks put to- 
gether; but the real reason seems to have been an inability 
to support such a movement, in parts of New England.^ 
At any rate the critical situation remained and contributed 
to the Whig cause, while the growing acuteness of the 
Abolition movement in both Whig and Democratic ranks in 
the north, involved the situation still more. The aggressive- 
ness of the latter movement made a new self-consciousness 
in both North and South, so that hereafter they should be 
spelled with capital letters ; and a like aggressiveness was 
in the slave-holding states, determined to hold their present 
standing by securing a new Southern State in the South for 
every new one in the North. 

And these midwinter national phenomena of 1837-8 were 
accompanied by significant local ones in North Carolina. 
On December 5th, the Wilmington & Raleigh (as its 

^ New York quotations on bank notes of exchange on other cities, in Jan- 
aary, 1838, are interesting: The lowest rate was that for Philadelphia and 
Charleston, lA to 2. The next closest to these was Boston, IJ to 2i. Balti- 
more followed with 2 to 2^. Richmond and New Orleans had next place with 
2i to 3. Augusta and Savanna had 3 to 3i; Cincinnati had 5 to 6, and Mobile, 
5i to 6. It is difficult to realize these relations today. 


corporate title still stood) or Wilmington & Weldon Rail- 
road, which had taken over the Halifax & Weldon line, 
announced that "The Engine with Train of Coaches and 
Cars" was now leaving Halifax every morning, going by 
way of Weldon to Portsmouth to meet the boat for the 
national capital. This was the first regular train to run any 
material distance in North Carolina. The Wilmington road 
had advertised her port business in May, previously, show- 
ing that 152 vessels to foreign ports and 150 coastwise ports 
had taken out nearly a million dollars' worth of exports 
in the previous six months — $999,937.16, to be exact. To 
see such progress in transportation as this from Wil- 
mington, Weldon, Raleigh and Gaston, and prospects at 
Fayetteville, Yadkin and the Louisville, Cincinnati & 
Charleston, affecting nearly every part of the state but her 
own, it was not strange that, in January, 1838, the Patriot 
of Greensboro, should be the first Whig organ to announce 
that Governor Dudley would decline re-election, and to 
issue a call for Guilford county Whigs to hold a conven- 
tion to nominate a Whig successor, whose plans of progress 
covered the great central west. The call alarmed the Whig 
Register of Raleigh, which could not believe that Governor 
Dudley would decline: "We would therefore say," wrote 
Editor Gales, "to the Guilford Whigs (whose name is 
legion) bide a hit!"'' And by February 19th, the Whig edi- 
tor at the capital was able to announce that Governor Dud- 
ley would run again. On January 30th, Governor Dudley 
had written Ex-Governor Swain, then President Swain of 
the University, asking his advice on standing for a second 
term, saying he did not want it, but "had never given 
authority for any such announcement." Some of his friends 
thought he could not retire "with safety to the party," 
although he himself believed "any other Whig candidate 
would unite the same vote."- On his announcement through 
the Raleigh Register that he would stand again, the Stand- 
ard of the same city, the Democratic organ, plainly said they 
would hesitate to put anyone up against him. The reason 

^ Raleigh Register, January 22, 1838. 
^ Swain Papers, Hist. Comm. of N. C. 

It- ■2i.iTU-'.-j:ir««fri-_"'- 

Siit!5:"i» .Sj^ >-" 

First Picture of a Raleigh & Gaston Railroad Coa^i 
May 30, 1838 


for this, though not stated, was plainly that the lower 
Roanoke and Cape Fear valleys were holding together in an 
eastern combination against the west ; and Governor Dud- 
ley's letters to President Swain soon after, trying his best to 
get the latter to become President of the Fayetteville and 
Western Railroad project, shows the strong hand that Wil- 
mington is playing, with Fayetteville as her partner and 
sub-port feeder from the west. In keeping with this 
purpose, was the effort to swing the Beaufort-Newbern- 
Waynesville "North Carolina Central" south to Fayetteville, 
instead of to Raleigh and the west. In short, Wilmington 
was striving to unite the conservative east with railroads, 
and the lower Roanoke was willing that she should. When 
Governor Dudley consented to stand for a second term, 
it was a matter of course that he would be elected : in the 
west, because he was a Whig, and in the east, because he 
was an eastern conservative in state matters, or sufficiently 
so to develop the east through railroads, as he was President 
of the largest road designed to bind the east together. It is 
well to take careful note of these circumstances, for they 
not only present the occasion for Guilford county's haste 
to get rid of their present Whig executive, but also the large 
size of the contract before them when they should suc- 

This haste in Guilford was not looked upon indiffer- 
ently by the east. Contemporary with it was a plea in the 
Newhern Spectator that a British vessel had passed out of 
Beaufort harbor in thirty-five minutes in "twenty-three feet 
of water on the bar!" The writer deplored the neglect of a 
great railway effort to utilize this great port. On May 
12th, the Raleigh and Gaston road made an announcement 
more notable than that of a train to Portsmouth, namely, 
that trains were now running from Littleton in Warren 
County, over the Gaston bridge and to Petersburg, connect- 
ing with trains by way of Richmond and Washington for 
New York, the "Great Mail Route," in 39 hours— or 48 in- 

^ The Raleigh Standard, Democrat, says on December 4, 1839, that a 
Whig caucus, during this Assembly of '38— '39, agreed on Mr. Morehead as the 
next candidate for Governor, and that "everybody knows it." No public ex- 
pression of it occurred, however, until the following August at Greensboro. 


eluding all stops. Travellers from Greensboro and the 
west are assured that this line lands them in Washington 
24 hours ahead of any other line. Then about June 1st, a 
writer in the Fayetteville Observer, who avows his belief 
that Wilmington should be made the importing center of the 
State and that a railroad should be built from Fayetteville 
to the west, calls for a "commercial and agricultural" con- 
vention at Greensboro on July 4th next. Thereupon, on 
June 12th, the Raleigh Register notes that The Carolina 
Watchman describes a considerable public sentiment in the 
west in favor of extending the Raleigh and Gaston from 
Raleigh westward. By June 18th, Wilmington had had a 
meeting to promote it and called upon Raleigh, Newbern, 
Halifax, Fayetteville, Salisbury and all the other leading 
towns to cooperate. The Wilmington Advertiser taunts the 
Raleigh Register with hesitation which Editor Gales is com- 
pelled to deny, but qualify, in favor of certain "local" predi- 
lections, well understood ; but, on June 25th, he calls a 
meeting to forward it. Then The Western Carolinian 
presents some inviting manufacturing statistics of great 
moment to railroads to the west : Cotton factories now 
actually in operation number practically a dozen, nearly all 
in the west, namely (passing by the oldest one at Tar River 
falls in Edgecombe county), one near Lincolnton owned by 
John Hoke ; one at Fayetteville owned by Mr. Mallet ; and 
another there owned by Benbow & Company ; one in 
Greensboro, steam power, owned by Mr. Humphreys ; one 
at Milton owned by a company ; one at Mocksville owned 
by Thomas McNeely ; one or more in Orange county owned 
by companies ; one at Salem, steam-power, owned by a 
company ; one in Randolph owned by a company, and one at 
Lexington, Davidson county, owned by a company. Be- 
sides there are over a half-dozen more now building — all in 
the west; one at Rockfish, near Fayetteville, owned by a 
company ; one in Richmond county owned by a company ; 
one near Leaksville, on Dan river, a stone building, owned by 
-John M. Morehead, Esq. ; one in Surry county, on Hunting 
Creek, owned by Mr. Douthet; one in Montgomery county 
owned by a company; and one, ten miles northeast of 

A Georgia Train of 1838 
From a live-dollar State bank bil 


Salisbury, owned by Fisher and Lemly. There were rumors 
of three or four others projected. Three years before great 
quantities of cotton yarn came from the north ; now, not 
only did "not a hank" come in, but North Carolina was 
already beginning to ship out, even to New York; and un- 
doubtedly coarse cotton fabrics would soon rival the north. 

And then came the Greensboro Convention on July 4th, 
with Governor Dudley presiding. Again they covered up 
the word "transportation" with "Internal Improvement." 
Wilmington, Fayctteville, Guilford, Chatham, Randolph, 
Davie, Salisbury, Lexington, Hillsboro, and Rockingham — 
those in ' cs being towns — were represented, Mr. More- 
head be. one of the Guilford delegation, the strongest 
present. It is notable that Governor Dudley did not put 
Mr. Morehead on one committee, and that he advocated 
the Fayetteville terminus. It is notable that to the Gover- 
nor's general committee was assigned the canvassing of the 
best route for the "Central Railroad." The only specific 
thing decided upon, however, was a Raleigh Convention 
for the second Monday in December next. 

Contemporary with this event was the announcement 
that Philadelphia banks v.'ould resume specie payment on 
August 1st; and that the Democrats finally decided to put 
up a candidate for Governor, Ex-Governor John Branch ; 
but it was done with so little enthusiasm that the result was 
a foregone conclusion. Governor Dudley was good enough 
for the east, even if he was a Whig. For, under his in- 
spiration, Wilmington was making tremendous efforts to 
make herself the acknowledged commercial center of the 
state. They showed that Wilmington's total outgoing ton- 
nage surpassed even Norfolk by about 5000 tons ; that 
North Carolina's entered tonnage was nearly 5000 above 
Virginia ; and that Wilmington owned more tonnage than 
Richmond, Petersburg or Edenton by about 2000 above the 
highest, Richmond. And in August, the Railroad Presi- 
dent Governor of \\'ilmington was re-elected by the tre- 
mendous majority of 17,041 votes ! Wilmington stock 
was rising and her two wings were W'higs and Railroads, 
with a powerful rudder named East ; but there was a very 


evident apprehension that Guilford county was Hable to 
puncture the aeroplane's gas tank — to use a figure not, of 
course, current then ; and that one never could tell what 
Raleigh might do. In October the Raleigh and Gaston 
people were trying to borrow money in New York to com- 
plete their road ; and they also announced that their Raleigh 
and Columbia road had enough subscriptions to get a char- 
ter. The Greensboro Patriot at the same time announced 
that place's purpose to establish a bank, and Fayetteville 
was to put in the same town a branch bank. In November 
"Mento)-" in the Raleigh Standard, Democrat, fought the 
Columbia road idea, in favor of Wilmington, of course, 
while "Rip Van Winkle," in the Register, fought him, and 
incidentally dropped these illuminating sentences : "To the 
West," said "Van Winkle," "this matter presents itself with 
peculiar force, and if they do not arouse themselves at this 
attempt, by a sectional interest to force them into sectional 
measures, it may be too late. They have been trifled with 
long enough, and it is time their hitherto neglected claims 
should be listened to and complied with ; and I hope every 
county west of Raleigh will be fully represented in the pro- 
posed Internal Improvement Convention, about to be holden 
in this place." 

As that meeting was to occur during the Assembly, it 
was a comforting fact that that body had a comfortable 
Whig majority: "We hail the triumph of the Whigs," wrote 
Editor Gales of the Register on December 3 [1838], "as the 
triumph of Republican principles, as the prostration of men 
who have made themselves odious by their persecution, 
their exclusiveness, and their political imbecility." He be- 
spoke Whig generosity to the foe, however. Seven days 
later, the 10th, thirty-eight counties' delegates — some coun- 
ties like Cumberland, Beaufort, Guilford, Randolph, Wake 
and Wayne having as many as a dozen members — gathered 
at the Methodist Church in Raleigh as successor to the 
Greensboro Convention — but Mr. Morehead was not one 
of them. It was an able convention, compared favorably 
with that of 1833, and Hon. Romulus M. Saunders was 
chosen President. Needless to say every section asked for 


its favorite water or land transportation, all of which were 
referred to a general committee of thirteen, which reduced 
them to a minimum and adopted a program of liberal state 
aid to the two railroads in process of construction — the Wil- 
mington road and the Gaston — and the projected enter- 
prises: the Fayetteville-Western, the Nags Head Inlet, 
Beaufort Harbor to somewhere on the Wilmington-Weldon 
(incidentally praising the harbor as unrivalled, as was 
shown by its use in the late war of '12), which would be 
called major projects, and such minor ones as a Raleigh- 
Fayetteville, and a Waynesboro (Goldsboro) -Raleigh rail- 
road and a Neuse river improvement above Newbern. 
Various efforts to change this were made, among them to 
the first class, a State-built turnpike to Greensboro, but this 
last was reduced to a survey. The financial side was taken 
up and a loan of $3,000,000 was recommended to carry out 
the plan, and a committee ordered to present the matter 
to the Whig Assembly. If Mr. Morehead balanced his 
national Whig principles against this local Eastern pro- 
gram, as he of course did, the explanation of his absence 
from this Convention is not far to seek. The east had 
actually captured the Whig organization through the course 
of Governor Dudley's Wilmington-Fayetteville and western 
program, with an Albemarle-Nags Head Inlet and Beaufort 
Harbor-Raleigh bait! It remained to see what the Whig 
Assembly would do with it. That can be told in few words : 
Nothing ; except the loan to the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad 
— a loan, because its state stock-holders were made liable. 
The redeeming feature of the Whig Assembly, however, 
was its presentation to the School districts of a constructive 
common school program for their acceptance, which seems 
to have been largely the work of President Swain of the 

An incident occurred before the Assembly adjourned 
which showed the Democratic, or Van Buren party, antici- 
pating the logical next step by Guilford county, began the 
attack on Senator James T. Morehead. They found in the 
Quaker Memorial against slavery, which was presented 
by request by Senator James T. Morehead of Greensboro, 


a morsel of great sweetness, and in this difficult fight against 
the Senator's brother's undoubted candidacy for Governor 
they made continual use of it. In defending both More- 
heads The Grecnsborough Patriot of February 18, 1839, 
described the authors of the Memorial : "in much the larger 
portions of the State the peculiarities of the Society of 
Friends are not understood, nor even know^n. Their princi- 
pal settlement is in this county, and we are well acquainted 
with their manners, habits and modes of thinking.' They 
are a peculiarly quiet, unobtrusive, orderly and intelligent 
people, and have their distinctive traits, which they have 
sustained for ages. They refuse the fashionable modes of 
speech and dress ; support their own poor ; celebrate their 
own matrimonial rites according to the simple forms of 
their own society only; pay particular regard to the rights 
and influence of women ; are forbidden in their discipline 
to hold public office ; interfere with the rights of no person, 
and refuse to wage war, even in self defense. They own 
no slaves. They are opposed to slavery. To use a phrase 
of their own — they bear a continual testimony against it. 
Yet they are not Abolitionists, in the sense in which the 
term is taken in the South. They would be as far from en- 
couraging disobedience or rebellion among slaves, or from 
consenting to their sudden and unprepared liberation, as 
the most devoted advocates of 'Southern rights.' They 
have been in the habit of petitioning the legislature for the 
'termination of slavery,' for a series of years past. The 
representatives of the people of Guilford have uniformly 
presented their memorials, knowing at the time that their 
prayer would be utterly fruitless — unheeded — forgotten — 
yet they discharged their 'bounden duty' to a respectable 
part of the constituency. Judge Dick (who, before he 
accepted the judicial bench, was the champion of the Van 
Buren party in this county), when a representative, pre- 
sented these memorials — and would, we doubt not, do so 
again under the same circumstances." This indicated the 

^ They centered about "New Garden," now Guilford College, the seat of 
the Quaker institution of that name about a half dozen miles west of Greens- 
boro, as it is now spelled. 


feeling on every hand that Guilford was to furnish the 
next gubernatorial candidate; for with all the Whig Con- 
gressional conventions during the spring, no candidate for 
Governor was named. 

This was due in some measure to the Whig fight for 
Congressional seats, which was most successful; but the 
first to enter the gubernatorial field was, as before, old 
Guilford county. She even anticipated the call for a state 
convention for that purpose. At her county Whig con- 
vention on August 20, 1839, it was "Resolved, that we 
esteem our fellow-citizen, John M. Morehead, Esq., as a 
republican in manners, in conduct and principle; a gentle- 
man and citizen of pure and elevated character — a states- 
man of eminently practical mind, and of enlarged and liberal 
views of public policy — a patriot devoted to the welfare of 
the State, and identified in all his interests with the honor 
and prosperity of North Carolina ; and that we recommend 
him to that convention and to the people of the State as in 
every way worthy to be her Chief Magistrate," while they 
yielded to the decision of the convention.^ 

Orange county followed. Moore county, on the 31st, 
said : "He is a patriot and statesman of generous and en- 
larged views of public policy, and closely associated in all 
his interests, with the honor and prosperity of North 
Carolina," and so they recommended him to the coming 
convention. Cumberland Whigs joined with them. Whigs 
of Surry followed. The Nezvbern Spectator said the East 
was falling in line : "Mr. Morehead has a large stake in the 
welfare and prosperity of the State. Its interests are his. 
He owns many slaves, is deeply embarked in manufacturing 
and mining, and possesses talents and acquirements fully 
adequate to the duties of the high station to which the 
people seem inclined to call him. He is besides, a Western 
man, and justice demands that we support a gentleman of 
that section, in reciprocation of its recent aid in electing 
a citizen of the east." Indeed the Spectator went so far as 
to say the east would be disappointed if Morehead were 

1 The Gresiisborough Patriot, 27th Aug., 1839. 


not nominated/ Stokes County Whigs joined them on Oc- 
tober 8th and Caswell on the 1st, and indeed by this time 
forty counties had acted. Rockingham, the county of his 
boyhood, on the 29th went so far as to speak of him as 
"a. native of Rockingham, whose plain republican manners, 
superior intellect, political honesty and practical talent as a 
statesman, eminently qualify him for chief executive of our 
State."- Then came the State Convention of November 
12th, which, "having been inspired with a deep and lively 
sense of the eminent practical vigor, sound Republican 
principles, unblemished public and private virtues, ardent 
patriotism and decided abilities" of Mr. Morehead recom- 
mended him to the people of the State. This followed the 
recommendation of the committee whose "attention has been 
forciby engaged by the practical energy, the sound Republi- 
can principles, the distinguished intellectual vigor, and 
fervid patriotism which are embraced in the character of 
our cherished fellow-citizen, John M. Morehead of the 
county of Guilford. Born, reared and educated among the 
honest yeomanry of North Carolina, all his heartfelt sym- 
pathies are with the people of this State. Severely dis- 
ciplined by a constant performance of the practical business 
of life, possessed of enlarged and liberal views of the policy 
of the State, and having inflexibly adhered to the principles 
of the republican creed of faith in every political emer- 
gency which has thus far passed over the State, we 
recognize in John M. Morehead a citizen in every view of 
his character, whom we deem eminently acceptable to the 
people of North Carolina as a candidate for the office of 
Governor of the State."^ 

^ The Greensborough Patriot, 8th Oct, 1839. 

^Ibid., 12th Nov., 1839. 

^ Both the Rockingham and State Whigs of course made the natural error 
of not knowing that he was two years old when he came to that countj', and was 
born in Pittsylvania County, Va. Indeed the North Carolina "wish, father to 
the thought," to have his birthplace in the Old North State has its adherents 
even to this day, and even among some of his relatives! Unfortunately, unlike 
Homer, the facts place him in Virginia by birth. 

As the Raleigh Standard, Democrat, of December 9, 1835, says, no other 
candidate was offered, although it intimates that some would liked to have been. 
It is in form of innuendo, however. The Star, a Raleigh Whig paper, of lith 
December, '39, says Mr. Morehead was spoken of as far back as the Legisla- 
ture of November, 1838, because of universal western enthusiasm for him and 
this was what decided the Raleigh convention — namely that no one else would 
satisfy the west. 


Mr. Morehead was notified by letter dated November 
13th, and on the 25th he penned his letter of acceptance as 
follows: "Gentlemen: Your communication of the 13th 
instant has been duly received, announcing to me, that the 
Convention of Delegates of the Whig party, assembled in 
the City of Raleigh on the 12th inst., has unanimously se- 
lected me as the Candidate of the Whig party for Governor 
of the State, at the ensuing election. 

"This flattering testimonial of respect, emanating from 
so respectable a source as that Convention, does not fail to 
impress me with a lively sense of the honor done me by that 
body; and, if there were no other reasons to influence my 
course, the respect I have for the wise heads, the pure 
hearts, and the well-established Republican principles of 
those who composed that Convention, would make me hesi- 
tate long before I would gainsay their wishes. 

"But I know I shall be pardoned by that Convention, 
when I say that considerations, higher than those already 
suggested, combine in making up the decision to which I 
have come. 

"I view the Convention as emanating directly from the 
people, and as reflecting their wishes and their will. They 
have found themselves grossly deceived by those in whom 
they heretofore placed confidence. They were promised 
everything, every thing, that the simplicity, purity, honesty 
and economy of our Republican Institutions could require. 
Instead of finding those pledges fairly redeemed, they have 
witnessed with mortification and regret, the Federal Ex- 
ecutive, repeatedly endeavoring to fix upon them the compli- 
cated machinery of his Sub-Treasury and that, too, after 
they have repudiated his notions and rejected his scheme. 
From manifestations in the late Presidential Tour, we may 
again expect the wishes of the people to be set at defiance, 
and another attempt made to force this scheme upon them. 

"If this attempt is again made, the issue will be fairly 
made up between the President and the People — to say 
whether he or they shall govern. 

"On the one hand we shall behold the President and his 
ofificial myrmidons, greedy for the onset, with their banner 


unfurled, bearing the insulting inscription — 'To the Victors 
belong the Spoils' — on the other, we shall see the People — 
Freemen — the sons of the Whigs of the Revolution, who 
knew no 'Victors' and who offered no 'Spoils,' but the havoc 
committed upon invading legions. 

"If the same spirit now burns in the bosom of the sons, 
that animated the sires, the issue cannot be doubtful. The 
star-spangled banner will be thrown to the breeze, and the 
glorious motto — 'E Pluribus Unum' — shall fioat in triumph ; 
and the minions of power and of corruption will vanish 
before the blazing indignation of an injured people, like the 
morning mists before a glorious sun. 

"The People were promised by the last administration, 
in the footsteps of which the present was to tread, the 
cleansing of the 'Augean stable,' and the same purity that 
characterized the purer days of the Republic. In the days 
of Washington, Jefferson and Madison qualifications for of- 
fice were honesty and capacity. 'Is he honest?' 'Is he 
capable?' — and office-holders were strictly enjoined from 
becoming political partisans, and from interfering in elec- 
tions. In the present day, behold the melancholy contrast! 
The qualifications now are, if we judge by the result, 
unquestionable dishonesty, utter incapacity to discharge the 
duties of the office, but extraordinary capacity to serve 'the 
Party;' entire unwillingness to pay the people their money, 
but great readiness to pay the levies made upon salaries and 
embezzlements for the support of 'the Party.' 

"Posterity will certainly do the present Administration 
the justice to say, that no prior one has manifested more 
signal ability in the selection of its officers for the purposes 
of the office, than the present has manifested in the selec- 
tion of its officers for the purposes of the party. And if 
there be any doubt upon this question, reference to the ex- 
traordinary abstractions from the Treasury, and to the 
nuisances committed in most civil communities by official 
political brawlers, will certainly remove that doubt. 

"The People were promised honesty and strict ac- 
countability from the Officers of Government; and by way 
of earnest in redemption of that pledge, one Tobias Wat- 


kins, a defaulter of some $4000 under the Administration 
of Mr. Adams, was ferreted out, hunted down and incar- 
cerated ; and the people well hoped that all other public 
swindlers would be dealt with in like manner. 

"They have been told again and again, 'by Authority,' 
that 'all was well' — that the Government was greatly 
blessed in the ability and faithfulness of its Public Officers ; 
but recent investigations have brought to light corruption, 
dishonesty, and official dereliction, that are truly startling 
and alarming. And the people, to their sorrow, have learned 
that a falsehood 'by Authority' is more pernicious to 
their interests, than a falsehood 'without Authority.' And 
they verily believe, if they shall ever be so fortunate as to 
have another Administration, that will bring defaulters to 
justice, all the Penitentiaries attached to the Sub-Treasury 
Bill will not hold the Tobiases that will then be discovered. 

"Economy is a word that seems to have been stricken 
from the nomenclature of the present Administration. It 
has become a bye-word and a jest. The Expenditures of 
the Government, increased from thirteen to thirty odd 
millions, show what the party in power mean by the word. 
An empty Treasury and a bankrupt Government tell the 
people how grossly they have been deceived. 

"The people are at length awakened from their lethargy 
and security, and aroused to their danger. They no longer 
regard glossy messages and partizan demagogues. They 
have have determined to think and act for themselves. 
They are moving in their primary Assemblies. They 
are determined, by united action, to put an end to 
that misrule, which has bankrupted the Government, cor- 
rupted its Officers and brought universal distress upon 
every class of the community, except embezzling Office- 

"Your Convention was the offspring of that determina- 
tion ; and no person can unite with the people more 
heartily than I do 'in the great struggle' for correct prin- 
ciples, which the Whigs are now endeavoring to maintain. 

"At no period of my life, could this call have been made 
with more inconvenience to myself, than the present ; but 


as it is the wish of the people that I shall be their Candidate, 
I 'accept the nomination.' And, for this expression of their 
kind consideration, I pledge them whatever of ability and 
of zeal I possess, in the noble cause in which we have em- 

"Before closing this communication, I desire to sub- 
mit a few remarks in relation to two subjects in which 
North Carolina has much at stake. I allude to the Public 
Lands, and to the subject of Abolition. 

"North Carolina ceded to the United States a large 
Territory. She is equally interested, with the other States, 
in all the Public Lands. Her interest in these Lands is 
worth millions upon millions ; and if she could receive her 
share of the proceeds of those Lands, every poor child of 
the State could be educated, and every work of Internal 
Improvement successfully prosecuted. The President has 
left us nothing to hope from that quarter, and it remains 
for the people to say whether Jiis zvill shall govern them, 
or their will shall make him cease to govern — whether he 
shall be sovereign, or they shall be sovereign. As a North 
Carolinian, I will never consent to surrender this ample 
patrimony of our old North State. 

"On this subject of our domestic institution of Slavery, 
I should suppose there could be but one opinion in the South, 
among men who have capacity to think. 

"The emancipation of our slaves among us would lead to 
consequences too direful for contemplation. And no man 
will meet with more uncompromising hostility, than I will, 
the very first fanatical or unconstitutional aggression made 
upon this institution, guaranteed to us by our Federal 

"The people's attention should be drawn to the fact, 
that some rickety understandings, and hypocritical poli- 
ticians, are continually conjuring up the awful charge of a 
union between the Abolitionists and the Whigs — not be- 
cause they have such apprehension, but to prevent the dis- 
covery of an actual union and cooperation of the Abolition- 
ists with the present Administration, ever since they re- 
ceived that withering rebuke at the hands of Mr. Clay. 


"For weal, or for woe, my destiny is fixed in North 
Carolina — my prospects for future prosperity are attached 
to her soil — and whatever I now have, or ever expect to 
have, will be protected by her institutions. 

"For your kind expressions of regard towards me, ac- 
cept, gentlemen, individually, my sincere thanks, and for 
the distinguished honor done me by your Convention, 
accept collectively, and in their behalf, the profound ac- 
knowledgment of your most obt. serv't 

"John M. Morehead." 

There was an absolutely clear expression on every 
national subject for which the Whigs and Mr. Morehead 
stood. His attitude on slavery, at least on its abolition, could 
not be more explicit. His record as to free negroes voting 
had been unequivocally and vigorously in favor of it, as it 
had been for the education of the negro. He had slaves ; 
but he had, like his brother, and Democratic representatives 
like Judge John M. Dick of Greensboro, presented the usual 
Quaker memorials against slavery, when requested by that 
part of his constituency. Like multitudes of Democrats, as 
well as Whigs, Mr. Morehead did not believe in slavery; 
but it was a system entwined in our institutions, even in the 
national constitution ; therefore, he was likewise neither 
for wholesale abolition. In short, he was for the con- 
stitutions of state and nation and American institutions as 
they were and had been from the beginning, and consider- 
ing slavery a curse to the American people, but an existing 
fact. Such a position was not to be understood, however, 
either by defenders or by attackers of slavery; the pro- 
slavery Southerner or the Abolitionist Northerner; and he 
was not the only leader who was destined to be misunder- 
stood ; who was to hold to the constitution until it should be 
properly amended. Such men, however, were liable to be 
between the hammer of the Abolitionist and the anvil of the 
large Slave-holders; those far away from slaves, but mad 
for their freedom, and those in the midst of a slave popu- 
lation, often larger than their own, and fearful of a holo- 
caust — an uncontrolled Frankenstein. Mr. Morehead held 
the same position as the man who, as President, refused to 


touch slavery so long as the constitution was preserved ; 
and who, as all students of history now know, was himself 
between the same hammer and anvil: between those who 
were able to call the constitution a league with the Devil and 
a covenant with Hell, and those who so far agreed with them 
as to be ready to join in breaking it. On these points his 
position was unmistakable. That he was for a national regu- 
latory bank was no less certain ; his language was too vivid 
on- that point to be misunderstood, as it was on the personal 
government of Jacksons and Van Burens. 

On the state issues, however, there was a possibility of 
his being misunderstood. He was a western man, to be 
sure ; but he was not a man merely for the west. Localism, 
or sectionalism, had prevailed in North Carolina since the 
death of Murphy and President Caldwell; even a Gaston 
was unable wholly to cast off its shackles, and a Swain stood 
helpless against it. Mr. Morehead's first entry into the 
arena of the commonwealth was as a disciple of Murphy, 
and his second as an advocate of the measures proposed by 
"Carleton," the pseudonym of President Caldwell. He 
carried their banners boldly — so boldly indeed that he had 
been a marked man ever since. Theirs was not a benumb- 
ing localism or sectionalism, but a statemanship for the 
whole commonwealth ; and not merely for the whole, as 
superior to a part ; but for the organic nature and stature 
of a state with a unifying development. The vision of a 
Murphy and a Caldwell seemed to have been forgotten in 
the sectional struggle for dominance, or the desperate ef- 
fort to staunch the flow of Carolina's commercial blood into 
the arteries of neighboring states. There was an instinct 
among some of the people that this builder of factories, 
opener of mines, developer of farms, advocate of justice, 
friend of both races, and creator of a school of higher edu- 
cation for women was the man to turn to at this juncture. 

Three weeks after the new Whig candidate for Gover- 
nor penned his letter of acceptance, and white common 
schools were preparing to open all over North Carolina, Mr. 
Morehead, on December 16th, issued an announcement, 
which appeared first in the Patriot, that "Edge worth 


School," as he then called it, would open for the first time 
on January 1, 1840, with Dr. S. P. Weir as Principal and 
Miss M. A. Hoye, late of Princeton, vice-Principal, former 
Principal of the "Greensborough Female Academy." It 
was designed to be a school of higher education for young 
women throughout the South, and was soon destined to 
have pupils from West Virginia to Texas. In an announce- 
ment of 29th October, 1839, he says the Edgeworth grounds 
contain about twenty acres adjacent to his own residence, 
and that he designs it to be "a school of the first class — and 
it shall be such — or it will be abandoned." 

When "Edgeworth School" had been in operation about 
a month, the editor of the Patriot had the following to say 
of it — the only description of the interior known. "The 
building occupies a retired, though not remote situation, 
on a gentle rise of ground, at the western part of the vil- 
lage. It is of brick, fifty-six feet long by thirty-eight in 
width ; two stories, with a basement and attic ; covered with 
tin. The cornices, doorways, and attic windows (which lat- 
ter stand out to the view with good efifect) being finished 
in a chaste and uniform style of architecture — a stately 
and feminine appearance is imparted, which strikes the 
passer-by as peculiarly appropriate. The interior is ar- 
ranged and fitted up in a style of neatness and elegance, 
and with a view to the health, convenience and comfort of 
the pupils. Each of the principal stories is divided by a 
spacious passage, containing a flight of stairs. On the left, 
as one enters from the street, are the recitation rooms ; and 
on the right, rooms of the same size, yet having large folding 
doors between them, which, when thrown open, give to both 
apartments the advantage of a spacious hall. The attic story 
is occupied as a dormitory, and its spacious dimensions, and 
airy situation adapt it well to its purpose. Connected with 
the main building, is a smaller one, containing an apartment 
for the sick, a dining room, and other apartments necessary 
for a domestic establishment. When the extensive grounds 
surrounding the School shall be enclosed, and improved as 
contemplated, by the laying out of walks, and pruning the 
native growth — it will make a temporary home for the pupil. 


the recollection of which will be called up with pleasure in 
all her after life." He then adds: "Success to it! — success 
to the Caldwell Institute ! — Success to the contemplated Fe- 
male Collegiate Institute! and last, but not least, success to 
Common Schools in our County and our State !" This might 
be considered an omen of a new period to be ushered in by 
the new State leader, candidate for its highest office, a 
Whig — and much more. 



Whig Leader and Governor 


The First Railways 

The newly nominated Governor, John Motley Morehead, 
the candidate of the Whig west, was not a member of the 
Harrisburg Convention, or more serious effort would have 
been made to nominate Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky 
instead of General Harrison and John Tyler of Virginia, at 
the December meeting, 1839. And he had not long to wait 
to know whom the Democrats would name to join him in 
the first state canvass in the history of the commonwealth, 
like had already been begun in Tennessee ; for in January 
his rival to be, Hon. Romulus Mitchell Saunders of Caswell 
county, also accepted a nomination. Judge Saunders should 
have been a Whig, as he studied law under Judge Hugh L. 
Wliite of the Tennessee Supreme Court. He was five 
years older than Mr. Morehead and was about that length 
of time ahead of him in public life in both houses of the 
Assembly and in Congress. He was Attorney General in 
1828, but on his appointment in 1833 by President Jackson 
to the French Claims Commission, resigned ; while on his 
completion of that service in 1835 he became a Judge of the 
Superior Court. He therefore came into the campaign 
with great prestige, and the forthcoming canvass was bound 
to be a most remarkable contest. 

While preparations were making for entering upon it, 
however, some great events were introductory and destined 
to be a considerable aid to it as well. These were the com- 
pletion of North Carolina's first two railroads in March, 



when the first train passed over the whole Wilmington and 
\\'eldon Railroad on the 7th of that month.' Closely fol- 
lowing this event, on the 21st of that same month, the 
first train from the north over the Raleigh and Gaston 
Railroad steamed into the capital, to rival in interest the 
little "Experimental Railroad" to the quarries which had 
served so well to convince the state of the feasibility of these 
larger ones. The Raleigh Register of 24th March, thus 
celebrates it: 

"Phizzz — zzz — zzz" 

"This is as near as we can come in type towards express- 
ing the strange sound which greeted the ears of the 
assembled population of our city on Saturday evening 
last. About 6 oclock of that day, the first steam loco- 
motive that ever snorted amongst the hills of Crabtree 
reached the limits of our city and was enthusiastically 
welcomed with every demonstration of joy. The bells rang, 
the artillery roared and the people cheered. Huzza! 
Huzza!! HUZZA!!! The Raleigh and Gaston Railroad 
is completed and no mistake. The passenger cars are ex- 
pected here tonight, and we jolly Cits can now amuse our- 
selves with Railroad incidents until the Assembly meets. 
'Last bell. Sir, last bell! Hurry, Sir; hurry, Ma'am!' — 
'Where's my trunk ? I carn't go till I see my trunk — a round 
top, kivered with flowered paper.' 'All safe. Ma'am! — all 
in the baggage car.' Phizz-zzz-zzz — ding, dong, bell — 
ding, dong, bell. 'Make haste, make haste!' 'Oh my! Mr. 
Zeigenfuss, I've dropped my bag!' 'Get in. Ma'am!' 
'Gracious, you've almost jerked my calash off my head.' 
'Please Mr. Zig' — Phizz — clack-clack-clack — lack-lack- 
lack — ack-ack-ack — ck-ck-ck — K-K-K — Azvay they go! 

"Magnificent enterprise! We have now actual demon- 
stration of that, which no man would have believed thirty 
years ago to be within the compass of human power. Truly 
has it been said, that the last few years have unfolded more 

^ The last nail was driven at 12.00 noon and the first train from Wilming- 
ton reached Weldon a 9 P. M. The road was 160$ miles long, the longest road 
then in all the world. For a town of but 3500 people, Wilmington's achieve- 
ment was most remarkable. 


that is novel, vast and wonderful, than the whole eighteen 
centuries of the Christian era. 

"The Raleigh and Gaston Railroad is 86 miles in length, 
and has been constructed altogether by individual stock- 
holders, the State having uniformly declined embarking in 
the enterprise. More than usual difficulties have presented 
themselves in the progress of the w^ork, over and above the 
natural obstacles, but they have all vanished before a de- 
termined purpose and never-tiring energy. The whole line 
is now finished, is said to be admirably built, and reflects 
high credit on the President, Engineer, Assistants, and in- 
deed, all connected with its construction. We hail the 
rumbling of the first locomotive as the glad omen of future 
prosperity to our city and country, and feel that we shall 
not be disappointed.'" 

It was natural that Wilmington and Raleigh should 
formally celebrate these events, and the President, Dudley, 
should invite his successor to join them at the former city 
on April 15th. Mr. Morehead would have entered upon 
his campaign sooner had it not been for a critical illness of 
his wife, but when the crisis was passed, she insisted that he 
proceed on his duty. He had accepted the Wilmington in- 
vitation and was speaking on April 7th, at Germanton, in 
Stokes county, where he himself was temporarily ill. By 
the 15th, when he was at Wilmington he had issued the 
following eastern itinerary: I.Waynesboro, the 18th; 2. 
Kinston, 20th; 3. Trenton, 21st; 4. Newbern, 23rd; 5. 
Washington, 27th; 6. Halifax, 30th; 7. Jackson, May 1st; 
8. Edenton, May 4th ; 9. Hartford, 6th ; 10. Elizabeth City, 
7th; 11. Camden C. H., 8th; 12. Currituck C. H., 9th; 13. 
Windsor, 12th; 14. Williamston, 13th; 15. Nashville, 16th; 
16. Louisburg, 18th; 17. Oxford, 20th; and Raleigh, May 
22nd. The address at Wilmington in connection with the 

1 Raleigh Register, March 24, 1840. The Wilmington & VVeldon road was 
161 miles long and at their celebration which began on the 9th and lasted sev- 
eral days a gun was fired for each mile. Water from the Roanoke, Tar and 
Neuse Rivers were brought and formally mixed and Wilmington was elabor- 
ately illuminated at night. This was then the longest completed road in the 
world. The Raleigh and Gaston road had four engines, its largest one, "Tor- 
nado," was made in Richmond, weighed 6A tons and hauled 30 loaded cars. 

The Raleigh people celebrated, in a splendid three-day session, both the 
completion of Qiedr railroad and the new capitol, beginning on June lO, 1840. 


celebration was not replied to by Judge Saunders, who had 
sent his regrets; but it became a most auspicious opening 
of the Whig campaign. 

One of the best contemporary pictures of the Whig 
gubernatorial candidate, was that of a correspondent who 
witnessed the forensic battle between Judge Saunders, his 
Democratic rival, and himself at Snow Hill in Greene 
county on May 14, 1840. "This has been a great day for 
Snow Hill," he writes. "Never since the days of the 
Giants, have our white sand-banks been the arena of so 
great intellectual war, as we have witnessed today." Then 
describing how the two rivals came in after a 56-mile ride, 
while the Presidential-Elector, James W. Bryan, was speak- 
ing, he shows Mr. Morehead opening the debate, which 
"continued until candle-light." "As a Whig," the corre- 
spondent explains, "I may be pardoned for believing that 
Mr. Morehead bore away the palm. His broad good- 
humored countenance, lighted up with perfect good humor, 
is occasionally irresistible. He has winning ways to make 
men love him. The strength and energy and unwavering 
directness with which he marches up to, and attacks the 
positions of his adversary, levelling stroke after stroke in 
precisely the right place, tell with tremendous effect. The 
caution and care with which he fortifies his own positions, 
make it no easy matter for him to be out-generalled. The 
indignant denunciations which he pours out upon the powers 
that be, for their mal-practices, falling upon minds, believing 
or strongly suspecting them to be true, uttered with an air 
of honest scorn, which his hearers are convinced cannot be 
assumed, create an impression hard to be removed. But 
he who supposes that General Saunders is but a play-thing 
for Mr. Morehead, or for anybody else ; he who thinks he 
cannot and does not ably defend himself, have mistaken the 
man. Some parts of his speech were truly eloquent, and 
worthy of a better cause ; and none will more cheerfully 
say so than the Whigs. In his youthful days. Gen. S. was 
a patriotic Whig, and so deeply imbued with good feelings, 
that even his connection with this blighting administration 
has not been able entirely to destroy them. They occasion- 


ally burst out even now, and, like the verdant spots in the 
desert, are welcomed with heart-felt pleasure in proportion 
as they are unexpected and rare. The debate was conducted 
with fairness — and, with a single exception, with courtesy 
and kindness, that exception, I know, a cause of regret to 
both of those gentlemen, as it is to their friends. Tt was 
a hasty spark, and soon was cool again.' 

"On one subject, however, Gen. Saunders did not give 
satisfaction, even to his friends. Mr. Morehead stated that 
he had heretofore called on his competitor to say what were 
his views in relation to the Public Lands, and that he had 
declined to give them. He today called emphatically for 
his opinion on the subject, but, like the spirits from the vasty 
deep, they would not come. He did not and would not, 
though repeatedly asked to do so, say one zvord about the 
matter, only 'that he had not time to talk about it.' 

"li we can judge from the deportment of the two com- 
petitors, the Whig cause must succeed. Mr. Morehead is 
certainly buoyant with hope. General Saunders may hope, 
too, but if he does not carry about him a somewhat dejected 
air, there is no truth in Physiognomy."^ 

Of Mr. Morehead, The Carolina Watchman had re- 
cently said : "There are few men who can combine so many 
popular qualities as John M. Morehead. Highly gifted by 
nature, he has acquired much scientific and practical infor- 
mation. With an eloquence, strong, clear and convincing, 
he combines the rare qualities of genuine wit. He is hon- 
orable to the 'minutest tittle — brave, manly, generous and 
affable. His morality has never been questioned. His 
social qualities would be a hindrance to almost anyone else 
in their march through life, but no blandishment of pleasure 
— no allurement of ease can stay his progress when business 
or duty calls. He is such a man as we delight to honor, 
and such a one as the people are always willing to advance. 
But such as he is, it must be said to his honor, he has made 
himself. He was once a poor boy on the banks of the Dan 
River, working to get a little money to enable him to go to 

1 The Raleigh Register, May 19, 1840. 


a Latin school. Now he would confer distinction on the 
office for which he is presented to the public. We, there- 
fore, say that in this, as well as in many other things, the 
Convention has done well.'" Among other things said of 
him were the following: "Without fear and without re- 
proach;" "carries his recommendation in his countenance;" 
"perfect gentleman, able civilian and sound politician;" 
"shook hands with the unwashed ;" "the plow-boy of Guil- 
ford," and the like. 

Without attempting to follow the details of the canvass, 
a few instances may be used as illustrations : 

The gubernatorial canvass in Granville county seat, 
Oxford, May 20, 1840, is thus described: "The discussion 
of the candidates lasted till night. We were all delighted 
beyond our calculations. Judge Saunders opened the de- 
bate, spoke three hours and a half, and delivered a speech 
that did him much credit ; for a Van Buren man, it was can- 
did and open. We were somewhat uneasy, and began to 
think his ingenuity could not be successfully answered. 
But, soon after Mr. Morehead rose to reply, we found our 
fears were groundless. His speech was admitted, on all 
hands, to equal, if it did not surpass any speech ever deliv- 
ered here. At times, his audience were enchained by his 
eloquence, and then again amused, beyond expression by 
the introduction of humorous caricatures of the Powers 
that be. In his replies to some of the remarks of Judge 
Saunders, he was very caustic and severe, which produced 
some interruption by the Judge. But nothing was gained 
by it, as Morehead's facts were so strong, and illustrated 
by so much good temper and good humor, that they could 
not be successfully resisted."^ 

A little later, on Friday, May 22, 1840, they met at the 
capital city and spoke in the old Baptist Church. Here 
"Mr. Morehead opened the discussion," says the editor of 
the Register, "and exposed in a masterly manner the cor- 
ruptions and extravagances of the Administration — the dan- 
gerous features of the plan reported by the Secretary of 

1 March, 1840. 

'Raleigh Register, 26tli May, 1840. 


War, for establishing a Standing Army — which plan, ob- 
noxious as it was, received the approbation of the Presi- 
dent. He pronounced it a fit instrument to make slaves 
of us all — particularly when united with the Sub-Treasury 
— a measure which struck at the very root of our credit 
system — reducing all prices to a specie standard, and en- 
abling the President, by an increase of his already immense 
patronage, to exercise an improper and corrupting influence 
over the elections. He exposed with great ability the mal- 
feasance of the Secretary of the Treasury in permitting 
defaulters to continue in office, after the heaviest defalca- 
tions, in some instances, without even requiring bond for 
the security of the public revenue. He replied in the most 
indignant terms, to the charge of being an Abolitionist, 
which was brought against him by a certain leader of the 
Van Buren party, in a meeting held in this place a short time 
after his nomination, and reminding 'the Party' that the 
same process by which this Orator sought to prove him an 
Abolitionist, would fix it on nearly all their own leaders 
in the Convention. Messrs. Branch (who was run for Gov- 
ernor by the Van Buren Party), Marsteller (Collector of the 
Port of Wilmington), Daniel (Judge of the Supreme 
Court), Parker (late Van Buren elector), Quinn, Graves, 
Morris (run by 'the Party' against Mr. Deberry), Mont- 
gomery (Representative of 'the Party' from this District), 
Kimbrough Jones (who was presiding at the very meeting 
the Orator was addressing), and many others, 'good and 
true' men to the Administration, gave the same votes that he 
(Mr. M.) did. Many parts of Mr. Morehead's address 
were truly eloquent, and frequently his caustic sarcasm 
and pleasant humor elicited the applause even of those who 
were opposed to his political principles. We do not recol- 
lect ever to have listened to a more powerful and interesting 
political speech. The open, candid countenance of the 
speaker, the earnestness of his manner, united with the 
strength and clearness of his arguments, were calculated to 
produce conviction on the minds of all who were not blinded 
by prejudice." 

Judge Saunders' speech is then described, after which. 


"Mr. Morehead rejoined briefly, when a humorous sparring 
between the candidates, producing much amusement, con- 
cluded the conflict of the day.'" 

In June he began his western itinerary in the county next 
north of Guilford. 

A good description of Mr. Morehead's style in speak- 
ing, during the gubernatorial campaign, has come down to 
us from an "Observer," who happened to hear the two at 
Wentworth, Rockingham county, the boyhood home of the 
Whig candidate: "Mr. Morehead is more rapid in his 
speaking, yet his enunciation is equally distinct and impres- 
sive as his opponent's. His language is strong and forcible, 
and never wanting at his call; — unlike the spirits of Hot- 
spur — the words will 'come at his bidding.' By his great 
command of language, with the fact of his speaking more 
rapidly than Mr. Saunders, he is enabled to say much more 
in a given time. His gestures are better, more varied, and 
more energetic than his competitor's ; and on the whole he is 
a more interesting speaker : but decidedly his superior in the 
opposite qualities of pathos and humor. Indeed these last 
seem to be totally zvithout the range of Judge Saunders, 
whether from choice or necessity, I know not: while Mr. 
Morehead is peculiarly happy in both. Each of them 
spoke about three hours. . . . Mr. Morehead made an 
able reply ; in which it appeared, as the Danville Reporter 
remarked — he had Morehead, a better head, and a better 
cause, than Judge Saunders. . . . and the denouement, 
when he spoke personally of himself, was truly pathetic. 
He is, I understand, a native of this county, and resided 
at this place when, poor and friendless, he commenced the 
practice of law ; and in alluding to this circumstance and 
other personal circumstances, he could not well have been 
surpassed. It is said that one 'cannot speak eloquently of 
self ;' but in the face of this maxim, I say he was truly elo- 
quent; never were my feelings so completely carried with 
another's. He conformed, too, to the Horatian precept in 
the 'Art of Poetry,' 'Si vis me flere, delendum est, primiun 

1 Raleigh Register, 26th May, 1840. 


ipsi tibi/ 'if you would have me weep it behooves you first 
to weep.' Mr. Morehead did actually shed tears, and the 
sympathetic tears stood in the eyes of many of the audience. 

The efifect was electric; and I will venture to say there 
was scarcely one who did not feel the force of this eloquent 

By the midde of June, the Guilford Tippecanoe Club had 
built a portable "log cabin" with "Hard Cider" attachment 
and were familiarizing themselves with such songs as the 
following, as were all other Whig districts in the state : 

"Harrison and Tyler for the Union 


"Morehead for the 'Old North' 

('Rosin The Bow') 

"Old Rip will fight under this banner, 

With the pluck of a soldier that's tnie : 
He'll not be the hindmost in battle 
With him of old Tippecanoe. 

"Old Rip will soon wake from his napping, 

And make every spoiler look blue, 
With a hearty hurrah for Jack Tyler 
And a round for old Tippecanoe ! 

"Old Rip will call at his log cabins. 
And rouse out the voters a few. 
Whose thunder will tell next November 
For the hero of Tippecanoe. 

"And when he's fixed up in the White House, 
The farmer and patriot true, — 
We'll drink in the mug of hard cider, 
The health of old Tippecanoe. 

"Then, adieu to your Swartnants and Prices, 
And little leg-trousers, too ! 
He'll sack every rogue of a spoiler — 
He sacked 'em at Tippecanoe. 

"In the halls of our wise legislators, 

To his country he ever proved true ; 
At Meigs, at the Thames and the Raisin, 
And also at Tippecanoe. 

^ Greensboro Patriot, 16th June, 1840. 


"Then, success to the Son of old Guilford ! 

The old Rip, ever faithful and true; 
'Old Virginny,' success to thy Tyler ! 
And triumph to Tippecanoe !"^ 

Guilford sent a fine delegation on July 4th, to the great 
Whig celebration at Salisbury, composed of the Guilford 
Tippecanoe Club and the Guilford Guards, who, at 6 A.M. 
of the 2nd, with their Log Cabin on wheels and about 2000 
people went to Edgeworth School, where the ladies of the 
School, headed by Miss Hoye, presented the Club with a 
beautiful banner, on one side of which was a Log Cabin 
with "Republican Simplicity vs. Loco Foco Arrogance" and 
on the reverse side a barrel, presumably of hard cider, 
surrounded by a green wreath and thirteen stars, w'ith 
"Once more to the rescue, dear friends, once more ;" while 
the staff was surmounted by a model of a plow. The pro- 
cession then stopped in front of Dr. Mebane's, where the 
Guards were hkewise honored with a banner, presented by 
Miss Mary Corinna Morehead, as the work of herself, her 
sister and Miss M. E. Mebane. It had on a white field an 
American Eagle, with a scroll in its beak — "On to Victory," 
and on the reverse the legend "Merit Wins the Prize" en- 
closed in an elaborate wreath. The presentation address of 
both Miss Hoye and Miss Morehead were responded to by 
Mr. Ralph Gorrell and Mr. John A. Gilmer, respectively.- 
The procession contained the Log Cabin, drawn by six white 
horses, and the chimney was made to emit smoke, while a 
barrel marked "Hard Cider" was strapped on behind and 
the cabin draped with deer skins, raccoon skins, buck horns, 
and many relics of Guilford battle ground, from which the 
poles of which the cabin was made were cut. They also 
had a canoe drawn by four white horses. Other WHiigs 
followed with large blue silken sheet variously inscribed 
on one side: "The Sons of Old Guilford," "Against the 

1 Clippings in possession of the Misses Caldwell, Greensboro, N. C. "Old 
Rip" of course is "Rip Van Winkle," Senator Preston's (S. C.) jeering name 
for North Carolina when she refused to endorse nullification. 

" Greensboro Patriot, 14th July, 1840. These flags are now in possession 
of the Greensboro Public Library. Miss Mary Corrina Morehead was but fif- 
teen years old and her sister, presumably Miss Letitia Harper, was two years 


Standing Army," "Against the Sub-Treasury," "Against 
Van Buren;" and on the other "The Sons of Old Guilford," 
"For Harrison and Tyler," "For John M. Morehead," 
"For Retrenchment and Reform." This was the spirited 
part they took in the great Salisbury celebration of about 
12,000 people on July 4th. They were helping transform 
the Van Buren Baltimore Republican sneer, that if the 
Harrisburg nominee. Gen. Harrison, "had a barrel of hard 
cider and a pension of $2000, he would sit the rest of his 
life contentedly in a log cabin," into a slogan of victory! 
And this was a sample of what was occurring in most coun- 
ties of the nation! 

On Mr. Morehead's return from his mountain canvass 
on July 6th he answered some detractors as to his vote on 
the laws prohibiting immigration of free negroes into the 
State, in 1826; he said he voted against the bill first because 
of the 5th section, but on third reading he succeeded in get- 
ting that removed and another Wilmington man secured 
the removal of three other sections, whereupon he voted 
for the bill as it was passed into law. Incidentally, he 
said the Salisbury meeting was the largest meeting ever 
held in the State and never had such enthusiasm pervaded 
the Whigs.' 

Then on August 13th, came the state elections, and, said 
The Patriot: "The Old North State Greets the Union 
With the Thrilling Forces of Triumph ! !" "To the 
eminently practical mind and eloquence of John M. More- 
head, our distinguished Countryman, more than to any 
other man in the State, is to be attributed this triumph of 
TRUTH — of Principle — of THE PEOPLE!" Guilford 
went 1742 majority and the state went 8080 majority for 
him, or 44,508 votes with both houses of the Legislature.- 
Thereupon his old county of Rockingham on September 
19th announced a festival in honor of their old-time son 

1 The Patriot, Aug. 11, 1840. 

- On the day of his election a second son, James Turner Morehead, named 
after his brother, and bearing the same name as his distant cousin, Ex-Governor 
James Turner Morehead of Kentucky, was born. 

Governor-elect Morehead stimulated almost every enterprise he came in 
contact with. Amongst multitudes of enterprises he had a share in was the 
Greensboro Tannery, owned by Morehead & Willis, who on Sept. 8, 1840, ad- 
vertised for an e-xpert in that line. 


and invited all the surrounding counties' Whigs to join them 
at Wentworth on the 29th of October. The Caswell County 
Whigs announced a similar program for October 1st, and 
the Patriot and other papers which had headed their 
columns with: "For Governor, John M. Morehead. For 
President, William Henry Harrison. For Vice-President, 
John Tyler," now headed them only with the Presidential 
names in preparation for the November election; and on 
October 5th, the Whigs held a great convention in Raleigh 
in which delegations from the counties vied each other in 
its most picturesque banners and emblems. "Whig in 1776 
and Whig in 1840" was one of the most common. On the 
second day of the Convention it was that there was sung 
a song, written to a favorite concert air of several young 
ladies who requested it of Judge Gaston, the now famous 
song of the commonwealth, "The Old North State Forever," 
which was thereupon first published in The Raleigh 

"The Old North State Fore\'er 

"Carolina ! Carolina ! Heaven's blessings attend her ! 
While we live, we will cherish and love and defend her; 
Tho' the scomer may sneer at, and witlings defame her,^ 
Our hearts swell with gladness, whenever we name her. 

Hurrah ! Hurrah ! The Old North State forever ! 

Hurrah ! Hurrah ! The good Old North State ! 

"Tho' she envies not others their merited glory, 
Say, whose name stands the foremost in Liberty's story? 
Tho' too true to herself, e'er to crouch to oppression. 
Who can yield to just rule more loyal submission? 
Hurrah! &c. 

"Plain and artless her sons, but whose doors open faster. 
At the knock of the stranger, or the tale of disaster? 
How like to the rudeness of their dear native mountains. 
With rich ore in their bosoms, and life in their fountains? 
Hurrah ! etc. 

^ This doubtless referred to the gibe of Preston of South Carolina, who was 
incensed because North Carolina wouldn't follow his own state in nullifying 
measures a half dozen years before and called her "Rip Van Winkle." 














































»— 1 

/— V 














t ; 




























o e 

e « 

> u 

o u 










"And her daughters, the Queen of the forest resembling, 
So graceful, so constant, yet to gentlest breath trembling, 
And true lightwood at heart, let the match be applied them. 
How they kindle and flame ? Oh none know but who've tried them ! 
Hurrah ! etc. 

"Then let all who with us, love the land that we live in, 
(As happy a region as on this side of Heaven) 
Where Plenty and Freedom, Love and Peace smile before us. 
Raise aloud, raise together, the heart-thrilling chorus — 

Hurrah ! Hurrah ! The Old North State forever ! 

Hurrah ! Hurrah ! The good Old North State ! 

The big Wentworth festival followed and it was here 
that Governor-elect Morehead explained why, although he 
had canvassed the state "from the mountains to the sea," 
he did not set out on the campaign as early as he expected 
to do, the reason being that she who was dearer than life to 
him "was sick unto death;" that as soon as the physician 
said she might live, and before she could turn herself in bed, 
she said to him: "Go and do your duty to your country!" 
Thereupon the people enthusiastically gave three times three 
cheers for Mrs. Morehead. Again, like Homer, Rocking- 
ham tried to claim him as her native son — which he was, es- 
sentially, since he was but a two-years-old babe when his 
family moved across the river a few miles into another 

The fame of the new Governor-elect spread over the 
country and an elegant new steam-boat launched at Cin- 
cinnati, was christened "Gov. Morehead" in his honor.^ At 
a dinner to Secretary of the Navy Badger, in Raleigh, Con- 
gressman W. P. Mangum's Washington letter was read and 
it contained a toast to "John M. Morehead — the able and 
patriotic Executive; his friends will not forget him — his 
enemies cannot." To this Governor Morehead responded in 
a happy vein, a part of which was prophetic, namely, when 
he said he "trusted that he should in his effort to direct 
Internal Improvements of the Old North, and to cultivate 

1 Greensboro Patriot, 8th December, 1840. This may be true; but when 
one knows that Kentucky had Governor James T. Morehead from 1834 to 1836, 
only four years before, one wonders whether it might not be named for him, 
especially as he was slated for the U. S. Senate as colleague of Henry Clay, at 
that time. 


its intellectual condition, so entitle himself to their respect, 
that neither they, their children, nor their children's chil- 
dren could forget him.'"^ And he might have added — 

Following these festivals came the national election in 
which "Old Guilford," "The Old Dominion," as it was often 
called by the Whigs, even increased the Harrison vote to 
1886, or 144 more than for Morehead. The Whigs swept 
the land. At the Assembly in Raleigh, which then met, 
Mangum and Graham were made national Senators. The 
electoral college of the State gave all fifteen votes to Har- 
rison, the majority in the commonwealth being 12,594. The 
new Whig Assembly was the first to meet in the new 
capitol and the new census appeared, showing North Caro- 
lina with far the smallest increase in population since 1790, 
namely, but 18,469 — about one-fifth of that of the preceding 
census, one-fourth of that of 1820 and nearly the same ratio 
for those of 1800 and 1810. The increase in slaves 
was but 455 ; while there were 22,724 free persons of color. 
The white population was 487,298 and the slave population 
246,917 — a total of 756,939.- The financial disorganization 
of the past decade and the attractions of the west accounted 
for this meager increase ; and consequently the great Whig 
revolution and the great impetus to the railroad movement. 
This was the condition that accompanied the Guilford 
county Governor-elect and his family at the close of 1840, 
when they arrived in Raleigh to locate in the renovated and 
restored "Government House," at the foot of Fayetteville 
Street, used for the past decade by the Assembly, since the 
destruction of the capitol in 1831, and now to again become 
the Executive Mansion. For the new Whig Assembly, 
whose session was now nearly over, had moved up to capitol 

^ Greensboro Patriot, 23rd Nov., 1841. The Governor's salary at this time 
was $2000 only. The Justices of the Supreme Court received $500 more. The 
free white population of North Carolina at this time was 484,870 and the free 
colored population, 22,722, a rather strikingly large number, while the slaves 
numbered 245,817 — practically half of the white number. The total of all was 

^ North Carolina's increase was 2%, the same as Virginia, South Carolina 
and Delaware. Marj-land was still lower and Connecticut lower than Maryland. 
These were lowest of all the states. The great increases were in the west and 
the greatest in the northwest, Michigan being as high as 590%, altho' Arkansas 
and Mississippi were very high. 

The Governor's Mansion, 1840 

at tlie foot of Fayetteville St., Raleigh 

IJrawiiig by Miss Einnia Morehead Whitfield, Kichmond, Va., from a 

photograph in the Hall of History, Raleigh 


square in preparation for their new Governor. Nor did 
the Greensboro Patriot think much of the work of that As- 
sembly; but spoke of it as an "honorable, dignified, fidgety, 
diddling, do-nothing assemblage," whose greatest achieve- 
ment was adjournment. It did, however, come to the relief 
of Governor Dudley's railroad with a $300,000 loan and 
support of the credit of the Raleigh & Gaston ; created 
three new counties in the west ; improved the school laws ; 
provided for a State Library, and last, but not least, im- 
proved the incorporation act of 1836 of the North Caro- 
lina Railroad Company, providing for individual subscrip- 
tion of $1,000,000 to build a railroad from Beaufort Harbor 
to the Wilmington road presumably at Waynesboro 
(Goldsboro). The asylum acts — orphan and insane — did 
not pass. But, all this was under the close of Governor 
Dudley's term. 

The new capitol, the stately Greek temple that still 
stands stained with over four-score years of time, was so 
nearly complete that not only the new Whig Assembly was 
the first legislature to meet in it; but on January 1, 1841, at 
high noon, the ancient oaks of the original forest which 
surrounded it witnessed the gathering in the hall of the 
House of Commons, Governor Dudley leading, in which 
the first inauguration of the chief executive was to take 
place. Chief Justice Ruffin, whose bronze statue now graces 
the Supreme Court building, administered the oath to the 
second Whig chief of the state, whereupon Governor 
Morehead delivered a brief inaugural. 

"Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Commons," he 
began, "In obedience to the requisition of the Constitution, 
I have appeared before you and have taken the oath pre- 
scribed, before I enter upon the duties of the Executive 
Office, to which I have been called by my fellow citizens of 
North Carolina. 

"I assure you it is with unfeigned diffidence that I enter 
upon the discharge of these high duties ; and if I may not 
hope to bring as much ability into the Executive Chair as 
now leaves it, I will yet endeavor, in the discharge of my 
official duties, to rival the zeal of him whose seat I am now 


about to occupy: And I shall be more than fortunate, if 
at the expiration of my term of service, it may be said of 
me, as it may be well said of him, 'Well done thou good 
and faithful.' 

"I desire to discharge my duties as it becomes the Gov- 
ernor of the State, and of the whole State; I desire to be the 
Executive of the People, and of the zvhole People; and it 
shall be my constant endeavor so to discharge those duties, 
that the laws suggested by your wisdom — and by the wis- 
dom of those who have gone on before you — shall be so 
administered that all the beneficial results anticipated may 
be fully realized. 

"I shall be happy to cooperate with you in bringing into 
active operation all the elements of greatness and of useful- 
ness with which our state is so abundantly blest. 

"Other States have outstripped us in the career of im- 
provement, and in the development of their national 
resources — but North Carolina will stand a favorable com- 
parison with most of her sister States, in her national 
advantages — her great extent of fertile soil — her great va- 
riety of production — her exhaustless deposits of mineral 
wealth, her extraordinary water-power, inviting to Manu- 
facturers — all, all combine to give her advantages that few 
other states possess. 

"Whatever measures you may adopt to encourage Agri- 
culture, to induce the Husbandman, while he toils and 
sweats, to hope that his labors will be duly rewarded ; 
whatever measures you may adopt to facilitate Commerce, 
and to aid Industry in all the departments of life to reap 
its full reward, will meet with my cordial approbation. 

"And I am happy to find that the action of one of your 
bodies has anticipated a suggestion that I had intended to 
make: I allude to the subject of opening Roanoke Inlet. 
This is a work, if practicable, of the first importance to 
North Carolina; it is a work in which the State is deeply 
interested — recent surveys, conducted by scientific skill, 
have shown that the work is practicable, and if so, it should 
be certainly executed. 

"The Commerce and Navigation of the Nation would 

The Caimtol 

Raleigh, North ("arolina 

as it is today, unchanged since 1S4U 


be greatly benefited by it — and if there be any work which 
the Federal Government ought to execute, and which steers 
clear of all Constitutional objection, this is the work. 
Thousands of dollars are yearly spent to improve the navi- 
gation of rivers within the limits of some of the States, 
whilst this would be an improvement by which the Atlantic 
itself would be introduced within our borders. 

"If the General Government cannot execute a work of 
this description, or if it can and will not, then do we derive 
but little advantage from our Federal association ; we 
should not ask the execution of this work by the General 
Government as a boon, but demand it as a right, and I hope 
the time is not far distant, when the application of North 
Carolina to the General Government for her rights, will not 
be disregarded; therefore, whatever duties you may choose 
to assign me, to bring this subject to the attention of the 
General Government, will be most cheerfully performed. 
As there may be another session of Congress before our 
legislative body may meet again, and as is probable no 
action will be taken on the subject at this session of Con- 
gress, I would respectfully suggest that any communication, 
which you may direct to be made, should be made to the 
next session of Congress as well as to this. 

"It is equally our duty, fellow citizens, to attend to our 
moral and intellectual cultivation, for upon this depends 
our continuance as a free and happy people. Our State 
possesses in her University, an institution that will com- 
pare favorably with any other in the Union, at which a 
portion of our youth can be well educated — we have a num- 
ber of Academies and other high Schools at which another 
portion can receive excellent educations; but it is to our 
Common Schools, in which every child can receive the rudi- 
ments of an education — that our education should be mainly 
directed. Our system is yet in its infancy — it will require 
time and experience to give to it its greatest perfection ; our 
Literary Fund should be carefully husbanded and increased, 
and I doubt not, in due time, the Legislative wisdom of the 
State will perfect the system as far as human sagacity can 
do it. And no part of my official duty will be performed 


with more pleasure than that part, which may aid in bring- 
ing about that happy result. 

"Nothing so surely indicates the happiness and pros- 
perity of a people, as numerous School-houses well filled, 
during the week; and Churches well crowded on the Sab- 
bath, and the latter is sure to follow the former. If we 
desire to perpetuate our glorious political institutions, we 
must give to all our people moral and intellectual cultivation 
— that man who improves his intellect for six days of the 
week, and, on the seventh, endeavors to give it the proper 
direction, from the precepts of our Holy Religion, who 
learns to do unto others, as he would they should do unto 
him — that man icill never become a Tyrant — and lie can 
never he made a slave. 

''Believing, as I do, that comity and good feeling should 
exist between the General Government and all the members 
of the Confederacy — I shall endeavor, while I have the 
power to preside over North Carolina, on every occasion 
that may offer, to meet them with that courtesy to which 
they are justly entitled — and which a due self-respect and 
the dignity of our State require should be shown. 

"I will cheerfully yield to the General Government all 
the powers to which it is entitled, from a fair and proper 
construction and interpretation of the Constitution — while, 
on the other hand, I shall carefully maintain, protect and 
defend the rights which pertain to our own State. 

"I shall be extremely careful to see that North Caro- 
lina, when she speaks in her sovereign character, has a 
right to speak — and when she does so speak, through her 
great seal — the emblem of her sovereignty — zvhile I have 
the honor to control it — it must be — it shall be respected.^ 

"The days of our political existence, under our present 
happy form of government, are numbered, when States shall 
permit their sovereignty to be contemned and their great 
seals to be scoffed at and disregarded. 

"In a word, fellow-citizens, whatever measures you may 

iThese expressions were due to many acts of Presidents Jackson and 
van Huren, which were the cause of the Whig uprising. 

Governor John Motley Mc;reiiead 

in 1841 

From a print in possession of Lindsay Patterson 

Winston-Saleni, N. C. 


adopt to advance the prosperity of our State, and the happi- 
ness of our citizens, will meet with my hearty cooperation. 

"I cannot conclude my remarks without congratulating 
you and myself, upon the time and place of our meeting. 
This splendid edifice has nearly approached its completion. 
You are the first legislative body that ever had the honor 
to assemble in its splendid Halls. I am the first Executive 
that ever had the honor to be installed within its durable 
walls. It will endure as a monument, for ages to come, of 
the munificence, liberality and taste of the age in which we 
live. There is a moral effect produced by the erection of 
such an edifice as this — it will serve, in the chain of time, to 
link the past with the future. And if ever that proud spirit 
that has ever characterized us — which has ever been ready 
to assert its rights and avenge its wrongs — which exhibited 
itself at the Regulation Battle of 1770 — which burnt with 
more brilliance at the Mecklenburg Declaration of Indepen- 
dence in 1775 — and which totally declared for Independence 
in 1776 — even if that proud spirit shall become craven in 
time to come, and shall not dare animate the bosom of a 
freeman — let it look upon this monument — and remember 
the glorious institutions under zvhich its foundations zvere 
laid, and the noble people by zvhom it zvas reared — and 
then let it become a slave if it can. 

"May it endure for ages to come — may it endure until 
time itself shall grow old — may a thousand years find these 
Halls still occupied by Freemen, legislating for a free and 
happy people.'" 

The new Governor in a new capitol, representing a new 
political life in the state, was now about to fulfil so far as 
was in his power, the ideals he had voiced in this body in 
the old capitol twenty years before, with such vigor and 
determination that he was now the first choice of that west 
as soon as it found a voice. He had been twenty-five years 
old then; now he was forty-five, and was a national figure. 
His predecessor, while a Whig, was essentially a compromise 
eastern man ; but John Motley Morehead was no compro- 

^ Raleigh Register, Sth Jan., 1841, and elsewhere. 


mise candidate. He had won North Carolina, as a Whig 
and man of the west, in the greatest political contest ever 
waged in the commonwealth. Not that he was the first 
chief executive from the west ; for six western men had 
been Governor of North Carolina before him, out of the 
twenty-six under the commonwealth. "Old Guilford" had 
furnished one of them, Alexander Martin, whose home was 
its first county seat, and he had served twice and was a 
Federalist; but Governor Morehead was the first western 
man since Governor Martin, who had not been chosen as a 
Democrat, or, as they were often styled in earlier days, 
"Democratic Republican." His election, therefore, was 
more of a revolution in North Carolina than any event since 
the era of independence began; and this was what attracted 
national attention to him, and likewise gave him a new 
prestige over other executives of the state, because it made 
him the recognized political leader as well as Governor. A 
North Carolina chief executive was severely an executive, 
with almost no other powers ; the receptacle of power was 
in the Assembly. As also a political leader, however, 
Governor Morehead acquired more power potentially than 
previous executives ; and to this was added the force of his 
unique personality and his infectious enthusiasm. Since this 
Assembly would not meet again, and the next in two years 
might not be Whig, his duties for that period would be 
purely executive, and he was handicapped at the beginning. 
One of the most interesting of these latter, was a requi- 
sition on him from Governor A. G. McNutt of Mississippi, 
first presented to him while he was attending the inaugu- 
ration of President William Henry Harrison at Washington 
on March 4th. He then drew attention of the Mississippi 
agent to grave defects in the requisition for a man charged 
with stealing and carrying off a slave, such as no copy of 
an indictment nor the use of the state seal as required by 
national law. The requisition was dated February 10th, 
and on March 17th it was again sent by the agent with the 
defects still existing, whereupon Governor Morehead made 
a detailed reply on these points and sent them to Jackson. 
From that time on no less than twenty papers and letters 


passed between the two executives. On October 7, 1841, 
Governor Morehead said, in a letter: "Therefore the Execu- 
tive of Mississippi has no right to make the demand, nor 
have I the right to make the arrest." For as the case pro- 
ceeded it became evident that not only were the papers 
defective, but that it was a case of persecution for another 
cause. The matter covered almost a year, and while it was 
in course Governor Tucker became the Mississippi execu- 
tive, and in a letter of January 31, 1842, announced the 
voluntary surrender of the man Sanders which closed the 
incident. The case was discussed in the Senate of Mis- 
sisippi during that long period, when Senator Ives of that 
state, in defending the course of the North Carolina execu- 
tive, said that he had the honor of a personal acquaintance 
with him and that if the Whigs recovered their ascendency 
of early 1841, Governor Morehead "might yet preside over 
a republic as well as a state !" This seems to have been 
the first suggestion of his name for the Presidency of the 
United States, but it was by no means to be the only one. 
This, however, was some time after his inauguration in 
January, 1841. 

With this latter event came news in February, that specie 
payments would be resumed in North Carolina and her 
sister states northward, Maryland taking the lead, as if to be 
ready for the inauguration of President Harrison in March. 
This was hardly disseminated, when reverse news came 
that the United States Bank of Pennsylvania had suspended 
specie payments which would cause suspension in all states 
southward — a course that was charged to New York banks. 
North Carolina was cheered, however, by news of Mr. 
Badger's selection as Secretary of the Navy in the Har- 
rison cabinet, a Newbern and Raleigh jurist recognized as 
one of the greatest lawyers in the United States, and in the 
same class as his fellow townsman, Judge Gaston. This 
was a Morehead year, for besides a Governor Morehead 
and Senator Moreland in North Carolina, Kentucky sent, 
as successor to Senator Crittenden, who became Attorney 
General at Washington, a v/estern representative of the 
family, Ex-Governor James T. Morehead, so that there were 


two Senators James Turner Morehead, at this time. But 
it was also a year of blasted hopes for every Whig every- 
where, for on April 4, 1841, President Harrison's death 
was announced, and President Tyler's first announcement 
of his policies left one subject as a source of apprehension 
to every Whig, namely, his attitude toward restoration of 
the United States Bank to regulate the currency. To test 
that apprehension, Henry Clay, as chairman, reported a 
bank bill and by August 6th it had passed and been sent to 
President Tyler. Ten days later the Whigs of America 
received a shock more vital, if possible, than the death of 
their late President, for it w^as the announcement of the 
political death of President Tyler in his veto of the Clay 
bank bill! The act was softened slightly, however, by his 
signature of the repeal of the Sub-Treasury bill but he 
again irritated them by vetoing a somewhat similar bill for 
a "Fiscal Corporation" on September 9th, when they knew 
they had no longer a Whig President, and began to suspect 
him of creating a "third party." Then came the resig- 
nations of his Whig cabinet, except Secretary of State 
Webster, and formal Whig denunciation of Tyler as their 
President. The next logical step was for a sentiment to 
spring up for Henry Clay as the next Whig leader, because 
of his bank bill to cure the financial ills from which the 
country had suffered so long. 

While these events were in progress in April, Governor 
IMorehead was at Greensboro arranging the removal of his 
family to Raleigh and installing them in the Executive Man- 
sion at the foot of Fayetteville Street, where he had made 
such improvement as he was accustomed to have at "Bland- 
wood." And among his improvements was an ice-house, 
which, because of the want of more serious issues, his 
political opponents were to make locally famous ! The 
Governor's family now consisted of eighteen-year-old Miss 
Letitia Harper Morehead, "sweet-sixteen" Miss Mary 
Corinna Morehead, and fourteen-year-old Miss Ann Eliza 
(H), with a boy of eight, John Lindsay Morehead, named 
for the Governor's father and Mrs. Morehead's family, a 
girl of five, Emma Victoria Morehead, and the election-day 


babe-in-arms, James Turner Morehead, named after the 
Governor's younger brother, Senator James T. Morehead of 
Greensboro. The older daughters, of course, spent the 
school year at Edgeworth Seminary. The Executive Man- 
sion was placed in as attractive condition as the Governor 
had been accustomed to keep "Blandwood," w^hich was one 
of the notable residences of the state; and his life now was 
spent at both ends of Fayetteville Street. In the Executive 
office at the southwest corner of the first floor of the new 
capitol. Governor Morehead had inherited from his prede- 
cessor a free colored messenger and attendant, Luns ford 
Lane, who had purchased his freedom of Mrs. Sherwood 
Haywood of Raleigh, and who, after six months with Gov- 
ernor Morehead, found it necessary to leave the. state be- 
cause of general feeling against free negroes, and he 
became a well-known lecturer in the Abolition agitation in 
the north.^ The Governor and his family spent three weeks 
in August at his old home. 

His first aggressive work was in connection with the 
reclamation of Swamp lands in the Sound peninsula. 
Governor Morehead's appointment of Ex-Governor Dud- 
ley to this service, although he soon resigned, led to their 
personal examination of those lands, and on Wednesday, 
June 16, 1841, the borough of Washington, Beaufort county, 
gave them a complimentary dinner at which Major Thomas 
H. Blount presided. Among the toasts was one — "Our dis- 
tinguished guest, Governor Morehead : He has introduced 
into the administration of the state, the 'go ahead' principles 
which have illustrated his private life." In his response he 
showed that glowing faith in the possibilities of North Caro- 
lina for which he was so well known, dwelt upon the im- 
portance of the reclaimed swamp lands, credit for which he 
gave to his predecessor as a bold and original conception, 
designed to raise the common school system through its 
wealth.- By September the Governor was able to advertise 
50,000 acres of swamp lands on the watershed of Hyde 
county between the two sounds, into which two canals six 

' Lunsford Lane, by Rev. Wm. G. Hawkins. 
^ Washington Whig. 


miles long drained them. They were to be sold at auction 
on the Pungo canal on November 30th — at which, it may 
be added, none were sold because no bid was equal to the 
required minimum. His interest in this, however, was 
bound up in his interest in the common schools, because it 
was the basis of funds for that purpose. He therefore put 
able men on this board and that on common school funds as 
well, and gave both his personal attention. 

He was at Chapel Hill at the University Commencement 
as President of the Board of which he had been a member 
for over a dozen years and during the summer issued, as 
President of the Literary (or Common School) Fund, the 
county incomes from it — a total of $54,608.99, from which 
such counties as Orange, Rutherford, Guilford and a few 
others received largest amounts. It was this fund the Gov- 
ernor was trying to increase in sale of reclaimed swamp 
lands. It was expected that the next one would be twice 
that amount. Indeed Governor Morehead's stimulating 
suggestive spirit unconsciously permeated every department 
of the state's thought and activity. He spent two weeks in 
October in Greensboro and on his return early in November 
attended a meeting of the Wilmington and Weldon Rail- 
road, representing the state, and a public dinner to Ex-Sec- 
retary of the Navy, Mr. Badger, at Raleigh, in which he 
responded to a toast to himself. About this time the effect 
on agriculture and commerce for about fifty miles each 
side of the new railroads was beginning to be so noticeable 
that some leaders like Mr. Gales of the Raleigh Register be- 
gan advocating a turnpike from Raleigh to the Tennessee 
line. The enthusiasm over the growth of public schools 
was so great that it was believed this new era would stop 
the great emigration and produce immigration also. At the 
Badger dinner Governor Morehead offered the toast: 
"The physical and intellectual resources of North Carolina. 
Her citizens have long esteemed the one — the Union now 
esteems the other." This was typical of the new spirit in 
the entire state. 

Early in December the Whigs in Orange county started 
the ball rolling for the next Presidential and Gubernatorial 


elections, by nominating Henry Clay for President, and 
Governor Morehead to succeed himself, saying: "That we 
heartily and cordially approve of the Administration of our 
able and patriotic Governor, John M. Morehead." Early in 
January, 1842, soon after he had presided at the Bank of 
North Carolina board meeting, whose condition was excel- 
lent, the Democratic Convention met, determined to take 
advantage of the anomalous Whig situation — having a 
President who was no President ! — , and nominated a Fay- 
etteville man, Louis D. Henry, who might be thought of as 
so near the eastern and western line as to be of both sections. 
The contest against Governor Morehead was avowedly be- 
cause he was a Whig. Late in the same month news came 
of the failure of the Girard Bank, Philadelphia, one of the 
greatest in the Union — and every such event was bound to 
be disastrous to the party in power. Governor McNutt of 
Mississippi was issuing public letters glorying in that 
state's repudiation of her debts. The situation was so grave 
that during the previous summer various Governors were ad- 
dressed by a W. A. Kentish of London, asking their consid- 
eration of a plan to make one head state bank to function 
like the Bank of England, for each state, and then these to 
cooperate to secure uniformity. As a result the Democrats 
were encouraged and the Whigs had a tremendous fight on 
their hands. County Whig conventions were wide awake 
during the winter and spring endorsing Clay and Morehead, 
and the Democrats were, if anything, even more active, the 
Raleigh Standard leading the attacks on the Governor, all 
of them almost as significant as the ice-house episode and 
all, even though insignificant, proven false. Candidate 
Henry began his operations even as early as March, 1842; 
and in desperation the Standard began to speak of "John 
Moonshine Morehead." 

On April 4, 1842, the anniversary of the death of Presi- 
dent Harrison, the Whigs held their State Convention in the 
Hall of the House of Commons, Raleigh ; and the Register, 
of that city, said "It was the largest and most imposing 
political assembly ever convened in North Carolina with the 
exception of the mass convention of 1840." It avowed itself 


for Clay for President and Morehead for Governor, the 
"whole official conduct" of the latter meeting their "hearty 
approval" and "his integrity, intelligence, impartiality, dili- 
gence and economy in administering the offices of the State" 
winning their desires "with one heart and one voice" that he 
be re-elected. While admitting that a canvass by a Gover- 
nor for re-election was not ordinarily advisable, they thought 
the needs of the present in public affairs so important that 
his opponent ought not to be allowed to preempt the field 
and thought Governor Morehead ought, in this instance, to 
make a canvass. Governor Morehead was called from his 
office on the first floor to the Hall of the Commons on the 

Mrs. John Motlev jMorehead 
I'roni a portrait liy William (iarl Broune, 1855 



Whig Leader and Governor 


The First Railways 


In response to his re-nomination Governor Morehead 
said : "Mr. President — I should be wanting in candor to 
myself, were I to say that the Resolution just read is un- 
expected to me. I could not feel, Sir, that I was an indiffer- 
ent spectator to the proceedings of my fellow-citizens 
throughout the State in the numerous primary meetings 
which have been held for the purpose of appointing Dele- 
gates to this Convention. But a few short weeks have 
passed, since our opponents held a similar meeting in this 
place, and I was denounced as having done nothing to 
meet the approbation of the people. And, I did therefore 
look, Sir, with interest and anxiety, to see what verdict the 
great body of my fellow citizens would pass upon me. At 
every meeting, Sir, since held, my conduct as Executive of 
the State has been cordially approved, and the judgment of 
these meetings, I am proud to perceive from the Resolution 
just read, is endorsed by this highly respectable body. 

"When, Sir, I entered upon the duties of my Office, as 
Governor of North Carolina, it was with a determination to 
deserve the confidence of the whole people; and so far, as 
I had the ability to do so, my conduct has been rigidly 
shaped to produce that result. From that desk, Sir (point- 
ing to the president's seat), when I took the oath of office, 
I declared my intention to be the Governor of the State, of 



the Whole State, and not of a Party; and I have not only 
endeavored to act up to that declaration, but think I have 
done so. And, notwithstanding the harshness with which I 
have been denounced, I am still resolved to be the Governor 
of the State, and not of a Party. It is true, that the posi- 
tion, in which I am now placed, may compel me, of neces- 
sity, to mingle in the party politics of the day — I cannot 
be the candidate of a party, and not show some party 
feeling — but such feelings shall never enter into the dis- 
charge of my official duties. 

"It would, Mr. President, be extremely gratifying to me, 
if canvassing the State could be dispensed with, and I am 
pleased to find that the Convention deprecate in their Reso- 
lution, as a general rule, the example of an incumbent of 
the Executive Chair conducting the canvass in person. 
But, Sir, I am also gratified to perceive, by the terms of the 
Resolution, that while the example is deprecated, the 
Whig party have no idea of chaining down their candidate, 
while hosts of writers, belonging to the opposition, are 
poisoning the public mind, and even their Candidate is 
traversing the State, engaged in the same work. The 
people of Old North Carolina go for fair play. Sir; 
they will never consent, that in a contest of this kind, one 
man shall hold my feet, another my hands, and a third stand 
by gouging all the time ! No, Sir ; but when such foul play 
is shown, they will come to the rescue. 

"Sir, after the manifestations of confidence which I have 
received at the hands of the Whigs, as well as in primary 
meetings, as from this Convention, I should not deserve 
the name of a true Whig, if I did not cheerfully accept 
the nomination. When, in 1840, the banner was committed 
to my hands, bearing the glorious name of Harrison, and 
those of Tyler and Morehead, and when. Sir, was run up 
the last gaff, I took especial care it should never be lowered 
until victory had crowned our efforts. But, Sir, a shadow 
has passed over the flag of our prosperity, and the most 
brilliant name on it has been erased. In its place is left 
the shadow of Abstraction — I should rather say of distrac- 
tion; but if my own humble name be the only one which 


shall be emblazoned on its folds hereafter, I will again bear 
it aloft in triumph from ocean wave to mountain top. No 
man deserves the name of Whig, who suffers himself to 
despond. Though death has stricken down our glorious 
old Chief, and his substitute has deserted our colors, we 
should never despair. Our Revolutionary fathers waged 
a seven-years' war to accomplish American Independence, 
and they would have fought seven times seven years, be- 
fore they would have given up the Ship. And shall we, 
their degenerate sons, feel that the measure of our glory 
is full, because we are called on to labor two short cam- 
paigns? If, Sir, there is to be found such a thing as a 
tvavcring Whig (though I have never seen or heard of one), 
I would address him in the language of Bruce to his 

Soldiers — 

"Wha can be a traitor knave? 
Wha can fill a coward's grave? 
Wha so base as be a slave? 

Traitor ! Coward ! turn and flee. 

"Sir, there is no mistake about North Carolina, or her 
political position. I predicted the success of the Whigs 
in 1840, and I predict a still more brilliant victory in 1842. 
I was no false Prophet then — I shall not, I am confident, 
prove one now. We have resolved again to deliver our 
country ; but if, by any possibility, we fail, then we shall 
have only ourselves to blame. We have a decided majority 
in the State, and our good old mother expects every Whig 
to do his duty !'" 

As the Convention closed General Alfred Dockery, the 
President, said this presidency of a convention that nomi- 
nated Henry Clay for the national executive and John 
M. Morehead for that of the state was the greatest legacy 
he could leave to his children. In the evening the Governor 
gave a reception to the Convention members and to leading 
citizens. He at once began to form his itinerary : May 3rd, 
at Greenville; May 10th, at Snow Hill; 16th, at Waynes- 
boro; 18th, at Halifax; 19th, at Jackson; 24th, at Smith- 

^ Raleigh Register, 19th April, 1842. 


field ; 27th, at Hillsboro ; and Fayetteville on June 7th. On 
May 17th The Register said in predicting a brilliant victory 
in August: "All eyes are now turned on North Carolina; 
and the Whigs throughout the Union regard her as the 
Gibraltar of sound principles, and as again destined to stop 
in its mad career the ball of Loco Focoism." This was 
reinforced by the election of a North Carolinian, Senator 
Mangum, as President of the National Senate. Governor 
Morehead's speaking at Hillsboro brought him near the 
University, where he again performed his duties as Presi- 
dent of its governing board. 

The most notable debate of the whole gubernatorial 
campaign of 1842, was when Governor Morehead went di- 
rectly into the enemies' camp, Fayetteville, the home of his 
rival, Louis D. Henry. "We have just witnessed the great- 
est intellectual contest that has ever occurred in North 
Carolina," says the Fayetteville Observer. "The candidates 
for the office of Governor have been engaged for ten hours 
and thirty-five minutes, without any intermission, in a most 
animated discussion of all those points of national and state 
politics which divide the two great parties whose repre- 
sentatives they are. Commencing at eleven o'clock A.M. 
Mr. Morehead spoke for two hours, when, agreeably to 
arrangement, he gave way to Mr. Henry, who spoke for 
three hours and ten minutes (the last hour and ten min- 
utes by the courtesy of Mr. Morehead and his friends, the 
agreement having been that each should speak but two 
hours at a time). Mr. Morehead rejoined for two hours 
and forty minutes, Mr. Henry two hours more, and Gov- 
ernor Morehead forty-live minutes ; — closing the debate at 
35 minutes past 9 o'clock at night — Air. Morehead having 
occupied 5 hours and 25 minutes and Mr. Henry 5 hours and 
10 minutes. 

"There were hundreds of persons present, many of 
whom never left the ground to get a mouthful to eat during 
the whole of the protracted period ; many of whom stood for 
hours together in one spot ; and many of whom closed their 
stores and workshops, so that there was a general sus- 
pension of business. A number of gentlemen were here 


from Robeson, Moore, Richmond, Bladen and Sampson 
counties, whose chief business in town was to witness this 
first meeting of the riv^al candidates. 

"And what a glorious meeting it has been for the Whigs ! 
Never party had a more honest, a more gallant, a more 
able, or eloquent leader than John M. Morehead ! And never 
leader had more unequivocal marks of the enthusiasm with 
which he inspired his auditory. He received the warm con- 
gratulations of a large number of his friends, who accom- 
panied him to his lodgings, at the victory, which their joy- 
ful faces, not less than the woe-begone countenances of a 
few of his opponents who were to be seen, so plainly told 
him that he had gained. It was indeed a victory ; a vic- 
tory not won without a struggle, a powerful struggle, main- 
tained with all the ardor, all the eloquence, all the tact, all 
the art, for which his adversary has gained no little repu- 
tation. The collision was conducted with fairness on both 
sides, as well by the candidates as by the people ; for which 
all parties deserve great credit. 

"It is not possible that we should give our readers any 
more than the outline of the debate. The Governor com- 
menced by defending himself from the various charges 
which have been made against him, as well by his opponent 
as by the press. The charges of his having proscribed 
public officers for opinion's sake he met fully and satis- 
torily. So far from proscribing any such persons, he had 
re-appointed Democrats to office whenever he had found 
them in office. The two Democrats to one Whig, whom 
he found in the Literary Board, he re-appointed. One of 
them decHned to accept, because of his private business. 
The other did accept, and held the place till he was about to 
remove to Baltimore, when he resigned. He filled the 
vacancies with the most proper persons he could find (ex- 
Governor Dudley and Mr. Gales) — gentlemen who could 
advise with him usefully in regard to the duties of the 
Board. Neither had he proscribed the Democrat who be- 
longed to the Improvement Board — he had re-appointed 
him also. He had been bitterly assailed by Mr. Henry 
and his party organs for proscribing for opinion's sake, a 


Democrat from the little office of keeper of the public 
buildings at Raleigh. He showed in reply to this charge, 
that there was no such officer known to the law till the last 
act of the Legislature, under which he made the first ap- 
pointment ; consequently, that there could be no proscrip- 
tion from an office which had no existence. That, more- 
over, the 'proscribed' man who had possession of the Keys, 
before the office was created, was intemperate ; and above 
all, the Governor was informed that he was a Whig! — and 
had voted the Whig ticket. So that in no particular was 
the charge true. 

"He stated fully his disposition of the money appropri- 
ated by the last Legislature for furniture and repairs of 
the Governor's house. How he had to expend some of his 
own money to complete the furnishings of the house; how 
he had used but $1200 of the $3000 which a committee of the 
Legislature, with a Democratic member from this county 
at its head, had reported as necessary to repair the house, 
fences, etc. ; how he had expended the enormous sum of 
$75 to build an ice-house on the lot ! (His own ice-house at 
home had cost him twice as much.) 

"Having disposed of these and other equally important 
charges with which he had been assailed, he passed to an ex- 
amination of Mr. Henry's letter of Acceptance, and of his 
political tergiversations, at the close of which he read from 
the letter a passage declaiming most strenuously on the im- 
propriety of tarnishing the public credit, and the duty of 
every man to maintain that credit at all hazards. As a fit 
commentary on these fine sentiments — on paper — the Gov- 
ernor stated that he was informed, and gave Mr. Henry 
the name of his informant, that at the close of his service 
in the fat office which Gen. Jackson bestowed on him, he, 
Mr. Henry, had had the Government draft for his pay 
protested — the credit of his own friends and favorite ad- 
ministration tarnished — and for what ? Why, -that he might 
thus make his draft receivable for public dues at New York, 
sell the exchange on New York thus created at a premium, 
and thereby add to his salary of $3500 a year, the additional 
sum of one or two or 300 dollars ! So much for Mr. Hen- 


ry's patriotic regard (on paper) for the public credit! Mr. 
Henry entered into a long explanation which amounted to 
an admission of the fact, justifying it on the ground that 
he was entitled to good money (hard money) for his pay, 
and as well as we could hear, stating that as far as he could 
recollect he had only made about $30 by the operation. Such 
is the measure of his patriotism! Weighed against $30, 
the public credit, the credit of his own friends, by whom he 
had been most liberally rewarded, kicks the beam! 

"In his reply, and indeed throughout both his long 
speeches, the burden of Mr. Henry's song was, the glory 
of Gen. Jackson's services, and a denunciation of Banks of 
all sorts, State and National. He lugged in Gen. Jackson 
on all occasions. Never did little Van hang on to the Gen- 
eral's tail with firmer grasp than Mr. Henry! He had 
never differed from Gen. Jackson on but one point, and 
that was upon the Deposit Act (an act under which 
North Carolina has received upwards of fourteen hundred 
thousand dollars). He blamed the General for that act. 
But everybody knows that the General made a merit of ne- 
cessity in that case. He saw that an overwhelming ma- 
jority of Congress would pass it in spite of his veto. 

"But the Banks, Mr. Henry said, were corrupt; they 
were 'manufactories of rogues and swindlers ;' they were 
rotten ; political machines ; lending their money to effect 
political ends; he himself had 'fallen among thieves' in 
having anything to do with them. Most effectually did 
Governor Morehead turn these charges against their maker. 
He said that for his part he didn't know much about Banks ; 
he had but little to do with them. But Mr. Henry seemed 
to him to be very fond of the company of these 'thieves, 
rogues and szvindlers/ for after having been a stock holder 
in the old State and Newbern Banks ; after having served 
as a Director and Attorney in one of these for many years, 
he goes right oft" in 1834, when the new Bank of the State 
was chartered, and subscribes for some thirty shares of its 
stock, and again consents to become a partner with these 
'thieves,' to become Attorney for this 'manufactory of 
rogues and swindlers,' and to participate in the profits of its 


'roguei*}'.' [This was a deserved rebuke for such vilely false 
charges against the Banks. We say vilely false; for it is an 
imputation upon those who are directors of the Banks, and, 
as one, we repel the imputation. Whether true of himself, 
when he was a director, we know not, nor care not. We 
have served in that capacity with an honorable man of Mr. 
Henry's own party, and we are willing that he should say 
whether he believes or knows that political feeling ever 
influenced the conduct of himself or his associates.] 

"The Governor extorted from Mr. Henry the admission 
that he was in favor of the U. S. Bank up to the veto Mes- 
sage in July, 1832. He then asked him how he could be 
favorable to it, if it had done all the mischief that he had 
attributed to it in 1819-20, 1828-29, etc., and had never 
regulated the currency nor done any other good thing? 
Air. Henry replied that he did not know of these things 
till after the veto. What! not know of the Bank's evil and 
corrupt conduct, when one of its branches was located at 
his own door? No, he knew nothing of them. Well, you 
surely knew, asked the Governor, that it was breaking down 
the North Carolina local banks in 1827-28, as you say in 
your letter? Y-e-s, he did know that. How, then, de- 
manded the Governor, could you favor the re-charter of the 
Bank which was carrying ruin in its course through the 
State? This was a poser. 

"On the subject of public expenditure, and the relative 
economy of the late and present administrations, each of 
the candidates had, of course, a good deal to say. Our 
readers may judge of the result in this particular, when we 
inform them, that Mr. Henry actually stated that the present 
administration had had, in the space of fifteen months, not 
less than fifty-one millions, on which to administer the gov- 
ernment! When Gov. Morehead got him to read his 
bill of particulars, behold, this enormous 51 millions was 
composed in part of the loan of 111 millions, and the 
sum of five millions, which it is estimated Congress will add 
to the tariff! And these sums, not one dollar of zvhich has 
come into the treasury, are figured by Mr. Henry as com- 
posing a part of Whig expenditures for the last fifteen 


months ! ! The Governor did not admit that this was a Whig 
administration, but he showed the humbuggery of this pre- 
posterous statement of Mr. Henry's. 

"On the subject of Internal Improvements, the Gover- 
nor arraigned his competitor. The whole tendency of the 
Letter of Acceptance was to throw odium on Internal Im- 
provements, the 'gambling debts' of the States, created for 
the prosecution of wild schemes of Improvement, etc. The 
Governor showed that Mr. Henry had gone as far as the 
farthest, not in investing his oivn money, but in recommend- 
ing the investment of the people's money, and the creation 
of these 'gambling debts.' At one time he was for the 
State borrowing five millions, and at another three millions, 
and even from British bankers (of whom he now affects 
such a horror) ; then he was in favor of the State taking 
two-fifths of the stock in any works where individuals 
would take three-fifths, and to crown all, he was of opinion 
the state ought to undertake certain great works on her own 
hook, with her funds alone, not asking the people's aid at 
all. Pressing Mr. Henry to know what he was now in 
favor of, he procured from him the avowal, that though 
he had gained wisdom by experience, and was not in favor 
of the five million loan, yet he was still in favor of, and 
would stand or fall by the recommendations of the 
Raleigh Convention of December, 1838. The principal 
recommendation of that body, which he thus adheres to, 
was that the State should borrow three millions of dollars 
to invest in works of Internal Improvement. At a moment 
of greater leisure, we propose to look into this matter, and 
let our readers see what a magnificent system of 'gambling 
debts' Mr. Henry is now in favor of, after all his denunci- 
ations of Whig madness on the subject. 

"Mr. Henry, in turn, demanded to know of the Gover- 
nor, whether he was not indebted to the Banks, as had been 
charged and not denied; arguing that if he was, his judg- 
ment in regard to those institutions might be biased by his 
interest. The Governor's reply carried consternation to 
his catechist and his party. He did not owe any Bank one 
dollar, so far as he knew. He was not a borrower from 


them. His only dealings with them were to sell them his 
bills of exchange when he had such in the course of his 
business. It was possible that one such draft, accepted by 
him, had been discounted by some bank, but if it was, it w-as 
not done for his accommodation, but for that of the holder 
of the draft. 

"He asked Mr. Henry, since he had answered this ques- 
tion, to inform him how he had invested the wealth of which 

he was the reputed possessor. Mr. H replied that he 

had some real estate, some negroes, some 12 or $15,(X)0 of 
Ohio State Stocks, some Louisiana Bank Stock, some 
Raleigh and Gaston Railroad bonds, guaranteed by the 
State, some Cape Fear and Bank of the State Stocks, but 
the chief part of his means was loaned out on bonds in the 
counties of Franklin, Warren, Cumberland, Sampson, etc., 
etc. The Governor thereupon closed the discussion wath a 
most eloquent description of the effects of breaking down 
the Banks and resorting to a hard money currency, which 
seemed to be the result aimed at by Mr. Henry and his 
party. They had created the Banks, and the people had 
gone in debt for property purchased at high prices. Strike 
down the Banks, and the creditors would swallow up all the 
means of the debtors. A debtor would have to give 100 
days' labor to pay for a cow that he could have paid for in 
ten days when he bought her. 100 bushels of wheat would 
realize the farmer no more hard money than 10 bushels 
under the paper money system. It behooved the debtor 
portion of the community to look well into these matters. 
They would be at the mercy of the money lenders — such 
men as Mr. Henry. For his own part, all that he had (and 
he had made it all by the strong arm, the stout heart, and 
what little of intellect Providence had blessed him with) 
was invested in the industrial pursuits within the good old 
State of North Carolina. He neither sent it out of the 
State for investment, nor loaned it at interest. He had 
invested it in manufacturing, mechanical and farming 
operations, by which he afforded employment to many of 
his poor neighbors, mechanics, etc. 

"This is a hasty, a very imperfect outline, from memory. 


of the sayings of this most interesting day. It is written be- 
tween midnight and morning, under feelings of the strongest 
elation, it is true, at the triumph of our cause, and its able 
advocate ; but, as far as it goes, we have endeavored to make 
it fair. We only regret that we have not time to make it 
more full.'" 

In starting his western tour, the Governor spoke at 
Greensboro, as he had not done in 1840. Greensboro, as it 
was in 1842, has been pictured in verse by the Principal of 
Edgeworth School, Miss M. A. Hoye, just before her 
death : 

"This thriving village, I am told 

Is but a score and six years old. 

It sprung as if by magic stroke 

Amid the shade of pine and oak: 

For here it may be plainly seen 

By trees of light and darker green 

That there is a dividing line — 

One side is oak, the other pine" 

and boys were boys and girls were girls then as now, for 
she says : 

"The Edgeworth roof attracts my eye; 
I fain would pass this building by, 
For it may seem against good rule 
To mention first of all my school; 
But what comes first we all agree 
Must first be served. What's this I see? 
The gateway open, I declare, 
And gate unhinged, and gone — gone where? 
Ah, that's the secret — 'tis fine fun 
To steal a gate at night and run 
And hide it in some secret place : 
The genus of greatness I can trace 
In minds so eminently wise 
That can such wond'rous schemes devise 
And execute so valiantly ! 

^Raleigh Register, 14th June, 1842. This reference to educational insti- 
tutions in Greensboro serves to recall the fact that Virginia, North Carolina and 
South Carolina had, at this time, the fewest persons who could read of all the 
states of the Union; and that they had the smallest number of newspapers to white 
population. North Carolina having far the fewest of the three, with only one 
to 17,500 white people, Virginia coming next with 14,125, and Kentucky and 
South Carolina following, in that order. North Carolina had no daily, and but 
one semi-weekly, althouh it had 26 weeklies, and two periodicals. In weeklies, 
only Virginia, Tennessee and Mississippi surpassed her and the last Ijy only 


Why they in very troth will soon 

Equal, if not superior, be 
To cunning fox or sly raccoon 
Which love at midnight hour to stray 
Upon their predatory v^ay!" 

And doubtless there is a case of consequences and cause 
in the juxtaposition of the following: 

"Hark! With the music of my strings 
A distant bell in concert rings. 
It is the Caldwell bell, it calls 
The students to its classic halls : 
It is the hour for evening prayer, 
A hundred noble youths meet there 
With holy shepherds there they meet 
To worship at Jehovah's feet. 
Are they not safer, far, the flock 
Whose guides are faithful, wise and good?" 

She also "sings" the two other schools, the factory, and 
mill, newspaper, the Guards and all the rest that made up 
"happy Greensboro.'" 

About 1805-7 there was an agitation to remove the court 
house from "battle-scarred Martinsville" to the "Center" 
of Guilford county and the two parties took these names. 
The party of the first part shrewdly secured the decision of 
the County Court to put up a new building, presumably at 
their town; but this only put the "Center" people on their 
mettle and they won. Forty-two acres were secured and 
the town plan named after the famous Revolutionary hero. 
General Nathaniel Greene. The deed is dated March 25, 
1808. Among forty-six lots all but two were taken and 
among owners one notes the name of the Rev. Dr. David 
Caldwell, the famous teacher and divine. - 

Greensboro met the Governor with a demonstration 
on Friday, 24th of June, 1842, a mounted company greeted 
him over a mile out of town, and their spokesman, among 
other remarks, said : "We welcome you as the champion 
of Whig principles, who bore the Whig flag triumphantly 

1 The Patriot, 6th Sept., 1845. 
^Ibid., 16th May, 1846. 


from the ocean wave to mountain tops and crowned it with 
glorious victory in 1840, and who, we believe, at the sacrifice 
of your own ease and domestic comfort will bear it again to 
victory in 1842." The Governor responded with deep 
emotion and the procession passed on up to the home of 
Senator James Turner Morehead, his brother, where was 
held a reception. The Masons were celebrating St. John's 
day and he became their guest and listened to an address 
at the Presbyterian Church by Rev. Mr. Kerr. The next 
day a stage at the side of this church was prepared and at 
one o'clock Governor Morehead addressed a multitude for 
about four hours. He recalled how, in 1840, they endorsed 
him with over 2200 votes, a result that made Guilford looked 
upon as the Gibraltar of Whig principles in the state. A 
witness said : "He spoke with all the freedom and fearless- 
ness of one conscious of having done his duty." He at- 
tacked Tyler and disclaimed him as a Whig. He said that 
this period under Tyler were not "'Whig times," but "a con- 
tinuation of Democratic times." He closed with an appeal 
and a hope that "we should yet see that greatest statesman 
of the age, Henry Clay, at the helm, when all will be well."^ 
After he left, on his western tour, great news came of his 
progress. "He does not taunt nor insult his opponents," 
said one account, "but addresses them as brothers, and in 
such a persuasive manner, that makes his appeal almost 
irresistible." At Asheville there was a great barbecue; 
here he followed Mr. Henry's visit, and held undiminished 
attention for over three hours. He discussed the banking 
systems and advocated a National Bank and the "spider 
web structure" of Mr. Henry had no show before the 
"heavy battle axe of John M. Morehead" — to quote one 
enthusiastic Whig. He showed how every President, while 
President, from Washington down to just before Van Buren 
had admitted the constitutionality of the National Bank, and 
"Bank vs. No Bank" was the issue. "The apostle of liberty 
has visited us," said another paper. "In good faith," said 
the Greensboro Patriot, "we say what we believe, when we 

1 Greensboro Patriot, 28th June, 1842. 


assert that no other county can produce his like." "None 
but his powerful frame, animated with a spirit that never 
for an instant flags — a soul fired with the most highly hon- 
orable personal ambition and the truest love of country, 
could endure the fatigue of such a canvass. His country — 
his whole country — calls for his powerful efforts; and the 
best interests of that country, to all human appearance, at 
this moment hangs on his success ! . . . Prepare for 
another peal of Guilford Thunder, that shall fill the ears 
of all the people, re-echo from the mountains along her 
smiling plains, until its reverberations shall mix with the 
murmurs of her seas."^ 

The appointments in July were as follows : 13th, Ruther- 
fordton; 15th, Shelby ville; 16th, Lincolnton; 19th, Mor- 
ganton; 21st, Statesville; 22nd, Mocksville; 23rd, Salis- 
bury ; 25th, Reid's Store ; 26th, Charlotte ; 27th, Concord ; 
28th, Stanly; 29th, Lawrenceville ; and 30th, Flat Swamp. 
By the time the Whig Candidate reached Shelbyville, Mr. 
Henry had withdrawn from the canvass, as he said, on ac- 
count of his health, no doubt having political health some- 
what in mind. And his instinct was sound, for with the 
August election, whose returns were about a month in 
arriving at official totals, it was discovered that he was 4592 
votes behind the Governor, who received 39,586 votes and, 
in so much, preserved the Whig character of North Caro- 
lina. In these campaigns he won the sobriquet "Glorious 
Old War Horse." 

Now attention can be turned to a unique feature of 
Governor Morehead's first administration : He was in- 
augurated on January 1, 1841, just as the Whig Assembly 
was closing its session, not to meet again during his term. 
So that during his first term he had no Whig legislature ; 
and at this election of 1842, that body was carried by the 
Democrats, so that for his whole two terms, unless the elec- 
tion of 1844 should produce another Assembly of Whigs, he 
would not have any law-making body to cooperate in his 
plans. What then, up to this time, was the character of his 

1 The Patriot, 30th July, 1842. 


influence as a governor? First, it was the asset of his per- 
sonal character stimulating every enterprise with which he 
came in contact. In September he issued the common school 
fund statement and showed it to be $135,699.05, as indicat- 
ing development along that line. Secondly, as Whig leader 
of a naturally Democratic state whose election occurred in 
August, he became a marked national figure in a Whig 
administration. Thirdly, his personal example, as he said 
at Fayetteville, in investing all he had "in the industrial 
pursuits within the good old state of North Carolina," in 
"manufacturing, mechanical and farming operations," was 
a great object lesson in the fact that the way to develop was 
to develop. Fortunately, his liberal, constitutional views, 
opposed alike to Abolitionist and great Slave-holders, and 
his liberal attitude to the colored race, likewise gave him 
a unique place as a national force, and in that way gave 
new prestige to North Carolina in national politics. It was 
in these respects, and not in his great measures carried 
through a Whig legislature that his two terms as executive 
were strong. When the Assembly met on November 21st, 
1842, however, with a Democratic majority, his message 
to them showed what would have been done had he had 
one of his own party in either term, as shall now appear. 

The position of North Carolina as a leading Whig state, 
the position of Governor Morehead as a re-elected Whig 
executive, and the fact that it was done by the same people 
who elected a Democratic Legislature, made his first mes- 
sage to that body of more than local significance. It is so 
perfect an expression of both Governor Morehead and the 
state, as well as his times, that it is given in full : 

"Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Com- 
mons : The periodical assemblage of a portion of the people, 
selected for their eminent qualifications, for the important 
trusts confided to them — to enact laws by which they, as 
well as their constituents, are to be governed — is an oc- 
casion interesting to the philanthropist, cheering to the 
friends of rational liberty, and an able commentary upon 
the excellence of our political institutions. 

"To that Department of the Government, assigned to 


superintend the due execution of the laws, this assemblage 
should always be acceptable, as affording an opportunity 
to show how the duties of that Department have been dis- 
charged — to point out defects of the laws, which experi- 
ence has proven to exist — and to suggest such amendments 
and enactments as the good of the community may require. 

"Such is the interesting occasion, fellow citizens, which 
brings us together; and, in the name of our common con- 
stituents, I cordially greet you, and tender you my hearty 
cooperation in the adoption and execution of all measures 
that may redound to the welfare of the community. 

"Since the last meeting of your Honorable body, al- 
though portions of our State have been visited with afiflic- 
tion, and with physical causes destructive to the hopes and 
labors of the husbandman' — yet the general health of the 
land and the bounteous productions of the soil have been 
such as to elicit the most profound gratitude towards that 
Author, from whom all blessings flow, and to whose superin- 
tending Providence we are indebted for all we are, and for 
all we hope to be. And it is our especial duty, as it is that 
of every Department of every American Government, ear- 
nestly to solicit a continuance of those peculiar favors, which 
have rendered the American people the blessed of the earth. 

"Within the same period, an event has taken place, in 
the death of our lamented Chief Magistrate, which, while 
a grateful people has mourned their bereavement, and a 
suffering country felt the affliction, yet has it proven the 
foresight of our Revolutionary sages, in the adoption of our 
Constitution, and has tested its wisdom and stability. A 
similar event, in most other countries, would have been 
followed by a resort to force, or, at least to extraordinary 
legislation to establish succession. With us, the successor, 
already indicated by the people themselves, glides into the 
Chief Magistracy, with an ease and quiet on his part, and 
an acquiescence on ours, that proves how fortunate it is 
for the human family, when, in the establishment of their 
forms of Government, they select Wisdom, instead of Am- 

^ Reference is to the cyclonic storm over the lower Roanoke Valley, de- 
stroying the crops of that rich section. 


bition for their counsellor. And, it is to be fondly hoped, 
that every future test, like this, will assure the friends 
of our form of Government, of its strength, and its enemies, 
how delusive the hope of its destruction. 

"The result of the late treaty with Great Britain, gives 
us pleasing prospects of continued peace ; and, however 
widely some of us may differ from the President, as to 
the manner in which he has discharged a portion of his 
duties, yet the meed of praise is due to him, for his earnest 
and successful efforts, sustained and carried through by the 
eminent abilities of his distinguished Secretary, to adjust 
our difficulties with that Power upon principles of Honor 
and of Justice. Nor is it to be believed, that the good aris- 
ing from this adjustment, will be confined to the parties 
immediately concerned.' The noble example, set by two 
of the most powerful, intelligent and honorable nations 
of the earth, in adjusting their difficulties by a resort to 
argument, instead of arms, will be worthy the imitation of 
every member constituting the great family of nations. 

"The history of nations ought to have taught, and it is 
hoped has taught the present generation, that that good 
which arises from the guidance of reason and the dictates 
of justice, is more beneficial and permanent, than that which 
results from the most brilliant triumph of arms, victorious 
over right and justice. 

"In inviting your attention to such matters as ought to 
engage your deliberations during your present Session, I 
refer you to the first Article of our Constitution, as amended, 
whereby it becomes your duty at this Session, to lay off the 
State into Senatorial Districts, and to apportion the repre- 
sentatives in the House of Commons among the several 
Counties of the State. The rules, by which you are to be 
guided in the discharge of your duties, are so explicitly laid 
down in the Constitution itself, as to preclude all suggestions 
on the subject. 

"At the last Session of Congress an Act was passed to 
apportion the Representatives among the several States, ac- 

1 The Webster-Ashburton Treaty defining the northwestern boundary be- 
tween Canada arid the United States, proclaimed about ten days before. 


cording to the Sixth Census. By this Act the number of 
Representatives, to which North Carolina is entitled, is re- 
duced from thirteen to nine. It therefore becomes your duty 
to lay off the State into nine Congressional and eleven 
Electoral districts. In the discharge of this duty justice to 
the citizens of every part of the State demands that the dis- 
tricts shall be laid off as nearly equal in Federal Population 
as it is practicable to make them, and that they shall assume 
such shape as shall be most convenient for the voters and 
candidates of every district. Indeed, the principle, that in all 
popular elections, every citizen should have the full political 
w^eight to w^hich he is entitled by the Constitutions and Laws 
of the country, is so obviously just and undeniable, that it is 
deemed scarcely necessary to suggest its adoption for your 
guidance in the discharge of your important duties. 

"By an Act of Congress, approved the 4th of September, 
1841, entitled 'An Act to Appropriate the Proceeds of the 
Sales of the Public Lands, and to Grant Pre-emption Rights,' 
a payment became due to North Carolina at the public Treas- 
ury, on the 1st of July last. On the 24th June preceding, 
a communication from the Treasury Department was ad- 
dressed to this Department, requesting that an Agent should 
be designated to receive the payment. I forthwith appointed 
Charles L. Hinton, Esq., Public Treasurer, the Agent of this 
State, to receive the payment ; who proceeded to Washington 
for that purpose, but the amount was not then paid, for the 
reason, as it was alleged, that the net amount for distribution 
had not then been ascertained. On the 4th November, the 
Acting Secretary of the United States, informed me that the 
accounts had been adjusted, and the sum of $22,917.97 was 
found due this State, of which the Treasurer was informed, 
and he forthwith requested the Department at Washington 
to forward him a draft for the amount. This draft is daily 
expected. It becomes your duty to apply this Fund to such 
purpose as your wisdom may suggest. 

"The Raleigh and Gaston Railroad Company availed 
themselves of the Act of the last Session, entitled — 'An Act 
to secure the State against any and every liability incurred 
for the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad Company, and for 


the relief of the same,' — by accepting the benefit of the Act, 
and giving the Executive notice of the acceptance within 
the time therein prescribed. The Deed of Mortgage, and 
Deed of Pledge, required by said Act, have been duly exe- 
cuted and registered, and Bonds to the amount of $500,000, 
conditioned as required, have been executed and delivered 
to the Treasurer, signed by obligors whom, I believed at the 
time, to be able to pay and satisfy said Bonds. The Treas- 
urer endorsed $300,000 of the Bonds of said Company, as 
directed by the said Act to do, and delivered them to the 
Company; and having therefore, under a former Act, en- 
dorsed $500,000, the State stands responsible for the Com- 
pany, now, to the amount of $800,000. As yet, I am not 
aware that the Treasurer has been required to pay anything 
for any responsibility incurred by the State for this corpo- 

"At the same Session, an Act somewhat similar, entitled 
'An Act for the Relief of the Wilmington and Raleigh 
Railroad Company,' was passed. That Company availed 
itself of the benefit of the Act, by fully complying with its 
requirements, in giving the security, and their Bonds, to the 
amount of $300,000, have been endorsed by the Treasurer, 
as by said Act he was directed to do. I am not aware that 
any demand has been made upon the Treasury, for any 
liability incurred for this Company ; and I am informed that 
the Company has discharged $50,000 of said Bonds, as 
required by the Act. Besides the interest, which the State 
should feel, from pride and utility, in the success of these 
two noble enterprises, there is an additional interest, which 
invites your serious attention. For the first of these Roads, 
we have seen that the State is bound as security for $800,000 
— for the latter, she is bound as security now for $250,000, 
besides being a stock-holder in the same to the amount of 
$600,000. The first, and most important consideration then, 
is — How the Roads can be enabled to meet their liabilities, 
and thereby secure the State. The embarrassment of the 
country has been, for some time past, and is likely to be for 
some time to come, so extraordinary, that travel, the most 
profitable source of revenue to Railroads, has decreased 


exceedingly, and the productions of industry are so low, 
and the profits of merchandise so reduced, that the income 
from heavy transportation has greatly diminished. No 
doubt is entertained but that both Roads would speedily 
extricate themselves from debt, and make their stock 
profitable, could they have full employment. Any Act of 
legislation that can aid them, in procuring additional em- 
ployment, without incurring additional responsibility on the 
part of the State, will certainly be wise and prudent. 

"It is more than probable that application will be made 
to charter a Company to construct a Railroad from some 
point on the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad, to Weldon, the 
point where the Portsmouth and Roanoke and Wilmington 
and Raleigh Railroads meet ; thus connecting, by a con- 
tinuous Railroad, our seat of Government with our own 
excellent Port of Wilmington, on the one hand, and with 
one of the best sea-ports in the world on the other. No 
valid objection to granting this charter is perceived, while 
there is much to sustain its propriety The distance is short, 
some fifteen miles, the ground is favorable, and the usual 
expense of Depots and Cars can be dispensed with, by the 
use of those belonging to the Roads so greatly interested in 
this connection. Besides the advantage of transferring 
heavy articles and such as are inconvenient to handle, di- 
rectly from the Vessels to the Cars, that will deliver them in 
Raleigh, and vice versa, it will cheapen and quicken trans- 
portation, by competition, shorten the route by Railroad to 
Wilmington, and give us the means of offering our products 
in the rival markets of Petersburg, Norfolk and Wilming- 
ton, within a few hours after leaving the city of Raleigh. 

"The next inquiry is, by what means the vast produc- 
tions of the fertile West can be made to travel Eastward, 
and reap the advantages of these Railroad facilities. From 
personal observation, I have found the Roads, leading from 
Raleigh Westward, for the distance of fifty or sixty miles, 
and those passing over similar Geological formations, which 
range from Northeast to Southwest, across the whole State, 
separating the rich valley of the Yadkin from Fayetteville, 
decidedly the worst in the State. Thus we find the pro- 


ductions of this range, often seeking a market much more 
distant than our own, because more easy of access ; the 
towns of Cheraw, Camden, Columbia, and in the far West, 
Augusta and Charleston are much more familiarly known 
than even Fayetteville or Raleigh ; much less, those Towns 
farther Eastward ; and this grows out of the impractica- 
bility, in a great degree, of passing over our Roads with 
heavy burdens at that season of the year, most convenient 
to take our products to market. The remedy for these 
evils is believed to be in good Turnpikes — improvements 
more within our means and therefore more likely to be 
made, and answering every desirable purpose. I therefore 
recommend that a charter be granted, to make a Turnpike 
Road, from the city of Raleigh to some point Westward, 
selected with a view to its ultimate continuance to the 
extreme West, requiring the corporations to commence 
operations at Raleigh, and to finish specified sections of the 
Road, within specified periods, and making it forfeit its 
charter as to all that part of the contemplated Road, which 
is not finished in the time prescribed, but granting the 
privilege to charge Tolls on all such parts as are completed, 
having a due regard to the citizens of the counties through 
W'hich the Road may pass, so that they shall not be 
harrassed by unnecessary exactions on those parts of the 
Road lying in the counties where they reside. Such a 
charter would hold out inducements to capitalists to embark 
in the enterprise, as they could abandon it whenever they 
found it was likely to be injudicious, and yet retain what 
they had finished. Should this Road be continued to 
Waynesboro, which might be done at comparatively small 
expense, the Farmer would have the choice of markets, of 
Wilmington by the Railroad, or, Newbern by the river 
Neuse. This Turnpike, it is confidently believed, would 
aid greatly to sustain the Railroads, and, at the same time 
to give Industry facilities to which it is now a stranger.^ 

"In connection w4th these Roads, I will again invite your 
attention to the facility with which the State can be called 

1 Here is evidence of his thought along the line of a Central railroad. 


upon for payment. If either of these Companies shall 
fail 'to pay the principal and interest as it accrues, the Public 
Treasurer is authorized to pay the same, out of any money 
in the Treasury at the time,' and for this the faith of the 
State is pledged. By reference to the amount of semi- 
annual interest, and annual payment of principal, which are 
required to be paid, it will be seen, that it is not probable, 
nor indeed it is necessary, that there should be in the Treas- 
ury at all times, an amount sufficient to meet these contin- 
gencies, which, it is to be hoped, will never happen. Yet, 
as they may happen, and as the pledge of the State must be 
kept, under all circumstances, inviolate, and its faith sus- 
tained, I recommend that the Treasurer have authority to 
borrow, from our Banks, a sum not exceeding, at any one 
time, the amount which the State may be required to pay 
between the sessions of the Legislature, and that these loans 
be contracted only as the demands are made, and after the 
funds belonging to the Treasury are exhausted. 

"By a Resolution of the last Legislature, the Treasurer 
was directed to borrow, from the Literary and Internal 
Improvement Funds, such sums as might be necessary to 
defray the expenses of the State, until the 1st Nov., 1842 — 
'he, at no time, borrowing more than is required for the time 
being,' and the officers, having charge of these Funds, were 
directed thus to loan them. The inconvenience of this plan, 
to supply the wants of the Treasury, is experienced in this : 
A large amount of these funds have to lie idle in the Treas- 
ury, to be ready when the Treasurer may wish to borrow. 
The Boards, having charge of the funds, are thereby re- 
strained from seeking for them permanent investments, 
and the profits, which ought to arise from so large an 
amount, is greatly diminished, as it is not presumed the 
Legislature contemplated paying interest on any more than 
was actually used. 

"As these liabilities of the Treasury are to continue for 
years to come, it is the part of prudence to make provision 
to meet them promptly, no matter how sudden and unex- 
pected the call. 

"I would respectfully invite your attention to the Public 


Highways generally. In the Eastern section of the State, 
the variety of navigable sounds, rivers and streams, and the 
excellent adaptation of the face of the country, to good 
Roads render Legislative negligence on these subjects less 
oppressive. But from Fayetteville, the highest point of 
good navigation Westward (and only the navigation in our 
own State, in that direction, except the slight batteau Navi- 
gation of the Dan, as high as the county of Rockingham) 
to the Buncombe Turnpike, a distance of some two hundred 
and fifty or three hundred miles, what navigable Stream, 
Railroad, Turnpike, or McAdamized highway gives to the 
laborer facilities of transportation? None — literally, none! 
This vast extent of territory, reaching from the Blue Ridge 
in the West to the alluvial region in the East, and extend- 
ing across the whole State, it is believed, will compare with 
any spot upon the globe, for the fertility of its soil, the 
variety of its productions, the salubrity of its climate, the 
beauty of its landscapes, the richne:ss of its Mines, the facili- 
ties for Manufactures, and the intelligence and moral worth 
of its population. Can another such territory, combining all 
these advantages, be found upon the face of the whole 
earth, so wholly destitute of natural or artificial facilities 
for Transportation? 

"I direct your attention to the wants of this portion of 
the State — it is the business of your wisdom to supply them. 
Fayetteville seems naturally to invite the commerce of the 
West. Her river affords as good and durable navigation 
as most rivers in the South ; her exporting port of Wilming- 
ton is superior to those of Petersburg, Richmond and many 
other important towns ; and the wisdom of a previous Legis- 
lature thought the necessities of this region demanded the 
advantages which a Railroad could afford. This scheme 
having failed, it is believed, from the pressure of the times, 
the next inquiry is — What scheme, that is practicable, will 
afford the desired facilities? 

"Next to Navigation and Railroads, Turnpikes afford 
the best means of taking produce to market. I therefore 
recommend that a charter be granted to make a Turnpike 
from Fayetteville to the Yadkin river, at some point above 


the Narrows, or, if deemed most expedient, to some point on 
a similar road leading from Raleigh, Westward, thus giving 
the West the advantages of both markets ; with such favor- 
able conditions in the charter, as heretofore suggested, that 
Capitalists will be induced to embark in the enterprise. 
And surely this scheme cannot fail for want of means. 
Labor will be an excellent substitute for money, and labor 
cannot be difficult to obtain, in a region now growing Cotton 
at six cents per lb., corn at one dollar per bbl, and wheat so 
low that it takes one-half to transport the other half to 
market. Should this Road ever reach the Yadkin, no doubt 
is entertained of its continuance across the Catawba, west- 
ward — thus giving to this Road the advantages which will 
arise from the navigation of these two noble rivers, from 
the Falls on the Southern border of the State, now wholly 
obstructing their navigation for a greater distance towards 
their sources. 

"The Western portion of the State, comprising what 
may be termed the Mountain Counties, is a vastly interesting 
region, and invites your due regard. To make them more 
interesting, we only have to make them more accessible. 
The sublimity and beauty of its Mountain Scenery, the 
purity of its waters, the buoyancy and salubrity of its at- 
mosphere, the fertility of its valleys, the verdure of its 
mountains, and, above all, its energetic, intelligent and hos- 
pitable inhabitants, make it an inviting portion of the State. 
The face of the country necessarily makes the construction 
of Roads very difficult and expensive, and the sparseness of 
the population, in many places, forbids the imposition of a 
duty so onerous upon them. These Mountain Roads are 
made, at an expense, much less than might be supposed ; 
and, when well made, are very firm and easily kept in re- 
pair. The rapid descent in the Streams forbids much hope 
in Navigation, and, therefore, renders their claim upon the 
liberality of the Legislature, to aid them in these Roads 
more just and meritorious. When good Roads shall be es- 
tablished in that region, it is believed the population will in- 
crease with rapidity, agriculture improved, grazing will be 
extended, and Manufactures and the mechanic Art wall 


flourish in a location combining so many advantages and 
inviting their growth. The improved highways wall be ad- 
ditional inducement to the citizens of other sections of our 
State, to abandon their usual Northern Tours or visit to the 
Virginia Watering places for a Tour much more interesting 
among our own Mountains, much cheaper and much more 
beautiful — a Tour in which they will inspire health in every 
breath, and drink in health in every draught. The large 
amount of money paid, and to be paid, into the public 
Treasury, from that quarter, for Vacant and Cherokee 
Lands, would seem to give stronger claims to aid from the 
Treasury. It is, therefore, respectfully recommended, that 
you give to that section of the State, such aid, as in your 
wisdom its condition may require, and the condition of the 
public Treasury may justify. 

"The Buncombe Turnpike, in which the State is a 
stock-holder, shows the great advantages arising from such 
improvements, and its profits, of twelve to fifteen per cent 
per annum, prove the great use of it. 

"There is another inconvenience to which this section of 
the State labors, and to which I deem it proper to call your 
attention. This extensive Territory is wholly destitute of 
Banking facilities, although it is so large that the County, 
which once embraced nearly the whole of it, was frequently 
dignified with the appellation of a State. When it is 
recollected, the large amount that is due to the State, for the 
sale of Cherokee Lands, it becomes a matter of public 
interest, that the debtors who reside mostly in that quarter, 
should have a currency among them in which to make pay- 

"Turning our attention to the Eastern part of the State, 
two improvements, said to be practicable, assume an im- 
portance that renders them National in their character. I 
allude to the opening of Roanoke Inlet, and a connection of 
Pamlico Sound, by a Ship Channel, with Beaufort Harbor. 
Frequent surveys of the first of these proposed improve- 
ments, made by scientific Engineers, and, more particularly, 
one latterly made under the authority of this State, by 
Maj. Walter Gwynn, whose qualifications, endorsed by 


the General Government, are equalled only by his practical 
skill, establish the feasibility of this work. The advantages, 
arising from the improvement to our Commerce, are too 
obvious to need pointing out. But the view to be taken 
of its vast importance, is, in the protection it will afford to 
our shipping, and the lives of our seamen. The difficulty 
and dangers often encountered at Ocracoke Inlet, render 
the connection between Pamlico Sound and Beaufort Har- 
bor of vast importance to the convenience and security of 
our Commerce and Shipping. It will be an extension of 
that inland navigation so essential to us, in time of war, 
and give access to one of the safest harbors on our coast, 
and one from which a Vessel can be quicker at sea than 
from any other, perhaps, on our Continent. In these im- 
provements the Commerce of the nation^ is interested ; it 
becomes the duty of the nation to make them, if they be 
practicable and proper. I therefore recommend, that you 
bring the attention of Congress to the subject, in the manner 
most likely to effect the object. The attention of Congress 
has been repeatedly drawn to the first of these objects, but 
nothing is yet done. We should assert a continual claim 
to our right to have this work effected by the General Gov- 
ernment. It is beyond the present ability of the State' to 
execute it, and if it were not, it so appropriately belongs 
to the General Government' to execute it, that it might be 
considered an infringement of its rights for the State' to at- 
tempt it. You would be saved the trouble of this appeal, 
if the nation' could witness one of those storms so frequent 
on our coast — could witness the war of elements which rages 
around Hatteras, and the dangers which dance about 
Ocracoke — could witness the noble daring of our Pilots, 
and the ineffectual, but manly struggles, of our seamen — 
could see our coast fringed with wrecks, and our towns 
filled with widows and orphans of our gallant tars. Justice 
and Humanity would extort what we now ask in vain. If 

1 These several references to "State," "General Government" and "na- 
tion," occurring in this paragraph, especially in the use of capital letters, are 
unique as an illustration of Governor Morehead's invariable accuracy in the 
use of capital letters according to the ruJes of the day, and as illustrating the 
attitude of mind of the day, also, in his section of the land. 


one tithe of the destruction, which happens on our coast, 
were to happen in Delaware Bay or at the entrance of Bos- 
ton or New York Harbors, the sensibilities of the whole 
nation would be aroused, and if its recurrence could be 
prevented by human means, such appeals would be thun- 
dered into the ears of Congress, as would afford the pro- 
tection desired, regardless of the appropriation. But in- 
stead of giving us the protection zve so much need, a beg- 
garly sum is doled out to North Carolina, to repair a dilapi- 
dated Fort, or protect an abrading sand-bank. 

"On the South side of the Cape Fear, is a considerable 
extent of Country, watered by the Lumber River and its 
tributaries, which is heavily timbered, and would become 
very valuable if accessible to a good market. That river 
is now used to carry lumber to Georgetown in South Caro- 
lina ; but the navigation is somewhat obstructed and difficult, 
and so distant is the market, that the business is not found 
profitable. It is suggested, by those better acquainted with 
the geography of that region than myself, that Lumber 
River can be very easily connected with the Cape Fear by a 
Canal — that the expense of the Canal, and of opening the 
river to improve its navigation, will be inconsiderable, com- 
pared with the advantages derived from the improvement. 
I therefore recommend, that a survey be ordered, to ascer- 
tain the practicability of uniting these rivers by a good 
navigable Canal, and that an estimate be made of its proba- 
ble cost. 

"The Judicial Department of our Government has been 
administered with promptness, fidelity and ability; but I 
cannot forbear to call your attention to the frequent acts 
of violence and force committed upon our Jails, whereby 
prisoners, charged with the highest crimes, are released, 
rescued, or escape. To such an extent has this been carried, 
that open force has been used, and that, too, I believe, in 
the presence of the Jailor to break the Jail, seize the prison- 
ers, and inflict on them summary punishment, for real or 
supposed offenses. In other instances, the prisoners have 
been aided in their escape, by external force, clandestinely 
used. In others, by the use of instruments furnished them 


in prison. Whether these frequent and repeated offenses 
against the due administration of Justice, arise from the 
cowardice, connivance or negligence of Jailors, or from the 
delinquency of the Magistrates in not building sufficient 
prisons, are questions submitted for your consideration, 
with the hope that you will apply the corrective, if the pres- 
ent Laws be insufficient. 

"There is another matter connected with the due ad- 
ministration of Criminal Law, that deserves attention. 
Criminals have been permitted to go at large, and finally to 
escape, after it has been notoriously known that they have 
committed offenses. If the present Law on that subject can 
be improved, I recommend that it be done. Nothing affords 
such ample protection to the Innocent, as the certain punish- 
ment of the Guilty. 

"The President and Directors of the Literary Fund 
will lay before you, in due time, a detailed Report of their 
Proceedings, and the state of the Fund, and of the extent 
of their operations in draining the Swamp Land. It will be 
your duty, as it is the desire of the Literary Board, to insti- 
tute the most rigid examination and scrutiny into the man- 
ner in which the pecuniary affairs of the Board have been 
managed. It is due to the People to know how they have 
been managed ; and it is due to the Board, if they have faith- 
fully discharged their duties, that their Fellow Citizens 
should know that also. 

"And, in connection with this examination, I would 
recommend a scrutiny into the affairs and condition of the 
University of our State. It is the child of the Constitu- 
tion, and should be watched over with Parental care by your 
Body. It is believed that due attention is not paid to that 
important Institution by the Legislature. Such Reports and 
examinations are not made as will give the Public full in- 
formation in relation to its management and utility; and 
thus Demagogues sometimes make it the hobby, upon which 
they ride into public favor, by making the grossest misrepre- 

"The Report of the Board of Internal Improvements 
will be laid before you during the present Session, which 


does not promise to be very interesting, as the Board has but 
little under its charge at this time, besides the small Fund 
under its control, into which they invite the strictest scrutiny. 

"By virtue of the Act authorizing me to appoint an agent 
in the County of A'lacon or Qierokee, for the purposes there- 
in specified, I appointed Jacob Siler, Esq., who gave the 
Bond and Security required, and entered upon the discharge 
of his duties. His communications to the Treasury De- 
partment will give you the information as to his progress. 
The general pecuniary pressure, the scarcity of circulating 
medium in the Western part of the State, the want of suf- 
ficient Roads to carry Produce to Market, and the outlays 
necessary to settle a new Country, all combine to make it 
extremely difficult to pay the debt due the State upon the 
Cherokee Bonds, and it is believed if payments thereon be 
rigorously exacted, the result will be, in many instances, 
ruin to the debtors and loss to the State ; but if reasonable 
indulgence be given, it is probable that most of the debts 
will be collected. The high price, for which these Lands 
sold, would seem to justify all reasonable indulgence. 

"A Resolution of last Session having authorized me to 
employ Counsel to defend the Titles of Purchases of Lands 
in Cherokee County, I engaged the services of Thomas L. 
Clingman, Esq., who, I presume, will make a Report, during 
the Session, upon the subject, which will be laid before you. 

"The progress of civilization, sustained by the dictates 
of humanity, would seem to appeal to public liberality, for 
the establishment of Asylums for the use and benefit of the 
Deaf, Dumb and Blind, and for the protection of the un- 
fortunate Lunatic. The helpless and suffering condition 
of many of these afflicted creatures, have long since and 
often appealed to the public charity of a Christian com- 
munity. It is referred to you to say how unheeded has 
been that appeal. It is likewise referred to you to say how 
much longer we shall manifest our gross ingratitude to Him, 
who showers upon us, with the hand of profusion, all the 
choice blessings of life, while we withhold a beggarly pit- 
tance from His afflicted Children. 

"The establishment of a Penitentiary, in this State, has 


lono- been a matter of discussion, and it is probable, 
by this time, that Public opinion has determined upon its 
expediency. I therefore direct your attention to the sub- 
ject. Long experience in the practice of the Criminal Courts 
has satsified me, that offenders are often permitted to escape 
from a laudable humanity in Jurors, who look upon the 
severity and ignominy of the punishment that awaits the 
culprit, upon a verdict of Guilty, until their kindlier feelings 
conjure up doubts enough to justify a conscientious acquit- 
tal. It is believed that a few years apprenticeship in a 
Penitentiary, substituted for the present mode of punish- 
ment, would cause many a verdict to more nearly approxi- 
mate the truth. 

"Whether it be expedient to establish these institutions, 
and if expedient, whether this is a proper time to do so — 
whether you will embark the Funds of the State, in any 
of the schemes of Internal Improvement heretofore sug- 
gested — are matters for your consideration. 

"To you, the consideration of these matters appropriately 
belongs — in you, the powers of taxation and appropriation 
are constitutionally vested. You are fresh from your Con- 
stituents, and doubtless well advised as to their wishes and 
wants — to them, you are responsible for the manner in 
which you shall discharge the high trusts confided to you, 
and therefore to you are these matters most respectfully 

"I would recommend, that whatever schemes of ex- 
penditure you may embark in, that you keep within the 
means at the command of the State ; otherwise, the People 
must be taxed more heavily, or the State must contract 
a Loan. The pressure of the times, forbids the former — 
the tarnished honor of some of the States should make us, 
for the present, decline the latter. 

"The mania for State Banking, and the mad career of 
Internal Improvement, which seized a number of the States, 
have involved them in an indebtedness, very oppressive, but 
not hopeless. American credit and character require that 
the stain of violated faith should be obliterated, by our hon- 
est acknowledgment of the debt, and a still more honest 


•effort to pay it. I therefore recommend the passage of 
Resolutions, expressive of the strong interest which the 
State feels in the full redemption of every pledge of Public 
faith, and of its utter detestation of the abominable doctrine 
of Repudiation. That State, which honestly owes a debt, 
and has, or can command the means of payment and refuses 
to pay, because it cannot be compelled to do so, has already 
bartered Public Honor, and only awaits an increase of price, 
to barter Public Liberty. This recommendation will come 
wdth peculiar force from you. North Carolina has been 
jeered at for sluggishness and indolence, because she has 
chosen to guard her Treasury and protect her Honor, by 
avoiding debt, and promptly meeting her engagements. 
She has yielded to others the glory of their magnificent 
expenditures, and will yield them all that glory which will 
arise from a repudiation of their contracts. In the language 
of one of her noblest sons, Tt is better for her to sleep on 
in indolence and innocence, than to wake up in infamy and 

''But when Public Honor is at stake, or Public Liberty 
endangered, she will shake the poppy from her brow ; and 
then, for her high-souled patriotism, for her unwavering 
devotion to the love of Liberty, for her loyalty to the Union, 
and for her stern integrity, the proudest sister of the Re- 
public may well desire to be her rival. 

"The Civil commotion, which has lately disturbed the 
patriotic State of Rhode Island, is deeply to be regretted, 
and its termination in a conflict might have been attended 
with serious consequences to other States.* Aside then 
from mere sympathy, we cannot be indifferent spectators. 
Inequality in the right of suffrage is the ground upon 
which resistance to the constituted authorities and overt 
acts of rebellion are attempted to be justified. Without 
passing upon the merits of the issue between the parties, in 
that State, I am constrained to say, that there is a spirit 
too often manifested in our country, to enforce our sup- 

^ "Dorr's Rebellion" to secure re\'ision of the constitution, which later was 
secured in 1842. 


posed rights, or to redress our supposed grievances, by ap- 
peals to open resistance, rather than to Law, to reason, 
and to a returning sense of Justice. It is not every griev- 
ance, under which a people may labor, that justifies a 
resort to force for redress; nor is it believed, that in any 
portion of our enlightened country, in this enlightened age, 
will a course of policy be persisted in, that is grossly unjust 
and oppressive. The steady appeal to right and reason, is 
sure in due time to procure the appropriate remedy. The 
example of our own State, in her steady efforts to reform 
her representation, by appeals to the justice of her claims, 
and the success which eventually crowned those efforts, 
is proof of the wisdom of that policy. I therefore deem it 
the duty of all friends of social order, to rebuke, on all 
occasions, that spirit which is every ready to light the torch 
of civil discord, and revel in the blood of a brother. 

"Our Banks resumed specie payments during the past 
summer, and it is believed will be able to sustain themselves 
in future. But, while they afford us a sound Currency, 
it is to be regretted, that they are not enabled to extend their 
accommodations, and increase circulation, to that extent the 
necessities of the community require. 

"North Carolina, although an Atlantic State, is to a 
great extent, in the condition of some of the interior States. 
She has no large commercial mart, from which is shipped 
the principal productions of her industry. These are 
shipped mostly from the Ports of Virginia and South Caro- 
lina. The balances against her at the North, contracted 
for the immense quantity of merchandise purchased there, 
have to be paid in cash. Our Bank notes have to supply 
this cost, either by being presented at once for specie, and 
that taken to the North, and there shaved to the Brokers at a 
discount (which a prompt redemption in specie cannot pre- 
vent), who forthwith present them at Bank for payment in 
specie, or its equivalent. Thus, the perpetual flow of our 
Bank notes Northward, to pay balances against us, is met by 
a counter-current of the same notes Southward — not to pay 
balances in our favor — not to be thrown again into circula- 
tion by the purchase of our produce — but to stop them from 


circulation, by pushing them into the Banks and drawing 
out the specie from them. The only means of protection 
against these continued drains, which our Banks can resort 
to, is to curtail their circulation — the very thing that oper- 
ates against the community, but the only thing which can 
prevent them from being driven again into another suspen- 
sion. If we had a National Currency at par in every part 
of the Union, by which to pay these balances against us, 
that Currency would never touch the hands of the Broker. 
It would be thrown into circulation in every direction, 
instead of being thrown back upon the Bank that issued it. 
Our own notes would remain among us — there would be 
little demand for specie, as but few would return upon 
the Banks, and they would thus be enabled to throw a much 
larger amount in circulation, without the risk of their sud- 
den return for specie, and without the risk of being driven 
again into another suspension. The hopes of having Na- 
tional Currency has been twice thwarted by the President's 
Vetoes upon Charters for National Banks. Whether he 
will continue regardless of the will and of the sufferings of 
the people, time will disclose. Whether the examples of 
Washington and of Madison are unworthy of his imitation, 
he must decide. One thing we all know — from the time 
of the first establishment of the first National Bank, to the 
present time, whenever we have been without that Institu- 
tion, our pecuniary affairs have been greatly deranged. In 
this State, the issue of a National Bank has been fairly sub- 
mitted to the people by the rival candidates, in the two last 
gubernatorial elections. The result, each time, proves the 
majority to be in favor of such an Institution. It is, 
therefore, respectfully submitted, whether you ought not 
to aid, by all the means as your command, to carry out this 
expressed will of your Constituents. 

"The disease, under which the National prosperity 
labors, is the want of facility in Exchanges and a sound 
uniform National Currency. The remedy, resorted to in 
some of the States, is the establishment of State Banks, 
which throw in circulation a supply of notes, which for a 
moment seems to give relief, but these notes have only 


to take a turn or two Northward, and back again, to be 
redeemed with specie, and the vaults are empty — the Bank 
suspends — the notes become valueless, and the remedy turns 
out to be a wretched quackery, that aggravates the disease. 
Banks owned by States, so located as to be subject to these 
continued drains of their specie, cannot withstand the oper- 
ation, any more than those owned by individuals. 

"The passage of a new Tariff of duties, at the last Ses- 
sion of Congress, it is hoped, will relieve the nation from the 
temporary shifts of issuing Treasury notes, or of resorting 
to loans to meet its current expenses, and to pay its debts. 
Already its effects are visible in the increased activity of 
American Industry, and in the growling tone of some of the 
European Journals, and in due time, it is believed, will be 
visible in the increase of our Revenue. But scarcely has the 
law gone into operation, before we hear its repeal threat- 
ened, because its object is something besides raising Reve- 
nue. It is high time, the principles, under which duties 
may be imposed, should be settled and adhered to. The 
principle being settled, the extent to which the power may 
be exercised then becomes a matter of expediency. All 
agree that duties may be imposed to raise Revenue, but 
some contend that they can be imposed for no other object. 
If this latter doctrine be true, then are we shorn of some of 
the most important prerogatives of a sovereign People — then 
may we be subjected to the most abject commercial Slavery. 
If it be admitted that Europe can pour into our Country 
the excessive productions of her pauper labor, whenever 
she chooses, and can exclude our productions from her 
Markets, or tax them so high as to be ruinous to us, and 
that we have no power to protect ourselves against the influx 
of the one, or to counteract the oppressive exclusion, or 
heavy exactions of the other — then, indeed, are we in a 
helpless condition. The avowal of this doctrine is well cal- 
culated to invite Foreign Powers, who are so inclined to 
forget right, to impose all such tyrannical restrictions upon 
our commerce, as their cupidity may suggest. Indeed, for 
some time past, we have been approximating this condition. 
Europe has been flooding our Country with the products of 


her labor, at a tax of some 20 per cent, while the produc- 
tions of American Labor have been either totally excluded 
from her markets, or taxed from 50 to 2500 per cent. Her 
writers upon the wealth of Nations descant to us upon the 
beauties of Free Trade. Her political Orators and Jour- 
nals shout to us, across the Atlantic — 'Free Trade' — and 
the glorious privilege of buying from whom you please. 

"Some of us re-echo Free Trade, and the glorious privi- 
lege of buying of whom we please. But from none of these 
do we hear the shout of Free Trade and the glorious privi- 
lege of selling where we please and to whom we choose. 
It is as important to us to have the privilege of selling, 
without exorbitant exactions, as it is to buy without them. 
H every facility and inducement to purchase the industry 
of others are opened to us — but every facility and induce- 
ment to sell the products of our industry are obstructed or 
closed, then must we become, most surely, a ruined people. 
This sentiment was uttered by one of our most distinguished 
Presidents, in 1824, in relation to a Tariff, and at that time 
when he was before the people as a candidate for that high 
office, is fully sustained by eighteen years of subsequent ex- 
perience. He said — Tn short. Sir, we have been too long 
subject to the policy of British Merchants. It is time we 
should become a little more Americanised, and, instead of 
feeding the paupers and laborers of Europe, feed our own; 
or, else, in a short time, by continuing our present policy, 
we shall be rendered paupers ourselves.' The policy then 
recommended by him has not been pursued, and how truly 
he shadowed forth our present condition. Let us resist 
the policy of British Merchants; let us become a good deal 
more Americanised; let us feed our own paupers and 
laborers, instead of feeding those of England ; let us aban- 
don that policy which leads to Pauperism, and adopt that 
which will raise paupers and laborers to competency and 
independence. Let us declare our Commercial Indepen- 
dence and proclaim to the world, we have the power not 
only to raise Revenue by imposing duties, but that we have 
the power, by imposing them, to protect American Industry 
against European Industry, and to counteract by our Legis- 


lation any foreign Legislation hostile to our interests. But, 
at the same time, let us invite all nations to a commercial 
intercourse with us, upon terms of the most extended liber- 
ality, but, they must be terms of equality and reciprocity. 

"That the General Government has power to impose 
duties for the protection of American Industry, against 
European Industry, and to counteract foreign legislation 
hostile to our Interests, I think can admit of no doubt. 
When the States became independent, they had the power 
unquestionably. All their powers to impose duties, they 
transferred to the General Government by the adoption of 
the Constitution. They then ceased to have the power; 
and, if the General Government has it not, then the power 
is extinct. Is there an American willing to admit this? 

"I do not wish to be understood as advocating a high 
Tariff. I contend for the power to impose it, if we think 
our interests require it. I advocate the doctrine of Free 
Trade, as far as it is practicable; but when it ceases to be 
practicable, unless at a ruinous sacrifice to us, I abandon it, 
and say to the world — ^'We will do unto others as they do 
unto us.' 

"I have thought it proper, on this occasion, to say thus 
much on this important subject. The American people 
ought to know the general opinion of the Union upon it; 
that they may make some calculation what is likely to be the 
course of policy pursued for the future. Frequent legis- 
lation on the subject, from one extreme to another, defeats 
the best devised plans, baffles the wisest calculations, and 
often destroys hopes well founded. The suspense in which 
the people are kept, checks their energy, curbs their enter- 
prise, and kills their prosperity. 

"I had long entertained the hope, upon the payment of 
our National Debt, the proceeds arising from the sales of 
Public Lands, would be distributed among the States, to 
which they so justly belong. This Fund would aid the 
States greatly in the Education of their Youth, and in their 
sphemes of Improvement. But if we wish to expend more 
than the means now at our command, we shall have to resort 
to an increase in Taxes upon our citizens. The President 


has thought proper to interpose himself between us and our 
just rights and deprive us, for the present, of the Funds 
arising from that source. He had the power to do so, and 
we must submit until the time shall arrive, for us to exercise 
the power vested in us, by removing the obstruction, and 
taking possession of what is so justly ours. 

"The President having called an extra Session of Con- 
gress in 1841, prior to the regular Congressional Elections 
in our State, it became my duty to order an Election for 
Members of the present Congress, by Proclamation. 

"In the death of the Hon. Lewis Williams, the late Rep- 
resentative in the thirteenth Congressional District, the 
House of Representatives was deprived of its oldest, and 
one of the most efficient Members, the State one of its ablest 
and most faithful Representatives, and the community, of 
one of its best, most honored and most esteemed citizens. 
A Writ of Election was issued to supply the vacancy, which 
resulted in the election of the Hon. Anderson Mitchell, of 

"By the death of Alexander Troy, Esq., late Solicitor 
of the fifth Judicial Circuit, the State was deprived of an 
excellent officer, and of a most estimable citizen. A tempo- 
rary appointment, by the Presiding Judge, of Hon. Robert 
Strange, was made to fill the vacancy. It will be your duty 
to elect his successor. Solicitors for the second and fourth 
Judicial Circuits are likewise to be elected. 

"The Report of the State and progress of Common 
Schools is necessarily too long for this Communication, and 
will constitute a part of the Report of the Literary Board. 

"Having received the resignations, in file A, of William 
B. Shepard, Esq., the Senator elect from the first Senatorial 
District ; of Elisha Bostick, a member elect of the House of 
Commons, from the County of Richmond ; and of Robert T. 
Paine, a member elect of the same House, for the County 
of Chowan, I issued Writs of Election to supply these vacan- 

"The accompanying File, marked B, contains the resig- 
nations of Justices of the Peace, made since the last Ses- 


"The accompanying File C, contains Resolutions passed 
by the Legislatures of the following States, viz.: Maine, 
Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New 
York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Vir- 
ginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Ten- 
nessee, Kentucky and Indiana. These Resolutions refer to 
the following subjects: 

"The death of the President and the donation to his 

Widow ; 

"The amendment of the Constitution as to the Veto 
Power, and the Presidential term of service, and the pas- 
sage of a Law, requiring Electors for President to be elected 
on the same day throughout the Union; 

"The Revenue and Tarifif, protective and discriminating ; 

"The Public Lands, and the distribution of the proceeds 
of the sales thereof ; 

"The demand of fugitives from justice, embracing the 
demand of persons, charged with Negro stealing and the 
correspondence on the subject; 

"The Northeast Boundary ; 

"The admission of Texas into the Union; 

"The U. S. Bank, or Fiscal Corporation; 

"The Bankrupt Law; 

"The Sub-Treasury; 

"The Repudiation of State debts ; 

"The surviving Soldiers of the Revolution; 

"The Military Academy at West Point; 

"The Loan Bill and One Hour rule of the House of 

"The term of service of Hon. William A. Graham, a 
Senator of the United States from this State, expires with 
the present Congress. You will supply the vacancy. 

"During the past Spring, I received the Standard Yard 
Measure and Ounce Weights furnished by the General 
Government. I advertised for a Contract to make dupli- 
cates thereof, to be furnished to the several Counties agree- 
ably to Act of Assembly. Having received no bid, through 
the agency of a gentleman travelling Northward, I endeav- 
ored to get a contract to make them in that direction. A 


proposition has been received, to execute the work in a 
style so superior, and at a price so far above anything con- 
templated by the Legislature, that I did not feel warranted 
in accepting the proposition. The capacity measures, in- 
tended for Standards, were not then ready, and have not 
been received. 

"By a Resolution of the Last Session, I was directed to 
cause the 1st Volume of the Revised Statutes, to be dis- 
tributed to such Magistrates as had been appointed since 
1836. I have caused all the copies at this place, except such 
as are required to be retained, to be distributed ; and it is be- 
lieved, a few Magistrates are not yet supplied. There were 
a few extra copies in some counties, from which I have en- 
deavored to supply those who were not supplied. 

"In conclusion, Gentlemen, should the wisdom of your 
Counsels tend to elevate the moral character of our State, 
to enlighten its youth, to relieve the helpless, to reform of- 
fenders, to protect the innocent, to improve our physical 
condition, to aid the debtors, to reward industry, and to en- 
courage honesty, integrity and morality, none will be more 
grateful to you for the essential services, than 
"Your Fellow Citizen 

"and humble Servant 

"J. M. Morehead."' 

No more statesman-like executive message ever issued 
from any gubernatorial chair in the United States ; and, in 
its national and international aspect, it is worthy of any oc- 
cupant of the Presidential chair. It was widely circulated 
and its principles are still advocated and sometimes has been 
quoted by his successsors down to the present generation. 
Here is a conception of transportation that was to become 
his chief theme for the rest of his life; and his latest suc- 
cessor, as this is written, is still carrying them out to their 
logical conclusion. The Whigs were of course finding it 
the produest day of their lives in North Carolina. 

Among expressions outside of the State concerning the 
Whig executive's message was a notable and typical one 

^Raleigh Register, 25th November, 1842; and official reports. 


from the Alabama Times: "The Message we have read 
with great pleasure. It is the Message of a Whig Governor 
to a Loco Foco Legislature. It will be remembered that Gov. 
Morehead was re-elected in August last, over his Loco Foco 
opponent, Louis D. Henry, of Fayetteville, by the same voters 
that elected a Loco Foco majority in the two houses of the 
Legislature. The language of the Message is marked 
throughout with a bold and fearless spirit worthy of the hon- 
ors the Old North State has bestowed upon its author, and 
well worthy of being made an example by older heads than 
Gov. Morehead's. Governor Morehead we view as one of 
the Old North State's most promising sons. He may be 
termed a young man, his age being between 40 and 45. He 
is a fine orator, a good scholar, and is justly considered a 
man of fine talents. There is something noble in his 
ordinary appearance, his private conversation is always re- 
markably interesting; and when speaking his fine appear- 
ance, his manners and gestures are well calculated to make 
an impression on all present that he is no ordinary man."^ 

Still further abroad, in the London Sun, his vigorous 
sentiments on public credit and honor attracted attention. 
After expressing itself upon repudiation by certain of the 
states, it said: "With this view we republish the following 
extract from the Message of the Governor of North Caro- 
lina;" and, following the extract, continued: We hope to see 
more and more of the same kind of language in the speeches 
of American statesmen. The stain produced upon their 
character by the repudiating doctrines of the notorious Mc- 
Nutt [of Mississippi] sticks so thick over them, that it will 
require a great deal of active honesty to wash out the filth. 
A few such men as Governor Morehead of North Caro- 
lina, might do much to restore the lost credit of the United 
States in the European money market."- 

The National Intelligencer of Washington quoted from it 
liberally and said it "is very justly commended for its wis- 
dom and its patriotism;" while the Richmond Whig in com- 
plimenting it, said : "Upon the whole, we must say that the 

1 Raleigh Register, Jan. 3, 1843. 
^Ibid., 10th Feb., 1843. 


Government of North Carolina is obviously in a most un- 
democratic state. It is not in confusion ; it is not in debt ; 
its monied institutions are somewhat more than so-called. 
Its public honor seems unshaken, the authority of its laws 
gently but firmly maintained over an orderly and moral 
people; there is no talk of either Repudiation or Relief; 
and such, in a word, is the whole condition of the State, 
that the Governor is able, through his Message generally, 
rather to propose meliorations and plans of Improvement, 
than to offer idle projects for averting the ruin which bad 
Legislation and Public Immorality have, in many States, 
pulled down, in hideous overthrow, upon the whole com- 

What the Democratic Assembly did with his suggestions 
is best told in the words of a Raleigh Whig editor: "The 
Session Has Been the Longest Ever Held in North 
Carolina! It commenced on Monday, the 21st of No- 
vember, 1842 — and ended on Saturday, the 28th day of 
January, 1843 — a period of sixty-nine days! The people 
will scrutinize the captions of the acts passed, which we 
publish today, in vain, if they expect to find any equivalent 
for the time wasted, or money squandered ! They will pore 
in vain over this 'beggarly account of empty boxes,' if they 
hope to find any realization of the splendid promises made 
by the Loco Foco Candidate, whilst canvassing the State. 
No provision has been made for the public necessities — noth- 
ing, absolutely nothing has been done to promote the 
common interest. With a majority of thirty, or thereabouts, 
on joint ballot — with the numerical strength to pass any 
measure — the Loco Foco Legislature adjourned, without 
having matured one single proposition to better the 
CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE."^ One reason for this was the 
very radical reapportionment made necessary by the new 
census — always a very difficult matter. Three new western 
counties were created also ; and there were seventy-six pri- 
vate acts. Another feature was the Democratic agitation 
against the State banks, but when the State Bank itself 

1 Raleigh Register, 31st Jan., 1843. 


asked to be allowed to close up its affairs, the gage of battle 
was not accepted ; and also much time was spent in trying 
to instruct Whig national senators by a Democratic Assem- 
bly. This is of course the Whig attitude at this time, an 
attitude which is necessary to the understanding of this 
narrative. The whole internal improvement plan was 
turned down on the ground that the railroads, private cor- 
porations, had to call for help from the state, in these 
financially difficult years. Senator William A. Graham, 
Whig, was replaced in the national Senate by a Democrat, 
which at once made him a favorite candidate to succeed 
Governor Morehead, even as early as March, 1843. 

This situation made it unnecessary for Governor More- 
head to say much at his second inauguration on January 1, 
1843, but one may see what he thought of his oath of office, 
in a letter of December 17th previously to Chief Justice 
Ruffin concerning the oath of office where he says he ex- 
pects to qualify on the 31st, and also says: "I look upon 
the installation of the Executive as anything else than a 
mere empty pageant or idle show, at least so far as he is 
concerned. Although the powers of the Executive of our 
State are very limited, and but little room is left for the dis- 
cretionary exercise of them — which is the evidence of the 
excellence of our institutions, which regulates by law every- 
thing so far as it is practicable — it becomes the more im- 
portant to watch over that excellence. The solemnity of the 
obligations, which the Executive assumes when about to 
enter upon the discharge of his duties, is well calculated to 
strengthen that frailty to which poor human nature is too 
often a victim, and to nerve that firmness necessary to a 
faithful discharge of those duties. I think there is great 
propriety in the oaths of office being administered to the 
Executive by the highest officer of the Judicial Department, 
in the presence of the Legislature. And it will be additional 
gratification to me to have these Oaths administered by the 
high Judicial Officer in the person of yourself."^ 

The amount of detailed purely executive business that 

1 The Ruffin Papers, Hamilton, Vol. 2, p. 212. 


comes before a Governor is startling to one who has occa- 
sion to see it for the first time. It was not less so with 
Governor Morehead. One of the few times in his life, he 
was ill for several weeks in the summer of 1843, so that 
on August 24th, he left for a vacation in the old home of 
his boyhood in Rockingham county where his mother was 
still living. His health was restored and he was back in 
Raleigh by the middle of September. The Whigs had be- 
come very active again and by October, the Oxford Mercury 
urged that the national ticket be "Clay and Morehead," and 
recalling how Washington and the world had been im- 
pressed by the Whig Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Badger, 
exclaimed : "Let John M. Morehead be made Vice-President, 
and the world will find there are more where Mr. Badger 
came from." The Whig State Convention of 7th Decem- 
ber, 1843, which nominated Clay for the Presidency, sent 
Dudley and Badger to the National Convention and nomi- 
nated Graham for Governor, also said : "that the Executive 
Administration by his Excellency, John M. Morehead, has 
been marked by uniform intelligence and dignity, by un- 
rivalled firmness and perfect integrity: And this Conven- 
tion, upon a review thereof, cannot forbear to express their 
high gratification that the Whig party has furnished to 
North Carolina such a Governor." Upon invitation, the 
Convention was entertained at "Government House" in the 
evening by Governor and Mrs. Morehead. 

During the spring of 1844 when the Whigs of North 
Carolina were looking forward to a visit from Henry Clay, 
still more suggestions of Governor Morehead for Vice-Presi- 
dential candidate were made. In the Register for February 
9th, "A Whig of the West" says he has heard of but one 
name for that office ; "But we have an individual of our own 
state, who would not only do the citizens of the Old North 
State great honor, but the American people generally — I 
allude to His Excellency, John M. Morehead. He is natur- 
ally, a great, and, I may say, a good man ;" and he shows 
what need had been shown for a strong man as Vice- 
President. North Carolina should have the place and 
"Clay and Morehead" would sweep the land. He urged 


the delegates to see to it. On the 27th still another, sug- 
gested by the former, made a plea : "I have known Gov. 
Morehead ever since he -wzs a collegian, and as your corre- 
spondent justly remarks, he is a great and good man; and I 
can say with all sincerity, I have never met his superior. 
Take him altogether, he is one of Nature's noblest sons ; no 
man has a greater reputation among his acquaintances for 
native intellect." He then compared him to Gen. Harrison. 

While these events were in progress a school for the 
Deaf and Dumb was opened in Raleigh in May, 1845, 
through the efforts of Governor Morehead, who had said on 
November 4th, previously: "Impressed with a desire that 
something should be done for the afflicted children of Provi- 
dence, I directed the attention of the last Legislature to the 
subject, but had the mortification to see the recommendation 
wholly disregarded." This was in a letter in regard to an 
offer of William D. Cooke of Staunton, Virginia, to under- 
take a school for Deaf and Dumb if encouraged, since he 
had observed that the census gave North Carolina as having 
82 deaf mutes under 14 years of age, 80 between 14 and 25, 
and 118 above 25. It finally resulted in the establishment 
of one in Raleigh. Mr. Cooke's results on a deaf mute of 
Greensboro, Daniel Albright, had great influence in his 
success. The school opened in Raleigh the following May. 
This was due to an appropriation of the late Assembly of 
$5000 a year from the School Fund for the education of 
the deaf, dumb and blind, and provision for county tax of 
$75 a pupil.^ 

The great event of the spring of 1844 was the visit of 
Henry Clay to North Carolina's capital on his own birthday, 
April 12th. Ten to fifteen thousand Whigs received him — 
it even surpassed the Convention scenes of 1840. He was 
the guest of Governor Morehead at the executive mansion 
at the foot of Fayetteville street on the night before, and 
with a great procession headed by an open landau, drawn by 
four gray horses, in which were the Governor and his 

'^ In 1843 Governor Morehead had offered Mr. Cooke a large tavern house 
and out-houses at Leaksville for such a school, offering it free the first year and 
at a very moderate rental afterwards. 


famous guest, he was introduced at the capitol grounds and 
made a great speech. After he was presented with a silk 
vest made by a Granville young lady, the barbecue was an- 
nounced. Speeches fell upon Raleigh's multitude like leaves 
of Vallombrosa, and cheers were elicited for "Clay, More- 
head and Graham," as though that were the next ticket to 
be voted for. But when the National Whig Convention met 
in Baltimore on May 1st, it was from Mr. Van Buren's 
state that a Vice-Presidential candidate was taken, Theo- 
dore Frelinghuysen. To face these the Democrats again 
went to Tennessee and secured James K. Polk, and chose a 
Pennsylvanian, George M. Dallas, for second place. But 
the annual elections in the "Old North State" showed that 
the Whigs had learned a lesson, namely : "Get out and 
vote!" For, while they gave Graham but 3441 majority — 
over a 1000 less than they gave Alorehead the second time 
and over 4500 less than the first time, still they not only 
elected a Whig Executive but a Whig Senate with 2 ma- 
jority and a 22 majority in a Whig House. Surely North 
Carolina was the Whig state, par excellence!'^ And Gov- 
ernor Morehead was to have a Whig Assembly of his own 
after all ! And the totals were scarcely all in on September 
9th, when Death, to show that he was no respecter of parties, 
claimed the defeated Democratic gubernatorial candidate. 
Col. IMichael Hoke ! The prestige of North Carolina rose 
over the United States even more, if possible, than under 
the victories of Morehead. Naturally, in November, she 
went for Clay even more vigorously, but — in vain ! Still — 
the new President, James K. Polk, was a son of North 
Carolina, not only by birth, but by education, and was not 
only a fellow-student at the University with Governor 
Morehead, but while the latter was one of its instructors. 
North Carolina was mother of at least two Presidents. 

^ North Carolina was the only southern state to cast her electoral vote for 
Henry Clay. The Abolition vote of about 60,000 was taken from the Whigs; 
and if it had not been, it would make enough to elect Clay, so far as popular 
vote is concerned. So that the Whigs lost through the Abolitionists, and the 
Democrats did not really gain. President Polk was a minority executive, owing 
his election to the Abolitionist defection. There was also a Whig Senate. 
There were twelve Whig Governors: Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ken- 
tucky, Ohio, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, 
Massachusetts and Vermont; but there were fourteen Democratic ones. 


This event occurred at almost the same time as the 
meeting of the new Whig Assembly, and as Governor More- 
head's previous message, containing his ideas, has been 
presented in full, the present one need be merely outlined. 
As to the finances, he objected to the habit of falling back on 
the common school fund for aid, and measures should be 
taken to prevent it. In dealing with the railroad debts, he 
drew attention to the purchase of mortgage on the Ports- 
mouth road, now in the courts with some of its tracks torn 
up, and noted the possibility of that course with the Raleigh 
& Gaston road. He felt that what the roads needed was 
more business, which could be met by a connection of the 
latter with the Wilmington at Weldon by a road about a 
dozen miles long, which he had urged before ; and the various 
internal improvements he had urged, especially a system of 
locks at falls and ship canals at Nag's Head and Beaufort 
Harbor. He proposed an Agricultural professorship or else 
a school and model farm ; also proposed surveys : geological, 
mineralogical and agricultural, with a department of sta- 
tistics. He noted that only Edgecombe and Rowan counties 
had not adopted the common school system provided, and 
proposed a state superintendent and better organization. 
Again he urged asylums or schools for the deaf, dumb, 
blind and insane or defective ; and likewise a penitentiary 
and revision of the criminal code. Again also he urged more 
copying of North Carolina material in British archives.' He 
suggested an enclosure for the new capitol grounds; and 
noting the fact that no swamp lands had been sold, said it 
was because of the national financial depression, and that 
they were growing in value. He touched upon free trade as 
a "humbug" and said a tariff was settled national policy; 
and again expressed his belief that the national land fund 
should be distributed. In closing he expressed his only 
regret, since his term would soon end, namely, that the leg- 
islative department "did not assign to me, during my admin- 
istration, the execution of some work of great and per- 

1 On December 21, 1844, he asked that the executive office might take meas- 
ures to collect and preserve legislative documents of the revolution and it was 
granted, and his successor at once took it up vigorously. 


manent public utility, whereby, in the faithful and zealous 
performance of the duty, I might manifest to the people of 
North Carolina, the profound gratitude which I feel to them 
for the confidence they have reposed in me, and for the 
kindness with which my official acts have been received by 

The Whig Assembly only sat 52 days, adjourning on 
January 6, 1844, just five days after Governor Morehead 
was succeeded by the new executive. The same editor who 
almost consigned the former Whig Assembly to perdition, 
praised this as the most arduous and laborious legislature 
he had ever known. He considered the most important 
measures to be : 1. The act to prevent imprisonment of hon- 
est debtors; 2. The one in favor of poor debtors; 3. Au- 
thorization of foreclosure of the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad 
for reorganization ; 4. Popular vote on building a peniten- 
tiary; 5. Surveys for a turnpike west from Raleigh and 
Fayetteville to the Georgia line ;^ 6. Making Sheriffs and 
Constables liable for debts uncollected through lack of dili- 
gence ; 7. Consolidation of Common School code ; 8. Ap- 
propriation and tax provision for relief and education of 
Deaf, Dumb and Blind ;- 9. To prevent fraudulent voting ; 
and 10. For more speedy administration of justice. The 
amount of humanitarian and educational measures is most 
striking ; while the survey of a western road was a first step 
in what was to prove probably his greatest life work. 

Governor Morehead and his family awakened public 
pride in and affection for them. Farewells began as early 
as December 7th, when, in the evening, Stith's Cavalry 
Corps arrived at the executive mansion at the foot of Fay- 
etteville street for that purpose, whereupon he gave them a 
military order to dismount and attack his refreshments. The 
Raleigh Guards came in the afternoon a week later on the 
same errand and with like results. It was on that evening 
that Governor Morehead presided at an exhibition of results 
accomplished in deaf, dumb and blind students which influ- 
enced the appropriation that made a school possible. It was 

^ He came near getting the turnpike itself. 

* Guilford, the Governor's county, was the first to vote a tax for it 


on New Year's Eve, however, that a unique farewell dinner 
was given him and his family by the members of the As- 
sembly, in which all party differences were forgotten. This 
was the eve before their departure and Editor Gales voiced 
public sentiment when he said a few days later: "They 
came amongst us four years ago, strangers — they depart, 
bearing with them the deep regrets and cordial good wishes 
of the entire population.'" 

1 A playful pretty incident was part of the welcome of Henry Clay at the 
Executive Mansion, mentioned on page 268: When they reached the recep- 
tion room, Governor Morehead placed his four-year-old, red-headed son, James 
Turner Morehead, in his pink silk dress, upon the table, and the child pro- 
nounced the welcome to the famous Kentuckian and said he would be the next 
President, proving that the bump of prophecy is not fully developed at that 
tender age! 



National Whig Leader 

A Presidential Possibility 


President of the National Whig Convention 



"The passing from office of such a man as Governor 
Morehead," said the editor of The Fayetteville Observer in 
a letter of January 1, 1845, "might be deeply regretted, if 
we did not feel that he is succeeded by one altogether worthy 
of the high honor, and that he himself cannot be permitted to 
remain in retirement, so long as eminent talents and unsul- 
lied public and private character continue to be appreciated 
in this good old state. There are few such men in the United 
States as John M. Morehead, and none better calculated to 
command respect and to win esteem. I hope to see him 
adorn a higher station than that from which he now retires 
with so well deserved a reputation." 

The Hillsboro Recorder said: "Governor Morehead re- 
tires from his post, having lost nothing of the respect and 
esteem of those who placed him there. He has served out 
the time limited by the constitution, with a faithfulness and 
ability worthy of all commendation ; and he will carry with 
him in his retirement the best wishes of his constituents. 
May he have a long life of happiness, prosperity and useful- 
ness." This Hillsboro emphasis on his retirement, however, 
came from Governor Graham's home, and while these two 
splendid Whigs were so different as hardly to be compar- 
able, they were liable to be so close together in Whig opera- 



tions as to be objects of a choice between them. Hence the 
Hillsboro editor's more easy acceptance of the idea of the 
Ex-Governor's retirement than that of the Fayetteville 


After some visiting, Governor Morehead returned to his 
old home, "Blandwood," in Greensboro, on January 9, 1845, 
and that was made a gala day. They were met by the 
Greensboro Guards and officials and proceeded to the east 
front of the old Court House, where he was officially re- 
ceived. The Governor spoke feelingly of his experiences and 
at length. 'T have returned among you, my fellow-citizens, 
of Greensboro and Guilford, with a bosom thrilling under 
emotions of inexpressible pleasure. I am among my early 
friends and shall in all probability spend here the remainder 
of my days. I love old Guilford. Why should I not love 
this beautiful and pleasant spot, consecrated to my heart 
with the most cherished reminiscences of my life? It is the 
birthplace of my wife — the birthplace of my children — the 
scene of my early public efforts — the place where my re- 
mains will repose when it shall please the Almighty to call 
me hence. And what do I owe to you, my neighbors and 
fellow-citizens — you who have so often endorsed me to the 
State and to the world with a cordial unanimity almost un- 
exampled in the annals of free elections? The position of 
Guilford is an enviable one. Let her ever maintain that 
proud position which she has achieved in the scale of intel- 
ligence, and the good influence of her moral and steady 
habits. Let us still join and continue our efforts to spread 
intelligence, morality and religion among all people; and 
never cease while anything good is left for us to perform."^ 
And he came home in the spirit of a Cincinnatus, for he who 
served the commonwealth now served as presiding Judge of 
Guilford County Court, in which capacity one of the char- 
acteristic things he did was to build a humane Poor House, 
whose humane features secured for it among opponents of 
it the epithet ''Morehead's Folly," just as his Democratic 
opponents were driven to the desperate expedient of chang- 

^ Patriot, Jan. 11, 1845. 


ing his name to "John Moonshine Morehead." "Such is the 
excellence of our institutions," said Editor Swaim of The 
Patriot in reference to it, "no matter what honors a man 
may have acquired, they are not detracted from, but rather 
increased, by being useful in any station." 

The Whigs of Montgomery county were not inclined to 
allow him to retire and nominate him for Congress. "We 
have no idea that the Governor will accept," said the 
Raleigh Register, "but if he would, what a leader the Whigs 
could boast of in the lower House!" Other counties took 
it up with such seriousness, that on May 5, 1845, Governor 
Morehead felt compelled to address a letter to the Ashe- 
borough Convention, in which after he expresses his grati- 
tude for their confidence, he adds : "But after an absence of 
so great a length of time from my private and complicated 
afTairs, devoted wholly to the public service, I find it abso- 
lutely necessary to devote a portion of my time and services 
to the regulation of my private affairs. And I feel confident 
that I have no friend who would not willingly excuse me 
from this service, if he were aware of the sacrifice that I 
should necessarily suffer, if I were the successful candidate 
in the next election." 

However, he presided at a meeting on May 19th, called 
to condemn the Sub-Treasury bill just passed by the lower 
House of Congress and "spoke of the existing war with 
Mexico, condemning most unequivocally the President's pol- 
icy in bringing on the war ; but none would be more ready to 
sustain the President than himself, in prosecuting this war, 
now that we had gotten into it, with vigor and energy, that 
it might be brought to a speedy and honorable termination." 
He eulogized Webster and condemned Webster's enemies. 

Development was contagious wherever Governor More- 
head was : In May a new High School was opened in 
Greensboro with forty-five to fifty pupils, and the Methodist 
Female College buildings were completed. At the Univer- 
sity commencement on June 5th, he again presided at the 
Alumni Association of w^hich he had been chairman or 
President since its formation on May 31, 1843. He was also 
chosen to deliver its address in 1846, which was described as 


"a fit model for all to come afterward."^ As a member of 
the Trustees he joined in conferring the degree of LL.D. 
"upon the just" Whig, late President of the Senate, pro tern., 
Mangum, and "the unjust" Democrats, President Polk and 
Attorney General Mason, the latter of whom had been his 
fellow-students at the University. 

The annexation of Texas on July 4, 1845, was looked 
upon as almost certain to produce war with Mexico, and the 
Whigs expected the Democrats to repeal the Tariff, pass the 
Sub-Treasury bill — all of which made financiers and po- 
litical leaders apprehensive. Governor Morehead came to 
Raleigh on January 5, 1846, to attend the stockholders' meet- 
ing of the Bank of North Carolina, whose President, Judge 
Cameron, was seeking to resign. Governor Morehead took 
the lead in expressing warnings as to probable financial con- 
ditions of the banks of the land ; and now as the Bank of 
North Carolina was so ably managed and so prosperous, let 
it be kept so by relieving President Cameron of non-essential 
duties in order that he might be retained. His ideas were 
adopted and Governor Graham, himself and Judge Settle 
were made a committee to confer with the President and 
convince him — which they did — and the bank continued its 
prosperous career. 

A few days later, on January 12th, the Whig State Con- 
vention at Raleigh re-nominated Governor Graham, and one 
of the interesting speeches was by Hon. Edward Stanly: 
"In 1840," said he, "they [Democrats] placed in the field a 
man of talents — well and favorably known in every portion 
of the State — to oppose our own noble-hearted Morehead. 
After a thorough canvass, he was found in a minority of 
about 8000 votes. In 1842, they selected, to oppose the 
incumbent, a gentleman distinguished for his great powers 
of imagination and for his fluent declamation, and he was 
informed by some 5000 of these 'Sheep-stealing Whigs' that 
he could not be allowed to 'organize and convene' himself 
into the gubernatorial chair." He then referred to the cam- 
paign of 1844 when their candidate was beaten by over 3000 

' Battle's History of the University gives no further information as to 
when he ceased to be President of the Alumni Association. 


votes. Governor Morehead's brother, Senator James Turner 
Morehead, was active in this convention, but he himself was 
not present. 

His proposals for a penitentiary were the chief subject 
of newspaper epistolary discussion during the winter of 
1845-6, nearly all of it favorable. And the results of his 
Deaf, Dumb and Blind school were heralded and praised in 
scarcely less degree. Governor Graham being one of those 
who made an address on the subject. Another feature was 
the sale and re-organization of the Raleigh & Gaston and 
Portsmouth railroads and the comparative prosperity of the 
Wilmington road. There was at this time in the United 
States 3787 miles of railroad, which cost $113,208,367. The 
longest was the "Central " [Georgia] with 190 mles ; the next 
the Baltimore & Ohio with 188 miles ; next the Wilmington 
& Raleigh [Weldon] with 161 miles ; next the Western of 
Massachusetts with 156 miles — the shortest being the West 
Stockbridge [Alass.] with but 3 miles. The most costly one 
was the Philadelphia & Reading, with but 94 miles, costing 
$9,457,570. Next to these came the Western and B. & O. 
roads. Of these roads, the North Carolina railroads 
totalled 245| miles at a total cost of $3,160,000 — a most 
reasonable cost compared with any of the rest — not counting 
the few miles of the Petersburg & Roanoke, Greenville & 
Roanoke, and the Portsmouth & Roanoke on North Carolina 
territory to reach the Roanoke river. The campaign di- 
vided the interest of the state during the summer of 1846 
with the call on North Carolina for a regiment of infantry 
for the Mexican war, and the news of progress of that 

From public expressions so far away as Raleigh, Edge- 
worth Seminary was making excellent strides in develop- 
ment. It inspired one of the examining board to write of its 
excellence, especially in the higher branches of Latin, 
Algebra, Geometry, Mental Philosophy, Evidences of Chris- 
tianity and other subjects. At the same time, the first week 
in June, Governor Morehead was at the University Com- 
mencement, as a Trustee and President of the Alumni Asso- 
ciation, before whom he gave the annual address, of which 


one editor said : "We happen to know, that, four days be- 
fore the dehvery of this address, pen had not been put upon 
paper, in relation to its subject matter. And yet, for useful 
information, graphic delineation, highly seasoned wit and 
humor, it has not been our lot to witness a happier effort. 
The Governor ought to adopt as the motto on his shield : 
'Semper Paratiis." 

The August elections and the old Whig general, "Rough 
and Ready" Taylor's victories in Mexico restored Whig 
prestige with a vengeance! Governor Graham, a Whig 
Senate and a Whig House by large majorities won in North 
Carolina, which meant two new Whig national Senators. 
Thereupon the west began to make a demand for Governor 
IMorehead for the United States Senate, and the eastern 
Whigs wanted Edward Stanly; others wanted Badger or 
Osborne. The Raleigh Register said Morehead was the 
North Carolina "Rough and Ready." When November 
arrived and the Assembly had made Stanly speaker of the 
lower House and Senator Mangum was willing to accept re- 
election, Ex-Secretary of the Navy Badger was rewarded 
for his resignation in protest against President Tyler and 
sent to the Senate. Later Mr. Stanly was elected Attorney 
General of the State. The Whig victory did not carry 
Governor Morehead's penitentiary proposal, however. 

This political situation was accompanied by a movement 
to extend the Raleigh & Gaston line southward through 
Fayetteville to Camden, South Carolina. The Post Office 
department had diverted the big mail of the state from the 
Wilmington route to the Raleigh line and Fayetteville had 
long been determined on this road. A Railroad Convention 
was therefore set for November 4, 1846, and wide-spread 
interest was shown in it even outside the state. This body 
recommended the building of the road as the metropolitan 
north and south line ; that it is feasible and attractive to 
capitalists ; asked the legislature to charter the North Caro- 
lina section of it ; appointed a preliminary committee to 
canvass cost and the like. 

On Governor Graham's organization of his second term 
early in 1847, he did as his predecessor had done before him, 


placed his own predecessor at the head, next himself, of the 
Literary Board, as the Common School board was called; 
Governor Morehead, Charles Manly and Editor Weston R. 
Gales constituting this body. This was in March, 1847, and 
at once a sale of Swamp Lands was ordered for May 20th 
to the amount of 50,000 acres. On April 13th, a meeting 
was held at the Yarborough Hotel, Raleigh, to arrange to 
secure an office or "station" there on the new "Magnetic 
Telegraph" line ; and it was at this time that Governor More- 
head's board decided to build the Deaf and Dumb School on 
Moore's Square, Raleigh, while the streets resounded and 
sparkled with the celebration of Taylor's victories at Vera 
Cruz and Buena Vista, in which the people called for Taylor 
as Presidential candidate in 1848. This sentiment was gen- 
eral : Philadelphia Whigs nominated him in town meeting 
on April 10th. Then, on May 1st [1847], Mr. Webster and 
his wife, got off the Raleigh & Gaston train, on his Southern 
tour (but not as Senator Clay had done) and was the guest 
of the Governor and attended Christ Church on Sunday. 
Still the journey of such a Whig giant through the South at 
this time might easily suggest another Presidential candidate 
besides the hero of Buena Vista. And while Governor 
Morehead, in May, was at the sale of Swamp Lands, in 
which they sold enough land to open a road into the vast 
tract, from Plymouth, President Polk had promoted one Col. 
Jefferson Davis of Mississippi to be a Brigadier General. 
But this was hardly over, on the 29th, when President Polk 
and his suite followed Mr. Webster in a visit to Raleigh, in 
this case, however, to attend the Commencement of his 
alma mater at Chapel Hill. With him was his Secretary of 
the Navy, John Y. Mason, whom Governor Morehead, as 
President of the Alumni Association, introduced as the 
orator of the day before that body, and who induced that 
body to erect a monument to the late President Caldwell, the 
old teacher of both of them. President Polk had appointed 
four of this Association as ministers to France, Spain, 
Portugal and Italy. But he was hardly back in Washington 
before North Carolina was ablaze with Whig Taylor meet- 
ings, and the Whig papers were publishing a letter of Gen- 


eral Jefferson Davis, in praise of the great hero of the Mexi- 
can war, and northern Democrats were intimating that North 
CaroHna's Whig Governor had not been as cordial to the 
Democratic President as he should have been, because he 
had Webster at the mansion at the foot of Fayetteville 
street and did not have the President as his guest also — 
which appeared to be true. Thus does the loom of events 
weave so strange a tapestry! North Carolina seemed to 
be an unusually beautiful belle to attract such distinguished 
political admirers. 

And then just as the state election was occuring in Au- 
gust, the first telegraph poles, or "posts," as the press then 
called them, had been set up as far as Raleigh and the wires 
were rapidly being hung. And the news said that six out of 
nine North Carolina Congressmen were Whigs — reversing 
the current number there! And this was typical of the 
whole lower House of Congress, now returned to the Whigs. 
As a consequence the Democrats were at sea, with a half- 
dozen candidates to succeed President Polk and the Whigs 
were more joyously acclaiming but one, with every new 
victory in Mexico, notwithstanding the fact that Henry Clay, 
while the returns were coming in, concluded to visit the sea- 
shore at Cape May, but stopped long enough in Philadelphia 
to receive what amounted to a national demonstration. Then 
came James Buchanan's letter saying that the Wilmot Pro- 
viso of 1820 saved the country, therefore let its line be 
projected from the Missouri boundary to the coast in 1848 
and again save the country — and it lifted him out of the 
dead level of the half-dozen Democratic candidates. 

During this autumn the people of Charlotte were taking 
measures to secure a railroad into South Carolina, while 
those of Richmond and Danville were seeking to construct 
one between those two places. Aleanwhile the road from 
Raleigh southward was not prospering as it was hoped, but 
efforts were making to reorganize the Portsmouth road and 
get it in successful operation again. The purchase of a new 
locomotive by the Raleigh & Gaston road as well as news 
from the Wilmington railway indicated that these roads were 
succeeding. The Common Schools fund Vv^as growing also, 


being $101,775 in 1847, the largest figure yet reached; and 
at this time there appeared a novel, Alamance, from the pen 
of a talented young man of the state who was soon to fill an 
office recommended by Ex-Governor Morehead, as head of 
the Common School system of the State, namely, Calvin H. 
Wiley, a native of Guilford county and educated there and 
at the University. 

The campaign of 1848 was officially started in Washing- 
ton, D. C, by Whig members of Congress on the evening of 
January 27th at a meeting over which Senator JMangum of 
North Carolina presided, and it was determnied to hold a 
Whig National Convention. On February 5th, they decided 
to hold it in Philadelphia at Independence Hall on June 7th. 
Thereupon the North Carolina counties began to elect dele- 
gates to the State Convention to be held in Raleigh on Wash- 
ington's Birthday ; and it was notable that some of them, 
like Rockingham county, the old home of Governor More- 
head, announced themselves for Henry Clay instead of Gen- 
eral Taylor, and that some, like Anson county, were silent 
on the subject, while some others, like McDowell county, 
were for the hero of Buena \^ista. When the State Conven- 
tion met, however, and had nominated Charles Manly for 
gubernatorial candidate, they reported resolutions denounc- 
ing the President and defending General Taylor from his 
attacks, but, leaving the ordinary delegates to the National 
Convention to be chosen by districts, named Ex-Governor 
Morehead and Hon. John Kerr of Caswell as delegates-at- 
large for the State, without naming either Clay or Taylor as 
favorites. The choice of Governor Morehead to lead the 
delegation, with his well-known admiration for Henry Clay, 
together with absence of choice of General Taylor was evi- 
dence that North Carolina would make a stand for the Ken- 
tucky statesman. Governor Morehead was not a member 
of the Raleigh Convention. Mr. Kerr was a Taylor man. 

In March came the close of the war by the ratification of 
the Treaty, and General Taylor became still more the popu- 
lar hero; while during the same month, at Harrisburg, the 
Democratic Convention of Pennsylvania gave their favorite 
son, James Buchanan, first place for the Presidency. 


Early in June, 1848, Governor Morehead began prepara- 
tions for his trip to Philadelphia. His business affairs had 
prospered and wonderfully developed in the three years and 
a half since he left the Executive Mansion in Raleigh. His 
family also had increased by one more son, Eugene Lindsay 
Morehead, born on the previous September 16th at "Bland- 
wood," so that he now had four daughters and three sons 
and one son-in-law, William R. Walker, a planter or 
Yadkin river, to whom his eldest daughter was marr!?.M ^n 
May 31st, just before his departure to take train a* 
for Washington and Philadelphia. 

Governor Morehead was fifty-two years ^.^u «t.-,j. iU 
the maturity of his powers. He found scenes of the greatest 
enthusiasm in the Quaker City on the days before the con- 
vention assembled. The scene on the evening of the 6th of 
June is thus described in the Baltimor' Patriot: "The scene 
yesterday evening in Chestnut Strc ■ was animating beyond 
anything we have ever had here in Philadelphia since the 
glorious days of 1776, when, from Independence Hall, went 
forth that great charter of American liberty — the Declara- 
tion of Independence. . . . The friends of General 
Taylor met in Independence Square last night. The large 
square was crowded to excess — not less than twenty thou- 
sand people being present. The enthusiasm exceeded evcii 
that shown in 1840." 

Instead of meeting in Independence Hall, which was far 
too small for such a Convention, they gathered in the 
spacious salon, where had once been exhibited the celebrated 
Chinese Museum, at Ninth and Sansom streets, northeast 
corner, which still bore that name. Here the Convention 
was called to order in the morning of the 7th of June, at 
eleven o'clock — and a temporary organization formed. The 
committee on permanent organization was chosen and at the 
afternoon session, at 4 o'clock, the chairman announced as 
President of the Convention, Hon. John M. Morehead, of 
North Carolina, and amid vociferous applause, it was unani- 
mously confirmed. Messrs. King of Georgia and Fuller of 
New York escorted him to the chair, whereupon Governor 
Morehead addressed the Convention. 


-^ ! 

■ X 


Chinese Museum 

Nortlieast curiier of Ninth and Sanson! Sts., Philadelphia, exterior and interior 

in which Governor Morehead presided over the Whig Convention 

in June, 1848 


"The following is the address deHvered by Gov. Alore- ' 

head, on taking the chair as President of the late Whig Con- / 
vention, at Philadelphia :' / 

"Gentlemen of the Convention : — I do not possess lan- 
guage adequate to express to you my grateful feelings, and 
to return to you my profound acknowledgments for the 
distinguished honor conferred upon me by selecting me to 
preside over the deliberations of this Convention. If, 
Gentlemen, I possessed qualifications, either by experience 
or otherwise, for the distinguished position — as I am con- 
scious I do not — the obligations that you have imposed 
upon me would be far greater than they would deserve, and 
therefore do I consider my indebtedness to you, at this time, 
still larger. 

"The purpose for which you have assembled here from 
every part of the land, uniting in common counsel and de- 
liberation, is that of bringing relief to our common country, 
and devising and executing such schemes as are necessary to 
her prosperity and happiness. Order, wisdom and decorum 
should characterize our deliberations, and so sure as they do, 
success will attend them. [Applause.] 

"We should yield, fellow-citizens, on this occasion, all 
personal preferences. Let us bring forward, for the good of 
our common country, our united counsels and our united wis- 
dom. Let us rear our standard with the full determination 
to carry it on to victory. [Applause.] All we have to do is 
to select a standard bearer who will secure the hearty co- 
operation of all sections of our country in the common cause 
of our country's welfare. Let us have inscribed upon our 
banner 'the prosperity of our country.' [Applause.] 

"It has been asserted that 'to the victors belong the 
spoils.' Let us determine that we will be victors and when 
victorious, if spoils we must have, let them be the redemp- 
tion of our country from her present embarrassed condition, 
and replenishing her exhausted treasury, and restoring her 
to that flourishing and happy condition from which she had 
fallen. Let us endeavor to spread over our land industry, 

^Greensboro Patriot, 17th June, 1848. 


peace and plenty, which shall give to every laborer adequate 
employment and remunerating wages — which shall cause 
every sea to be whitened with the sails of our commerce — 
which shall make the produce of our teeming fields to spread 
plenty over our own land, enable our people to extend to 
others that bounty which a Providence has bestowed upon 
us. [Great applause.] 

"Fellow-citizens — If our deliberations are conducted 
with that order and love of law which characterize the con- 
stituents who sent us here, we shall have little cause to fear 
for our essential triumph. [Applause.] And if our spoils 
be such as I have described, spoils which will bring pros- 
perity to every door, and cause the land to teem with the 
blessings of a wise legislation and well-directed industry; if, 
gentlemen, the results of your deliberations shall be to re- 
store to our country peace, harmony and prosperity : to 
restore to the constitution its violated rights and powers, and 
to restore the administration of the laws of our country to 
its pristine purity, if such should be the effects of your har- 
monious deliberations, and your patriotic counsels, I shall 
deem it the proudest legacy that I can bequeath to my 
posterity, that I had the honor to preside over that council 
of sages whose deliberations produced these happy results." 
[Great applause.] 

It was the afternoon session of the 8th before they were 
ready to nominate, and the old Chinese Museum hall re- 
sounded to the praises of General Taylor of Louisiana, 
Henry Clay of Kentucky, John M. Clayton of Delaware, 
General Winfield Scott, McLean and Webster. The first 
ballot was significant: Taylor, 111; Clay, 97; Scott, 43; 
Webster, 22; Clayton, 4; and McLean, 2. On the second 
ballot, the Clayton and McLean votes and eleven Clay votes 
increased all the others, Webster's 22 standing solid, so that 
it stood: Taylor, 118; Clay, 86; Scott, 49; and Webster, 22. 
With no choice, President Morehead announced the session 
adjourned until Friday morning. The third ballot showed 
good work done for the hero of Buena Vista during the 
night and slight gains for General Scott, but loss to the rest ; 
for General Taylor received 133 and Clay 74 — which was the 


signal for the Clay forces to scatter to the two military com- 
manders, raising General Taylor's vote to 171 — thirty more 
than was necessary to a choice, whereupon President More- 
head announced "in a clear and distinct voice" General 
Taylor as the duly elected Whig candidate for President of 
the United States. The tremendous applause was taken up 
in the streets, and "By means of that astonishing agent — the 
Magnetic Telegraph" — said the Raleigh Register in its issue 
next morning — "we are in possession of the leading acts of 
the National Whig Convention . . . giving us informa- 
tion that John M. Morehead — our own Morehead — had been 
chosen to preside over the Convention ! This is indeed a 
compliment deserved. . . . North Carolina . . . 
has been happily denominated the Thermopylae of Whig 
principles — the most reliable Whig state in the Union ; and 
it is so. . . . The very moment that our paper was being 
put to press on Friday morning, a dispatch was received at 
the Telegraph Office, announcing the glorious intelligence 
that Gen. Zachary Taylor! The Hero of Buena Vista, 
had received the nomination for the presidency on the fourth 

After nomination for the Vice-Presidency, President 
Morehead directed preparation of ballots, and as Abbot 
Lawrence of Massachusetts and Millard Fillmore of New 
York were far ahead of the rest on first ballot, a second 
one soon selected the New York man by within two of the 
same number of votes as that for President, and the objects 
of the Convention were achieved. 

After the motion was made that the National Whig Con- 
vention of 1848 should adjourn. President Morehead said: 
"Gentlemen of the Convention — Before severing the tie 
which has here united us, permit me to return my profound 
thanks for your kindness and forbearance. Your partiality 
placed me in this chair, to the duties of which I am unused 
and unaccustomed — and that same spirit of kindness has 
sustained me in their performance. If I have committed 
mistakes or errors, or if in the discharge of my duties here, 
I have caused pain to any individual, I have only to say 
it was unintentional, and it would cause me serious regret. 


Let us, at all events, carry with us no unkind feelings, and I 
shall feel happy in the impression that no one has any un- 
kind feeling towards me. 

"I, too, have been placed here in a peculiar situation ; and 
as various gentlemen, of different delegations, have given 
expression to their feelings, I trust I may be allowed also 
to say a few words before we part. I, too, have been de- 
feated in the first wish of my heart; I have not succeeded in 
the nomination of my favorite candidate — I stand among 
the vanquished party — but I fall into the h^nds of my victor 
friends, like a conquered damsel into the hands of her lover, 
and submit kindly to my defeat.^ [Loud applause.] I shall 
enter upon the campaign in the true Whig spirit, determined 
to succeed, and if, before the election any Whig can be 
found who will outstrip me in zeal, I hope to take such a 
Whig by the hand, on the fourth of next March, at the in- 
auguration of Gen. Zachary Taylor. 

"It has on a former occasion been my bad fortune not to 
have my first choice approved. In 1840, the Whigs of North 
Carolina unfurled the free standard of Henry Clay in that 
state, and sent his name to the Harrisburg Convention; but 
the Whigs of that Convention, the representatives of the 
entire Union, sent back to us that standard inscribed with 
another name, that of Wm. Henry Harrison — wholly un- 
expected by us. But I only looked to see if it was still the 
True Whig Banner. I did not ask myself what name was on 
it. I never thought of inquiring what side of Mason and 
Dixon's line the nominee was from. It was the Whig 
Banner, and as such it was placed in my hands. For five 
months this hand bore that banner through North Carolina, 
until in the succeeding August, North Carolina, a Slave State, 
fired the first guns of that volley which shook Democracy 
from one end of the Nation to the other. Its re-echoes 
resounded from State to State throughout the entire Union, 
until the great triumph was achieved. 

^ Governor Morehead was the only one of the North Carolina delegation 
who voted for Clay on every ballot Four others voted for Clay, but one turned 
to Scott on the third ballot and one to Taylor on the fourth one. Six were for 
Taylor from the tirst. The President of the Convention, therefore, did not 
vote for Taylor, in convention, but accepted him, and worked for him. One 
of the Taylor men was Calvin H. Wiley. This situation was not calculated to 
make President Morehead a very probable Cabinet possibility. 


"I have mentioned this, gentlemen, for the benefit of 
Ohio, and I will state one incident from which the Whigs 
of that State may hope and profit. North Carolina, though 
■she lost the nomination of her first choice, Henry Clay, soon 
raised on every hill top the banner of Harrison. In one loca- 
tion when a tall pole had been erected with the name of Har- 
rison nailed to the mast, a solitary stranger was seen riding 
past it; attracted by its inscription he stopped, elevated his 
eye and seeing the Whig principles inscribed thereon, doffed 
his beaver and saluted them with three solitary cheers ! Nor 
do I despair before fall that in Ohio will also be seen solitary 
Whigs cheering the banner of Zachary Taylor. 

"I have supported in this body the nomination of Henry 
Clay — that most illustrious son of our country — his sun is 
about to set — and I trust his latest hours may be gilded and 
brightened by our success, which, like the bow of promise, 
will betoken the spread of peace and prosperity around our 
land. I have voted for Henry Clay because no man is more 
largely identified with the glory of our country than he is. 
No administration could add a particle to his undying fame ; 
no honors could add to his treasure heap ! But I yield him 
to this Convention ; yield him cheerfully, and for the future, 
no man can go more heartily than I will for the Hero of 
Buena Vista. 

"It has been suggested from different States that fears 
existed of the result of this nomination. We should never 
fear the consequences when our cause is good. And our 
cause is not that of Zachary Taylor, but of the Whigs of the 
Union. Let us when dangers are thickening around us 
take our cue from his own conduct at Buena Vista, when he 
said: 'We have got the enemy just where we want him; 
now is the time to give them a little more grape, Capt. 
Bragg!' As our leader never surrenders, is there any one of 
his followers who intends to surrender? [an emphatic re- 
sponse of 'no'] then if we all pull together we cannot be 

"Before dissolving this body allow me to wish prosperity 
and happiness to you all, and that you may arrive safely to 
your homes and friends again. I bid you a long and affec- 


tionate farewell, and declare this Convention adjourned 
sine die/'^ 

That night a ratification meeting was held on Indepen- 
dence Square, which was illuminated like day with Drum- 
mond lights, transparencies, variegated lamps and the like, 
while, it is said, 50,000 people seethed and yelled for the 
Whig candidates. Four platforms, on different sides of the 
square were required, the main one being next to the Hall. 
The Whig Inquirer editor called the main stand to order at 
7 P. M. and, after brief remarks, introduced President John 
Motley Morehead, whose inspiring account of the nomina- 
tion was loudly acclaimed, and at mention of the names of 
Taylor and Fillmore "the shouts which went up were like 
those which, Byron says, herald in 'a young earthquake's 
birth' " — to quote from the Baltimore Patriot. At the same 
moment speeches and applause at the other three stands 
were rivalling those at the main one where they were listen- 
ing to President Morehead. 

Immediately on the next morning President Morehead 
dispatched to General Taylor at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the 
following letter of notification, dated at "Philadelphia, June 
10, 1848:" 

"Gen. Zachary Taylor : 

"Dear Sir : At a Convention of the Whigs of the United 
States, held in this city on the 7th instant, and continued 
from day to day until the 9th, you were nominated as a can- 
didate for the Presidency of the United States, at the en- 
suing Presidential election. 

"By a resolution of said Convention, it was made the 
duty of their President to communicate to you the result of 
their deliberations, and request your acceptance of the 

"In obedience to said resolve, I, as the organ therein 
designated, have the honor to make you the foregoing com- 
munication and to ask your acceptance of the nomination. 

"Permit me, dear Sir, to indulge the hope that he who 
never shrinks from any responsibility nor fails to discharge 

1 Greensboro Patriot, 21st June, 1848. 


any duty assigned him by his Government, will not now re- 
fuse this enthusiastic call of his countrymen. 

"I am, dear Sir, with sentiments of very high regard, 
your most obedient servant, 

"J. M. Morehead, 
"President of the Whig National Convention." 

To Mr. Fillmore, on the same day, he sent the following 
somewhat similar communication : 

"Dear Sir: At a Convention of the Whigs of the United 
States assembled in this city on the 7th instant, and con- 
tinued by adjournment until the 9th, Gen. Zachary Taylor 
of Louisiana, was nominated as a candidate for the Presi- 
dency, and you were nominated for the Vice-Presidency of 
the United States, at the next ensuing Presidential election. 

"By a resolution of said Convention it was made my duty 
to communicate to you the result of their deliberations, and 
to request your acceptance of the nomination. 

"I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your most obedient 

"J. M. Morehead, 
"President of the Whig National Convention. 
"Hon. M. Fillmore."^ 

As Mr. Fillmore was only at the distance of Albany, 
New York, he soon received his letter, paid its postage as 
usual, and wrote the following reply, dated seven days later, 
June 17th: 

"Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
your letter of the 10th instant, by which I am notified that 
at the late Whig Convention held at Philadelphia, Gen. 
Zachary Taylor was nominated for President and myself 
for Vice-President, and requesting my acceptance of the 

"The honor of being thus presented by the distinguished 
representatives of the Whig party of the Union for the 
second office in the gift of the people — an honor as unex- 
pected as it was unsolicited — could not fail to awaken in a 

^ Greensboro Patriot, 5th Aug., 184S. 


grateful heart emotions which, while they cannot be sup- 
pressed, find not appropriate language for utterance. 

"Fully persuaded that the cause in which we are enlisted 
is the cause of our country; that our chief object is to secure 
its peace, preserve its honor, and advance its prosperity ; and 
feeling, moreover, a confident assurance that, in Gen. Taylor 
(whose name is presented for the first office) I shall always 
find a firm, consistent Whig, a safe guide, and an honest 
man, I cannot hesitate to assume any position which my 
friends may assign me. 

"Distrusting, as I well may, my ability to discharge sat- 
isfactorily the duties of that high office, but feeling that, in 
case of my election, I may with safety repose on the friendly 
aid of my fellow Whigs, and that efforts guided by honest in- 
tentions will always be charitably judged, I accept the nom- 
ination so generously tendered ; and I do this the more 
cheerfully, as I am willing for such a cause and with such a 
man, to take my chances of success or defeat as the electors, 
the final arbitrators of our fate, shall, in their wisdom, judge 
best for the interests of our common country. 

"Please accept the assurances of my high regard and 
esteem, and permit me to subscribe myself your friend and 
fellow citizen, 

"iMillard Fillmore. 
"Hon. J. M. Morehead."! 

The delay in receiving a reply from General Taylor as to 
his reception of Governor 2^Iorehead's notification of his 
nomination led the latter to publish on July 18, 1848, the fol- 
lowing explanation, in the Greensboro Patriot [20th July is- 
sue] : "Editors of The Greensboro Patriot: On the 10th of 
June, as President of the Whig National Convention, I ad- 
dressed from Philadelphia to Gen. Zachary Taylor and Hon. 
Millard Fillmore letters, apprising them of the nominations 
by that Convention, and requesting their acceptance of the 

nominations. Having received no reply from either of the 

gentlemen, the last of June I addressed them again, and en- 
closed copies of my letters of 10th June. On the 3rd July I 

^ Greensboro Patriot, 5th Aug., 1848. 


received a communication from Mr. Fillmore, dated at 
Albany 17th June, which has been forwarded to the Na- 
tional Intelligencer for publication. From General Taylor 

I have received no communication, and I see by a New Or- 
leans paper that as late as 5th July he had received no 
communication from me. On yesterday I addressed him 
again, directly, and also through two friends ; so that it is 
hoped some one of my communications will reach him. His 

reply shall be published as soon as received. Yours 

J. M. Morehead."! 

General Taylor finally received his notification, however, 
and after over a month, on July 15th [1848] he penned the 
following reply from his home in Baton Rouge. 

"Sir : I have had the honor to receive your communica- 
tion of June 10th, announcing that the Whig Convention 
which assembled at Philadelphia on the 7th of that month, 
and of which you were the presiding officer, have nominated 
me for the office of President of the United States. 

"Looking to the composition of the Convention, and its 
numerous and patriotic constituency, I feel deeply grateful 
for the honor it has bestowed upon me, and for the dis- 
tinguished confidence implied in my nomination by it to the 
highest office in the gift of the American people. 

"I cordially accept that nomination, but with sincere dis- 
trust of my fitness to fulfil the duties of an office which 
demands for its exercise the most exalted ability and pa- 
triotism, and which has been rendered illustrious by the 
greatest names in our history. But should the selection of 
the Whig Convention be confirmed by the people, I shall 
endeavor so to discharge the new duties thus devolving upon 
me as to meet the just expectations of my fellow citizens and 
preserve undiminished the prosperity and reputation of our 
common country. 

"I have the honor to remain, with the highest respect, 
your most obedient servant, 

"Hon. J. M. Morehead, "^- Taylor. 

"Greensboro, Guilford Co., N. C."- 

1 Dashes inserted by the present writer indicate his paragraphing. 
^ Greensboro Patriot, 5th Aug., 1848. 


This letter reached Governor Morehead in time to appear 
first in the Greensboro Patriot on August 5th and in other 
papers simuhaneously. No explanation accompanied the 
pubhcation, but it was gradually rumored that the peculiar 
delay was due to the postal custom of that day, namely, that 
the person to whom an epistle was of most concern and value 
should pay the postage, be he sender or receiver; and that 
these letters were of most concern and value to the candi- 
dates, who would naturally expect to pay the postage. Mr. 
Fillmore did so it seems ; but the blunt soldier of the Mexican 
War, receiving a flood of correspondence which presumed 
his great interest in his proposed candidacy, before he was 
nominated, refused to accept the presumption and ordered all 
un-prepaid mail sent to the Dead Letter Office ! Apparently 
he had not rescinded this order when Governor Morehead's 
notification of June 10th arrived in Louisiana; and it jour- 
neyed on its way to the place where all dead letters go. 
Whether General Taylor finally came to the conclusion that 
this letter was of most concern to him and paid the postage, 
whether some one of the letters reached him without post- 
age, or whether Governor Morehead decided that this notifi- 
cation letter was becoming of more concern to him than to 
General Taylor, has never yet been discovered, so far as is 

But whether General Taylor knew it or not, the whole 
United States knew it as fast as telegraph and courier could 
scatter it, with the usual enthusiasm for a military hero can- 
didate. President Morehead took boat to Norfolk, ar- 
riving on the 13th, and while at the City Hotel, a deputation 
of citizens waited on him and asked him to address the rati- 
fication meeting that evening, which he did amid "thunders 
of applause," to quote the Norfolk Herald. By Tuesday, 
the 20th of June, President Morehead was in Raleigh, where 
he addressed the newly organized "Rough and Ready Club" 
amid the usual enthusiasm. Governor Morehead's slogan: 
"The Prosperity of Our Country" began to have great 
vogue, and victory in State and Nation was destined to fol- 
low him. The August election for Governor, while success- 
ful for the Whig Candidate, Charles j\Ianly, only gave him 


874 majority, because the Democratic candidate, David 
Settle Reid, of Governor Morehead's old home county, Rock- 
ingham, advocated a revision of the constitution to remove 
freehold qualification to vote for State senators. This was 
naturally attractive to all non-freeholders, and the slogan 
"equal suffrage" was a most effective one. It is said this 
slogan was suggested by Stephen A. Douglas, to one of his 
relatives in that region. When it is observed that this 874 
majority for Whig Governor Manly rose to ten times that, 
of 8581, majority for Taylor over Cass, one can easily see 
how powerful the "Equal Suffrage" slogan was and also 
how thoroughly Whig was "The Old North State," the Whig 
Thermopolae ! And also how the President of the Whig 
National Convention, John Motley Morehead, was the most 
powerful Whig in North Carolina and one of the most 
powerful in the United States. 

His Campaign 


Unite East and West North Carolina 



At the time of the Whig National Convention in June, 
1848, the lately increasing interest in the western part of the 
state, in the approach of railroads from Richmond to Dan- 
ville on the northern border and a South Carolina line to 
Charlotte near the southern border, with the magnificent 
possibility of another cross-state line to connect them, 
thereby completing a continental line from Maine to Georgia 
— culminated in a convention at Salisbury in Rowan county, 
presided over by David F. Caldwell. It was determined, 
that as soon as the roads reached the two places mentioned, 
the people should go to the Legislature for a charter. Mr. 
Caldwell was the leading Guilford representative in the 
House of Commons. 

This movement was of course bound to alarm the east 
and her two railroads, for they knew the west was de- 
termined not to be land-locked much longer. The Raleigh 
and Gaston road, now the property of the State, it will be re- 
called, had long been used to base a projected extension 
southward, through Fayetteville, but in vain. Now, as Gov- 
ernor Graham saw this western movement, headed by Guil- 
ford county, and undoubtedly supported by Ex-Governor 
Morehead, he made the proposition in his message of No- 
vember 21, 1848, that the best first step in a solution of 
Raleigh and Gaston troubles as well as general transporta- 



tion improvement would be to extend the Raleigh & Gaston 
Railroad westward presumably through Hillsboro, Greens- 
boro and Salisbury and thence down southward to Charlotte ; 
thus he would make the Maine to Georgia line pass from 
Richmond through Raleigh and his own home town, instead 
of from Richmond to Danville and Greensboro. "Through a 
part of North Carolina alone," said he, "a link is wanting, to 
complete the grand chain of communication, from one ex- 
tremity of our country to the other, and to furnish the whole 
nation those facilities of intercourse which the inhabitants 
north and south of us enjoy in their several sections." He 
argued that branch lines could be built to Fayetteville and 
Goldsboro, "and eventually it might realize that scheme of a 
central railroad consecrated by the patriotic labors of Cald- 
well, in an extension from Goldsboro to Beaufort." He 
thought it the first improvement, which should engage their 
energies, and recommended patronage of the state to half or 
at least two-fifths. It would be about 160 miles and would 
cost about $10,000 a mile. Besides this he recommended the 
other projects that Governor Morehead had advocated, and 
which were now looked upon as Whig projects. The Als- 
sembly, on the 30th, requested him to submit a railroad plan, 
which he did on December 4, 1848. 

The main feature of his plan was the organization of a 
joint stock company — "The North Carolina Railroad Com- 
pany"— of $2,000,000 capital, half to be taken by the State, 
and providing for absorption of Raleigh & Gaston Stockhold- 
ers. In his later developed plan he seems to have put the 
road through the counties south of those of his own and Ex- 
Governor Morehead's, but taking in Salisbury — the place 
where the June Danville-Charlotte Convention was held, but 
he treated it as covering strips both 50 and 100 miles wide. 
The west, or that part of it in favor of the Charlotte-Dan- 
ville link, was by no means convinced of Governor Graham's 
presentation, and were still quite determined to have their 
link charter. The result was that neither charter was se- 
cured, but after Governor Manly's inauguration, and with 
his approval, Senator William S. Ashe of New Hanover 
[Wilmington] and his friends, among whom was Edward 


Stanly of Beaufort county, conceived of the idea of divid- 
ing this western plum, instead of giviing it all to the Raleigh 
and Gaston, by giving half to the Wilmington & Weldon by 
the very simple means of extending it east of Raleigh to the 
latter road at Waynesboro [Goldsboro] — a step in the di- 
rection of the old Caldwell project to Beaufort harbor, as 
Ex-Governor Graham had suggested as a possibility. A 
feature of this plan was that it should be financed, one-third 
by the people and two-thirds by the State, up to $3,000,000 ; 
that the Raleigh-Gaston people should put that road in con- 
dition to the extent of $500,000, for which the state would 
return half their stock and release their bonds; that the 
Gaston- Weldon connection of a dozen miles should be built 
on a half and half basis; and that the Neuse and Tar rivers 
should be improved for the small steamboats recently put 
on. Mr. Stanly led the fight for this in the House and 
warned his eastern brethren that if they did not support it, 
he would vote for the Danville link. The result was that 
the House passed it on January 19, 1849, with a clear ma- 
jority of 6 votes, and sent it to the Senate for concurrence.^ 

In this latter body it was destined to have no such clear 
sailing. It came up on the afternoon of January 25, 1849, 
for third reading. Senator Drake called for yeas and nays. 
"The moment was one of intense interest," says the Raleigh 
Register, "The audience generally were ignorant of the views 
of the Speaker [Calvin Graves], and when he had announced 
that the Yeas were 22, Nays, 22, the stillness was death- 
like ; until the magical words, 'The Chair decides in the 
affirmative,' relieved suspense. The applause which suc- 
ceeded was deafening, and it was some minutes before order 
could be restored." The bill became a law on Friday, January 
26, 1849. The men who voted for it besides Speaker Graves, 
were Senators Ashe [the author], Bell, Daniel, Davidson, 
Gilmer, Hargrove, Hawkins, Joyner, Lane, Lillington, Miller, 

^ Hon. D. M. Barringer, in his sketch of state railroads, attributes the suc- 
cess of this vote to another dramatic event of the session attending the passage 
of a bill to create an Insane Asylum, which had been so earnestly urged by 
both Ex-Governors — Morehead and Graham. The event was the appearance of 
Miss Dorothy Dix before the Assembly and her powerful plea for the insane, 
incidentally to which she drew such a picture of the rords of North Carolina 
that she broke down the lines of the law-makers in both directions! 


Murchison, Patterson, Rowland, Shepard, Smaw, Thomas of 
Davidson, Thomas of Haywood, Thompson of Wake, Wash- 
ington, Woodfin and Worth. Speaker Graves was Speaker 
pro tempore in place of Speaker Andrew Joyner, a Whig, 
who had fallen ill ; and it had been a great compliment to his 
character that, as a conservative Democrat, the Whigs had 
elevated him to this position. Doubtless the leading Whigs 
knew his private views on the subject and knew how he 
would vote upon this most important of their measures, be- 
side which all others sank into insignificance. Of course 
the author of the bill was a Democrat from the Wilmington 
district, and this great measure was secured otherwise by 
giving Fayetteville a plank road to it. Speaker Graves, a 
Democrat also, came from a county, Caswell, near the pro- 
posed Danville-Qiarlotte link, which both favored the link 
and opposed state aid, and his famous casting vote was 
followed by his resignation as Speaker pro tempore and re- 
instatement of Speaker Joyner, who had recovered ; while 
the people of Caswell permanently retired him from public 
life. The Whig and progressive elements of the state, how- 
ever, from that day forward made a hero of him and more 
than one project of a statue to him has been proposed. 

And still — a North Carolina Central Railroad had been 
proposed and even incorporated long before this, and came 
to nothing! It is true Wilmington had never favored it be- 
fore and it had never secured so good financial conditions ; 
but it is also true that never before was there so imminent a 
threat of a Charlotte-Danville trunk-line link for a trans- 
national line that threatened to isolate the east by cutting off 
her back-country commerce ! Nature and events were favor- 
ing the land-locked west, like the "stars in their courses ;" 
and let it not be forgotten this project had been a western one 
of Caldwell and Morehead, since the "Carleton" papers of 
1827; and it was only the grinding of the mills of the gods 
that forced the Wilmington representative to finally accept 
it as a desperate measure of self-preservation, in an eft'ort to 
stay the march of a transnational line down the Piedmont 
into Georgia and the southwest. 

February was not far advanced when Governor Manly 


called his Council to reorganize the Improvement Board; 
and the Salisbury Convention, headed by David F. Caldwell 
reconvened to help forward the newly proposed North 
Carolina Railroad, as though, for the time at least, they had 
<yiven up the Danville link, or that part of it not now 
covered by the projected road; for, if the new road went to 
Greensboro, the link would then be complete except for 
crossing two counties — Guilford and Rockingham — a link so 
short and so necessary to complete the transnational line, 
that, sooner or later, it would be impossible to prevent it. 
Following the Salisbury meeting, Guilford county called a 
Greensboro meeting for February court; and the Raleigh 
Whig editor called for similar meetings in the whole state ; 
adding that The Salisbury Watchman said that they were 
trying to form a list of a hundred men to take the whole 
stock in Rowan and surrounding counties ! The Greensboro 
meeting on 20th February provided for ten delegates to an- 
other Salisbury convention on June 14th, Senator Gilmer 
leading in it. In March, Raleigh had a meeting. 

This agitation, it should be noted, and unfavorable com- 
parison with other states in railway matters should be taken 
for what it was : Advocacy. For, in 1848, only New York, 
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Virginia, Connecti- 
cut, Michigan and New Hampshire had a greater mileage, 
and the last three of these but slightly more ; so that she was 
practically surpassed in her 255 miles of railroad by but five 
states in any material degree. It will be observed that 
Georgia and Virginia, with 602 and 406 miles respectively, 
led the South and ranked next to Pennsylvania, and were on 
both sides of North Carolina at Charlotte and Danville offer- 
ing tremendous railway connection to western North 
Carolina ; and that the section of the new North Carolina 
Railroad between Charlotte and Salisbury or Greensboro 
would itself furnish a large section of that longed for link! 
Indeed, in the North Carolina Railroad the west was receiv- 
ing more than three-fifths of the Charlotte-Danville link! 
And they could well trust Father Time for the rest ! No 
wonder they accepted the new project with alacrity. The 
remaining 43 miles of air line between Greensboro and Dan- 


ville was bound to come later; no one could stop it. Why- 
should they, indeed ? Had not Wilmington been trying to do 
the same thing all along, in the east? Hadn't Raleigh and 
Fayetteville been trying to do the same thing in the center? 
Certainly they had ; and were even now doing so in connect- 
ing Charlotte and Raleigh ! 

A state convention was agitated during the spring and 
there seemed to be a new hope in the people. The new in- 
corporating act named fifteen commissioners to put it into 
effect ; and among them was Ex-Governor Morehead, who 
was also named as the head of the Greensboro sub-com- 
mittee to open books for stock subscriptions. The act was 
well drawn and anticipated practically every feature neces- 
sary to successful organization. At Hillsboro, Orange 
county, Ex-Governor Graham led a meeting in urgence of 
the line's survey through that town and county on Alarch 
15th. By April a South Carolinian offered a thousand dollars 
for the contract of the whole road from Goldsboro to Char- 
lotte. The press began comparing the gains of Boston, 
which had railroads, with New York, which had none : Bos- 
ton increased the value of her real estate from $60,000,000 
(in round numbers) in 1840 to $97,000,000 in 1847; while, 
for the same period and estate, New York scarcely increased 
at all— $187,100,000 to $187,300,000 (in round numbers) ! 
In personal estate, Boston increased from $34,000,000 to 
over $64,000,000 ; while New York actually decreased about 

Early in April, the Internal Improvement Board, on 
which Governor Manly had put Hon. Calvin Graves, met; 
and also the new Commissioners he appointed to create the 
new Insane Asylum, of which commission Ex-Governor 
Morehead was head and Mr. Graves next in order. While 
they were in Raleigh on the 19th of April a railroad meeting 
was held and addressed by Governor Morehead and others, 
and delegates chosen to the Salisbury Convention to be held 
June 14, 1849. Governor Morehead pointed to Massachu- 
setts, Rhode Island, Georgia and Tennessee as good illustra- 
tions of state development. He said at one period when he 
almost despaired of ever securing such a charter as was now 


before them, he had favored the Danville-Charlotte link as an 
outlet for his part of the state ; but with the Central Railroad 
he was heartily satisfied, provided it could be built; that 
Orange, Guilford, Davidson, Rowan and Randolph would 
do their full share. Indeed he believed these counties would 
grade their part of the road, so that the problem was the 
grading in Wake County and Johnston ; "what would Wake 
and Johnston do? Would they grade their part? If so, he 
believed the work was assured." It was plain that Governor 
]\Iorehead had sounded the Keynote of the coming railway 
campaign in this April address in the Raleigh Court House 
on the 19th. Before the meeting was over he emphasized 
the need of the Gaston- Weldon link, chiefly for its access to 
Norfolk which was at this time seeking annexation to North 
Carolina, because she was so neglected by Virginia. Indeed, 
the North Carolina Central Railroad seemed to be as hopeful 
as the Washington Monument, of which twenty feet was 
now completed. On May 19th a meeting was held at the 
tri-county corners below what is now High Point and men 
pledged themselves to grade from a quarter to a mile of road 
to the amount of 15 miles. Other meetings were held along 
the proposed line. 

These were busy days for "The Old War Horse:" one 
day at Edgeworth Seminary, another in a railroad meeting, 
still another at the University Commencement, where he 
was both Trustee and President of the Alumni Association, 
and granting degrees to everybody but himself.^ Then came 
the Salisbury Convention, with over 225 delegates from the 
State and Norfolk and Portsmouth, with twenty odd coun- 
ties represented. The meeting was held in the Lutheran 
Church and Governor Morehead was chosen President 
unanimously and made the keynote address. He was also 
one of the Committee of 30 to organize the program. Gov- 
ernors Morehead and Graham believed in an appeal to the 
people, while Governor Swain suggested getting a hundred 
men to subscribe the million themselves. President More- 
head, President Mordecai of the Raleigh & Gaston road and 

' Maria Edgeworth, after whom the seminary was named, died the 21st 
of May, ten days after the school's commencemeiiL She was 83 years old. 


Dr. W. R. Holt were made the Executive Committee to or- 
ganize subscription. It was plainly evident that the North 
Carolina Central Railroad was at last to be built ! Further- 
more President Morehead was authorized to appoint a dele- 
gation of three to the Memphis Convention in July to pro- 
mote a trans-continental railroad.^ Governor Swain was 
made chairman of this delegation. 

It was interesting to see how men began again to recur 
to the ideas of Murphy and Caldwell, whose apt pupil was 
unanimously chosen the head of this Convention and who 
had personified those broad ideas in his own life ever since 
the famous Murphy Reports and the "Carlton" letters of 
President Caldwell ! Men began to recur to them in the 
press as if they had suddenly became current. Murphy and 
Caldwell were now incarnate in John Motley Morehead. 
The whole state began to respond to his leadership. The 
east and the west were about to unite in him — for the first 
time in reality. It was difficult for the Fourth of July or 
even politics to get the usual hearing, as the summer of 1849 
proceeded. Petersburgh and Norfolk were as much awake 
to it as North Carolina herself, for they were bound to 
profit by it. Governor Swain placed himself at the disposal 
of Governor Morehead and went, at his request, over the 
Georgia railroads, making a careful study of them and re- 
porting in excellent letters of June 22nd and later.- He 
showed that one road, beginning at a wilderness site in 1837, 
had made of that wilderness "the flourishing town of At- 
lanta," and said he, "as the road advanced, the tribe of 
croakers retired." He thought stockholders of North Caro- 
lina roads who had suffered would yet be looked upon as 
heroic pioneers ! Thus the campaign proceeded — even in 
spite of a cholera epidemic, as well as political campaign; 
and by August even the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad 
subscribed $15,000 to the new road. In Davidson county 
about $30,000 was subscribed and Rowan exceeded that 
slightly. Raleigh was proposing to take $25,000 as a cor- 

1 The Memphis Convention was postponed to October 16th, on account of 
cholera in July. 

2 Raieigh Register of July 25, 1849. 


poration. Another Convention, at Greensboro, this time, for 
October 18th, was announced, but it was postponed until 
November 29th, as Governor Morehead announced on Oc- 
tober 5th. ^ This was scarcely issued before Salisbury had a 
meeting and agreed to form a company of 20 men to take 
$100,000 and asked for the corporation of Salisbury to vote 
stock. And yet, in the midst of all this, Governor Morehead 
was in New York on the 21st of October, and other places, 
inspecting asylums for the insane to guide his board in cre- 
ating a North Carolina institution. Meanwhile President 
Stephen A. Douglas was presiding over the great Trans- 
continental Railroad Convention at Memphis on the 15th and 
providing a later meeting in Philadelphia. 

But Governor Morehead was back in Greensboro early 
in November ; and at a railroad meeting in their Court House 
to increase the $60,000 subscription of Guilford County. 
The Swain proposition of a 100 shares was changed to as- 
sociations taking *one of a hundred shares of whatever bal- 
ance there was. Immediately Associations were formed to 
take twelve and a half shares, so that Guilford county was 
now responsible for $150,000, not counting late news from 
Springfield of some $16,000 subscribed. 

This local convention was preparatory to the general 
Greensboro Railroad Convention of November 29th. 

In November, 1849, about twenty-five counties elected 
delegates to this Railroad Convention at Greensboro. They 
met in the Presbyterian Church. Governor Morehead 
headed the Guilford delegation and, after temporary organi- 
zation, he rose to nominate a President. He said here was 
"the opportunity to elect one that would be an honor to the 
state ; and proceeded to pass a high eulogium upon Calvin 
Graves of Caswell, who had given the casting vote by which 
this charter had been passed ; and concluded by moving that 
he be unanimously appointed President of the North Caro- 
lina Railroad Convention." His advice was followed and 
President Graves made an address in which he said England 

' A railroad of North Carolina not much mentioned was the Wilmington & 
Manchester Railroad from Wilmington into South Carolina, 66 miles in the 
state, had 129 miles of the 162 miles road under contract at this time; so that 
Wilmington had no objection to "links" for herself. 


had expended two hundred milhon pounds sterhng in rail- 
roads, which often cost over $60,000 a mile merely for right 
of way ; and states of this country were making strides in 
the same direction. Governor Morehead made a "speech of 
great power" and moved for a committee on subscription. 
This was done and he headed it. He was also a Vice-Presi- 
dent of the Convention, with five others, among w^hom was 
Hon. Richard AI. Saunders. The Convention was a vigor- 
ous one, and the most forceful figure in it was the Greens- 
boro ex-Governor. Reporting on subscriptions he showed 
the absolute subscriptions to stock were $190,800; and fol- 
lowed "with a speech full of deep impassioned feeling and 
great power — listened to with breathless attention and the 
most intense interest. The gallant and determined spirit of 
this distinguished gentleman touched every heart in that as- 
sembly, and awoke a, feeling of enthusiasm and anxiety, 
deep, startling and fervent as we have ever witnessed."^ 
General Saunders, chairman of the Resolution Committee, 
aided in preserving the program for the whole road or none ; 
and John A. Gilmer of Greensboro presented a form of addi- 
tional subscriptions to complete the million dollars individual 
subscription by signers agreeing to take a hundredth part 
of the unraised balance. Governor Morehead headed a list 
of fifty-one, and by afternoon $630,000 was regularly sub- 
scribed, leaving only $380,000 to be raised. It was then pro- 
posed to have conventions in each county through which the 
road would run, and a committee be appointed to prepare 
and issue a public address. These latter were Messrs. Saun- 
ders, McRae, Griswold, McLeod, Swain, Graham, Trol- 
linger, J. M. Morehead, Thomas, Lord, Fox and Barringer. 

Governor M tried hard to get the convention to double 

subscriptions and close it up, but did not succeed. The 
Convention was a great unifying influence, for seldom had 
men of such opposite views come to act together so fully. 
The 51 territorially were as follows: Wilmington, 5; 
Craven, 1 ; Wayne, 2 ; Johnston, 1 ; Raleigh, 6 ; Franklin, 
1 ; Orange, 4 ; Alamance, 1 ; Guilford, 12 ; Rockingham, 1 ; 

^ Editor Greensboro Patriot, 1st Dec., 1849. 


Davidson, 4; Rowan, 11; Burke, 1; and Buncombe, 1. 
Guilford and Rowan leading far ahead of all in unique ri- 
valry. Someone in fun suggested that, when they were at a 
tie Guilford get ahead and a humorous, witty play was had 
back and forth until the Quaker firm of Simpson & Gibson 
put Guilford ahead, and, as they said, in compliment to 
President Graves. This was the secret of the leadership of 
Guilford and Rowan.^ 

The Greensboro Convention of November 29, 1849, ap- 
pointed committees to hold meetings and the chairmen, 
Graves, John T. Gilmer and Governor Morehead were 
designated to take the western territory. On January 17, 
1850, Governor Morehead wrote a public letter of report to 
Chairman R. M. Saunders of the Executive Committee of 
the North Carolina Railroad, in which he said: "We left 
here on the 3rd inst. and attended meetings at Union Insti- 
tute in Randolph, Lexington, Salisbury, Concord, Rocky 
River, Charlotte, Mount Mourne, Statesville, Mocksville, 
Clemmonsville and Salem — reaching this place [Greens- 
boro], last night. Our efforts were mainly directed to pro- 
curing 'the Hundred' individuals or companies who would 
become responsible for the balance of the stock not covered 
or taken by independent subscriptions. The number of in- 
dividuals or companies who added their names to the list has 
been encouragingly augmented : — Randolph added one ; 
Lexington five ; Salisbury four ; Concord four ; Rocky River 
two ; Charlotte and Mecklenburg nothing ; Mount Mourne 
one ; Statesville none, but two or three promised ; Mocksville 
and Davie two ; Clemmonsville one ; Salem two ; — making 
tzventy-tzvo added to the fifty-one subscribed at the Conven- 
tion. I think we may safely calculate on four or five more 
promised shortly. 

"What additions have been made to 'the Hundred' east 
of this, I am not appraised, save as the four additional 
names in Raleigh. 

"I now feel assured the Railroad will be built, if every 
good citizen does his duty and proper exertions are made. 
The best spirit prevailed wherever we went. . . . 

1 Greensboro Patriot, Dec. 15, 1849, first page, column four. 


"This is the great work of the day for North Carolina; 
and I am pleased to find Whig and Democrat contending 
side by side which shall do most for its success. . . . 

"It is desirable that the Company should be organized 
at as early a day as possible, that the reconnaissance of the 
route, preparatory to survey, should be made before the 
leaves put forth in the spring."^ 

On December 10, 1849, the Committee made its appeal 
and on the 15th Governor Morehead and Mr. Graves ad- 
dressed a great meeting at Raleigh, where between $30,000 
and $40,000 were added to the Wake county subscriptions. 
This headed a series of thirteen meetings in various parts of 
the state to last until January 14, 1850. 

To one of these meetings, that at Goldsboro on January 
3, 1850, which Governor Morehead was unable to attend, he 
wrote saying, that "while you are addressing the people of 
Wayne, let it cheer you to know that I am making the hills 
of Randolph resound in behalf of the Railroad. It is the 
result of the age for North Carolina. It is truly the great 
redeeming improvement which is to make us one people — 
one state — one great community. It is a State improvement 
— East and West are equally interested in it — and let no 
croaker against this great State work, ever hereafter talk of 
patriotism, State pride, etc. How small such opposition 
will look, when the great valleys of Western North Carolina 
shall pour along this road its exhaustless productions — and 
when the Eastern citizen will leave his rich farm in the East 
in the morning, and take dinner or tea with his wife and 
children in the West, in their beautiful summer residence, 
purchased on some mountain side, or in some thriving vil- 
lage, where all the children have the best schools at their 

command. This is no fancy picture — it will be realized in 

less than ten years if this road is built — and no people in 
the State are more interested than the enterprising and 
wealthy citizens of Wayne. Let them do but one-half as 
much, as their interest, their patriotism and their State pride, 
ought to inspire them to do, and the Road is safe. Guil- 
ford — poor Guilford has already done more than she is able 

^ Greensboro Patriot, 10th Jan., 1850. 


to do ; yet let Wayne and other counties do something worthy 
of the great cause — worthy of themselves and worthy of the 
glorious Old North — and Guilford, poor as she is, will still 
do more — much more. The Road must be built. Let that be 
the watchword of every Wayne man, and the Road is safe. 
Success, triumphant success, attend your meeting and exer- 
tions. Yours in all the bonds that can unite patriots in a 

glorious State enterprise J. M. Morehead."^ In a letter 

from Mr. Graves at Charlotte he says : "Governor Morehead 
is making what he calls the second Declaration of Indepen- 
dence with great power." 

The rising tide of practical enthusiasm from Goldsboro 
to Charlotte — the line of the North Carolina Central Road — 
began to threaten even beyond it to Newbern, where at a 
meeting on January 23rd, they resolved "that to realize the 
great enterprise of a Central Railroad binding the commer- 
cial ports of the East with the Western farms, once projected 
by a Stanly, a Gaston and a Caldwell, the North Carolina 
Railroad should be extended to the town of New Berne;" 
and, after a speech by Gen. Saunders, they subscribed 
$70,000 toward the extension eastward to that place. 

Thus by February 28, 1850, the railroad Commissioners 
named in the act, were able to announce that a recent meet- 
ing of subscribers held at Hillsboro showed that the required 
$1,000,000 had been subscribed, but was not all done in a 
uniform manner prescribed by the act. The Commissioners 
therefore announced and ordered the opening of books again 
on March 8th to 23rd, in the indicated places and in Peters- 
burg, Va., at which time $5 per share was to be paid in. 
They also announced that on March 30, 1850, the Com- 
missioners would meet in Greensboro at which time these 
moneys were to be deposited, so that a meeting of Stock- 
holders can be called at Salisbury for organization and 
"commencement of operations on the road." At the Greens- 
boro meeting, however, it was discovered that the Peters- 
burg Railroad charter had a clause that prevented them 
making their $80,000 subscription good; and that this and 

^ North Carolina Standard, Jan. 23, 1850. 


some unfinished subscriptions in Guilford and Davidson left 
the fund $60,000 short, although five per cent of the rest 
was all paid in. By May 1st, however, all but between 
$12,000 and $20,000 was in sight, according to Governor 
Morehead's statement to the Greensboro Patriot and it was 
thought the Commissioners could be called by the 16th. 
Thereupon the Asheville Messenger announced that a man 
in Raleigh had increased his subscription from $2500 to 
$10.000 : "Wonder what 'John' will say now ?" It was the 
5th of June before the Commissioners met in the Chapel 
of the University, where Chairman IMorehead announced the 
completion of the $1,000,000 subscription. Thereupon a 
meeting of the Stockholders was called at Salisbury on July 
11, 1850. This University meeting was to allow Governor 
Morehead and others of the Commissioners to perform their 
duties as Trustees also. 

Two days before the Salisbury meeting another Whig 
President of the United States died on the night of July 9th. 
This was such a blow to Governor Morehead as it could be 
only to a man who had served as President of the convention 
that nominated him ; but the blow fell as he was victorious 
in the chief part of a great statesmanlike program for North 
Carolina development for which he had stood for nearly a 
quarter of a century — since the days of his old University 
President's "Carlton" papers. So full was he of this great 
enterprise that he kept it in the public thought abreast, if 
not ahead of the wide-spread organization of Southern re- 
sistance, especially Democratic resistance to Abolition agi- 
tations of the north.' A large part of the "Carlton" rail- 
road vertebrae of the state, from the mountains to the main, 
was now to be a reality. The wilderness cries of a Murphy 
and a Caldwell were at last heard and answered ; and the 
man whom they taught and inspired, John Motley Morehead, 
was everywhere recognized as their executive and leader 
of the Old North State's hosts! 

^ Governor Morehead was chairman of a Union meeting at Greensboro on 
October 23, 1850, and among the resolutions was the following: "That we will 
stand by the Union so long as it is worth preser-\-ing, and the Constitution is 
faithfully administered; and we will maintain, protect and defend the rights 
guaranteed to us by that Constitution." 


President and Builder 


The North Carolina Central Railroad 


On July 11, 1850, stockholders and proxies in the North 
Carolina Central Railroad met at Salisbury and Mr. Duncan 
Cameron was called to the chair, on motion of General 
Saunders. Beside the towns of Newbern and Wilmington, 
there were represented the counties of Wayne, Johnston, 
Wake, Orange, Alamance, Randolph, Guilford, Rowan, Cas- 
well, Rockingham, Surry, Davidson, Davie, Cabarrus, Meck- 
lenburg, Iredell, Forsyth, Burke and Buncombe. Rowan 
and Guilford each had two directors and there were eight 
others. Governor Morehead, Governor Graham and General 
Saunders being among the number. Governor Morehead 
was at once elected President of the company, with a salary 
of $2500 — a considerable sum in those days, however in- 
significant it may appear as the reward of a railway ex- 
ecutive now.^ They then set to work, with Mr. Walter 
Gwynne as chief engineer. In the summer and fall elections, 
however, while the Whig leaders were pressing the Central 
Railway to a conclusion, with the aid of some Democrats 
like General Saunders, the Democratic leaders, like Editor 
Holden of the Raleigh Standard, were not wildly enthusi- 
astic, to say the least; while David Settle Reid, with the 
slogan of equal suffrage, overturned the Whig majority and 
was chosen Governor by about 2700 majority. When the 
legislature met in November, all of that wrath of the op- 
ponents of Calvin Graves and the North Carolina Railroad 
came to a head on November 26th, when a Wayne county 

1 Charles L. Hinton, in a letter of 22nd Aug., 1850, to Governor Graham, 
says that in the last day or so Governor Morehead had such a fall from his 
horse that several physicians were called in; but that it proved not to be very 




representative in the Commons presented a bill to repeal the 
North Carolina Central Railroad bill ! This was to be ex- 
pected when only twenty-one counties had interest enough 
to produce stockholders. It is true the bill was against the 
law of obligation of contracts and so was a species of repudi- 
ation, but it did not lack advocates, as likewise the other 
side did not. It was General Saunders, probably, more than 
anyone else who headed ofif his party's efiforts to destroy 
the work of the past years. Secession was advocated with 
even greater earnestness ; and these were going on while the 
Railroad Directors were in session in Raleigh. 

Meanwhile, in the Legislature, Senator Woodfin of Bun- 
combe county, as well as the Newbern and Beaufort people, 
were taking measures to persuade the State to extend the 
Central Railroad east and west according to the old Cald- 
well idea. Senator Woodfin offering a resolution to that 
eflfect. But the Directors had scarcely adjourned, when, 
during December an Industrial Convention was held in the 
Supreme Court rooms of the capitol, designed to stimulate 
industries all over the state to get ready to produce traffic 
on President Morehead's newly organized railroad. On mo- 
tion of Col. Henry B. Elliott, the Convention unanimously 
chose Governor Morehead President. It was determined to 
hold state exhibitions of products in the form of "State 
Fairs," as was done in other states, under the title "North 
Carolina Industrial Association." These exhibitions were 
to be held at Raleigh in October of each year, and were to 
include agricultural, manufacturing, mining and mechanical 
products under conditions of generous rivalry. With the 
permanent organization. Governor Morehead was chosen 
President of that also, and Governor Swain and others were 
among the Vice-Presidents. Their first act was to ask the 
Assembly for geological, mineralogical and agricultural sur- 
veys. It is no wonder these gentlemen were indignantly 
impatient with persistent secession agitation in some quarters 
of the state and still more outside of it. Indeed they were 
so busy with this splendid plan of development of the com- 
monwealth that they hardly allowed sufficiently for the dis- 
organizing national influences abroad. So it was a great 


comfort to them when news came at this time of Georgia's 
thunderous protest against secession by a vote of 237 to 19! 
Stephen A. Douglas happened to be visiting in Governor 
]\Iorehead's old home county at Wentworth on December 
27 , 1850, at the same time, and his voice was raised for 
Union against secession in a great Union meeting there. But 
this was lost sight of in the running fight made in many 
ways to still defeat the North Carolina Railroad; but the 
threat of men like Caldwell of Guilford that if the Central 
charter was touched the Danville-Charlotte link would go on 
the map instanter softened the ardor of the Anti-Central 

In the midst of all this activity. Governor — or, as it is 
now proper to call him as head of the Central Railroad — 
President Morehead was quietly waiting announcements of 
the next session of Edgeworth Seminary on the first Mon- 
day in February, 1851, and presenting a list of references 
from Union Theological Seminary, New York, Rev. Wm. C. 
Plummer of Baltimore, President Carnahan and Professor 
Alexander of Princeton and Professor Henry of the Smith- 
sonian Institution, showing that he expected students from 
all over the Union. 

This, however, was by the way. The surveys were 
being pushed by President Morehead and his engineers ; and 
he saw to it that the great success of Georgia was known to 
all North Carolina : "It appears," said the Raleigh Register, 
"that before the close of the year 1852, that state will have 
in operation upwards of nine hundred miles of road." Those 
completed were already paying 8 to 16 per cent on the in- 
vestment; and after paying $14,000,000 nearly, the state was 
twice as rich as before. The state in ten years had increased 
in population fifty per cent, while North Carolina had 
gained but about twelve per cent! The Georgia Central 
from Savannah to Macon was the great road." 

1 The growth of railroads in Georgia was remarkable: With 40 miles in 
1838; 88 miles in 1840; 148 miles in 1844; 213 miles in 1847; the ratio of ex- 
penses to receipts decreased from 54 per cent in 1838 to 34 per cent in 1849; 
and net profits rose from $16,386 in 1838 to $386,232 in 1849; and total re- 
ceipts rose from $35,753 in 1838 to $582,015 in 1849.— Senator John A. Gilmer 
of Guilford in a speech in the North Carolina Senate, against the attack on the 
North Carolina Central Railroad. 


Then came the Directors' meeting of May 12, 1851, at 
Raleigh, that showed the road had been located through 
Goldsboro, Raleigh, Hillsboro, Graham, Greensboro, James- 
town, Lexington, Salisbury, Concord and Charlotte ; and the 
whole was ordered under contract by July 9th. At this 
meeting Chief Engineer Gwynne made an elaborate report, 
describing each of the four divisions: 1. Goldsboro to 6| 
miles west of Raleigh; 2. Thence to Guilford county line; 
3. Thence to Lexington ; and 4. Thence to Charlotte. He 
wrote with the vision of a statesman as well as engineer, and 
saw this road's extension over the mountains, for which 
surveys were already authorized ; and to Beaufort, toward 
which a charter was already granted as far as Newbern. He 
suggested 10 locomotives, 6 passenger cars, 4 baggage and 
mail cars, and 80 "burthen cars" as a beginning ; and various 
other features of construction.^ 

While these constructive proceedings were occurring, the 
State, by early summer, was tense with Union sentiments 
on the one hand, and, on the other, secession agitation led by 
a candidate for Congress, Hon. A. W. Venable, and some 
Abolitionist propaganda in the west, especially in Guilford 
county, where an Ohio man named McBride was so exciting 
the people that they formed a Vigilance Committee and per- 
suaded him to seek other territory, where they were not so 
devoted to the Union and had less detestation of both Dis- 
unionist and Abolitionist alike ! 

On June 25, 1851, while President Alorehead was in 
Raleigh, a meeting of friends of the Central Road was held 
and resolutions passed suggesting that a ceremony of "break- 
ing ground" be held at Greensboro, on the 11th of July, next 
day after the Directors' meeting. President Morehead ad- 
dressed them, telling them that the whole of Wayne county 
sections, except one and a bridge had been contracted for; 
indeed that the entire line east of Raleigh was substantially 
under contract. He believed all would be so before July 
11th, and hoped they would all be present at the "breaking 

' President Morehead advertised bids for contracting in May 25, 1851 — the 
work to begin not later than January 1, 1852, and to be completed by January 
1, 1854. Payment was to be made, one-half cash and one-half stock in the 
road. The road was 223 miles long. 


ground" ceremonies. Greensboro immediately took it up 
with enthusiasm and provided a committee to prepare a great 
barbecue and other entertainment to "all friends of North 

The ceremony of "breaking ground" for the North Caro- 
lina Central Railroad occurred at Greensboro on Friday, 
July 11, 1851, at the time of the meeting of Stock-holders. 
"On coming down the street from the place of meeting," 
says the editor of the Greensboro Patriot, in the issue of 
July 12th, "a crowd of people appeared, ready for the cele- 
bration, such as we may safely say was never seen before in 
our town, for numbers. It was one universal jam all out of 
doors. The young gentlemen who acted as marshals had 
enough work of it to persuade this vast and unwieldy crowd 
into marching shape ; but they at length succeeded to a degree 
which at first appeared impossible. ' The procession was 
formed on West street — the clergy in front ; then the stock- 
holders; then the orders of Odd Fellows and Free Masons, 
who turned out in great numbers and in full regalia ; closing 
with the citizens generally. This immense line moved down 
South street to a point on the Railroad survey nearly oppo- 
site the Caldwell Institute building, where a space of a 
hundred feet each way was enclosed by a line and reserved 
for the ceremony of the day. The north side of this space 
was occupied by the ladies, whose smiles are always ready 
for the encouragement of every good word and work. The 
other three sides were soon occupied by the male portion 
of the assemblage, from ten to tzventy deep all around. 
. . . Having the misfortune to be among the outsiders, 
our situation was of course unfavorable for hearing, and 
seeing was impossible. But we did hear nearly every word 
of Gov. Morehead's clear sonorous voice as he introduced 
the Hon. Calvin Graves to the vast assemblage. He did 
this in terms eloquent and singularly appropriate to the oc- 
casion. After alluding to the necessity so long felt by our 
people for an outlet to the commercial world — to the incep- 
tion of a great scheme the commencement of which we had 
met today to celebrate — to the vicissitudes of the charter be- 
fore the two houses of the General Assembly, and the fact 


that it at last hung upon the decision of the Speaker of the 
Senate, and that its fate was decided in the afifirmative by 
the unfaltering 'Aye' of that Speaker — Calvin Graves — he 
said no other citizen of North Carolina could so appropri- 
ately perform the ceremony of removing the first earth in 
the commencement of this work, on which the hopes of the 
State so vitally depend, as the man who pronounced that 
decisive 'Aye.' " Then followed Speaker Graves' address, at 
the close of which, he dug up a few spadefuls of earth de- 
positing them in a box made for the purpose ; upon which 
Governor Alorehead said it was to remain in the box for a 
hundred years and then opened for their inspection, a pleas- 
antry hugely enjoyed. Over seventy of that hundred years 
have passed and one wonders where the box is now, as the 
vast traffic of the Southern Railway noisily rumbles over 
the spot from which Calvin Graves removed those first 
spadefuls. The event closed with a barbecue already pre- 
pared and the great railway system of North Carolina was 
started on its course down the decades. 

As has been said. President Morehead and the Central 
Railroad had taken so vital a hold on the people of North 
Carolina that the call of Ex-Governor Graham to be Secre- 
tary of the Navy seemed to cause scarcely a ripple on the 
surface of public news. But in October, 1851, Guilford 
county took the lead in nominating for President and Vice- 
President, both President Fillmore and his Secretary of the 
Navy, Ex-Governor Graham, to whose wisdom and that of 
his agent. Commodore Perry, the great modern nation of 
Japan owes so much. These men stood for the Union, 
against both Secessionists and Abolitionists equally; while 
the vocal warfare of the latter two raged as though civil war 
had already begun in 1851. To these Whigs a destruction 
of the Union by either seemed impossible. So the great 
Central Railroad construction proceeded under President 
]\Iorehead's direction ; and the development spirit abroad 
resulted in the Seaboard and Roanoke line, early in Decem- 
ber, again opening up traffic between Weldon and Ports- 
mouth and Norfolk ; while news from the Census that North 
Carolina had 2523 manufacturing establishments aided in 


intensifying the hopeful outlook. President Morehead's 
home town was a great source of inspiration at this time in 
'educational lines also, through the work for it by Calvin H. 
Wiley of that place. By March, 1852, operations were 
nearly ready to begin on the Gaston-Weldon link between 
the Raleigh, the Petersburg, the Wilmington and the Nor- 
folk lines. Development was in the atmosphere everywhere 
in the State, while the building of the Central Railroad pro- 
ceeded. So it continued, even in June, 1852, when the Whig 
National Convention put up Scott and Graham as their can- 
didates, and had scarcely done so when the telegraph an- 
nounced the death of the great Whig leader, Henry Clay, the 
idol of President Morehead for so many years. 

It was time North Carolina was awake on transportation 
lines. The American Raikvay Times of Boston, during the 
Winter of 1852-53 made an analysis of contemporary rail- 
way conditions, showing that Pennsylvania was then first 
with 59 roads while North Carolina was almost last with 3 ; 
New York was first in number of miles in operation, namely 
2129 miles, while North Carolina had but 249; Illinois was 
first in amount in course of construction, 1698 miles, while 
North Carolina had but 223; New York was first in cost, 
$82,000,000, to North Carolina's $4,106,000. The New York 
Erie railroad was then the longest in the world, 460 miles 
and with the worst record. 

On June 4, 1853, Governor Reid, in accordance with the 
act of the previous Assembly incorporating both "The At- 
lantic and North Carolina Railroad Company" and "The 
North Carolina and Western Railroad Company" requested 
President Morehead to have surveys made from Goldsboro 
to Beaufort and from Salisbury to the Tennessee line, and 
the President at once ordered it. In making a public an- 
nouncement of it to the press through the Patriot of June 
18th, he says, among other things : that the commerce of the 
world was to be had at Beaufort, on the ocean highway within 
thirty minutes, a great place to coal ; that the road would 
be soon connected with other lines due west to Memphis, 
and then it was only a question of time until still other lines 
would go west from there to San Francisco, for the Oriental 


trade. He said nature had done so much that all that were 
needed were "men, men worthy of the age in which they 
live." To the press he said : "Onward ! and you take the 

A few days previously visitors at Beaufort harbor from 
Newbern told their home papers of development at Shep- 
pard's Point : The Newbern News said the new city was to 
be located there and the three original owners of it decided 
on the name "Carolina City ;" but now there were more in 
the company, among whom were Governor Morehead, 
Smith & Colby of New York, Mr. Underwood of Fayette- 
ville and others. They were surveying the plat and had ar- 
ranged to build a big hotel and several wharves. No build- 
ing was to be more than one story high and of brick or 
stone — apparently in view of the possible great storms of 
this coast. The central street to the main wharf was to be 
30 feet wide and have the railroad track in the center. The 
wharf was ultimately to be built out to White Rock, a for- 
mation at which the largest vessels could tie up. The writer 
had no doubt that it was to become another Charleston, Bal- 
timore or Boston. The proprietors, however, soon changed 
the name to Morehead City in honor of Governor Morehead 
who made the achievement possible.' 

Of Governor Morehead's relation to it, he had the fol- 
lowing, in part, to say in a public letter in the Greensboro 
Patriot of August 6, 1853: "For years past, my attention 
has been directed to the immeasurable value, to North Caro- 
lina, of the great Harbor of Beaufort; and my surprise was, 
that so little regard was paid to its importance by those who 
knew it better than I did, and resided in its immediate vicin- 
ity. Some eighteen months since [about February 1, 

1852] I sent a friend to examine the Harbor, who commenced 
negotiations for an interest in the lands at Sheppard's Point, 
which eventuated in a purchase by me of an interest, in Oc- 
tober last — long before the Railroad Bill was introduced into 
the Legislature, under which the survey is about to be made, 
and when no one knew that such a survey would be ordered 

^ Greensboro Patriot, June 18, 1853. 


— and, if ordered, that I would be connected therewith. I 
suppose no one . . . would expect me to abandon that 
interest, because I may be placed in a delicate position rela- 
tive thereto, by the subsequent action of the Legislature."^ 
In addition to this, he took occasion to publish his reply to a 
fellow owner at Sheppard's Point, who just a month before, 
assumed they would act on personal advantage in the matter : 
"The first matter to be looked to," Governor Morehead wrote 
in part, "is, not our mutual advantage, but the great interest 
of the State; and if any point in that Harbor shall prove 
upon examination, to have better water and be more acces- 
sible than Sheppard's Point, in which I have some interest, I 
shall disregard Sheppard's Point, and go for the other."^ 

On July 14, 1853, the regular meeting of stockholders of 
the North Carolina Railroad Company occurred at Salisbury, 
with Gov. Wm. A. Graham as chairman.- President Alore- 
head's report showed that contractors were obligated to finish 
by January 1, 1854, but that unavoidable delays of one com- 
pany caused him to extend its time to April. There were 
present, either by proxy or in person, 564 stockholders rep- 
resenting 8148 shares. To one familiar with political his- 
tory and conditions of North Carolina, it is not difficult to 
see how easily political interests crept into these meetings. 
Governor Morehead and his old time rival, Judge R. M. 
Saunders, were the favorites of the two elements, and their 
relative standing in this meeting was represented by the vote 
for them for a vacant directorship: Morehead, 3958, and 
Saunders, 3812, with 62 scattering, resulting in reelection of 
Morehead, both as director, and almost unanimously as 
President, an office for which he received the munificent sum 
of $2500. The four divisions of the line, on July 1, 1853, 
had a force of 1158 men, 358 boys, 511 cars, 732 horses and 
mules, 29 oxen, 16 track-layers, besides wagons and wheel- 
barrows. This was the first meeting at which the eight new 
directors representing the State's shareholding were present, 
with the four chosen by the private stockholders. The eight 
were appointed by Governor Reid, Governor Morehead being 

^ Greensboro Patriot, Aug. 6, 1853. 

^ Track-laying began on this road at Goldsboro on Jane 23, 1853. 


one of the stockholders' four, voting 80 shares, probably 
his own. They provided for immediate survey of the eastern 
and western extensions. The Carolina Watchman, of July 
21st, expressed the "gratification felt by a large portion of 
the stockholders" at the reelection of President Alorehead. 
"He has filled the office from the time of its creation, and 
has been over the operations on the road from the begin- 
ning." "The place which Governor Morehead has occupied, 
and continues to fill, is a difficult one ; and we presume there 
is no one in the State who could hold the balances on such an 
even poise, as to give entire satisfaction to every man con- 
cerned." The editor thought the source of difficulty was 
some stock-holders becoming contractors and not making 
enough money out of it. Its political character was illus- 
trated in September when the Democratic organ, the 

Standard, of Raleigh, intimated Governor M was too 

anxious to have the railway shops at Greensboro, and twitted 
him on a desire to have a Danville, Virginia, connection — 
not wanting the west to have even one to Raleigh and Wil- 
mington's two ! The Patriot, like other Whig papers, of 
course defended him : "Where is the man in the state of 
North Carolina who could have done so much to set on foot 
and carry forward this gigantic enterprise as Gov. Morehead 
has done? He is being tried in a field where some of the 
stoutest men in the Union have been broken down. He 
stands just at that point of internal improvement history in 
North Carolina, where other men in other states have stood, 
who did the drudgery and endured the odium, while their 
successors reaped the glory of success." The Patriot added : 
"We have heard Gov. M , some time since, casually ex- 
press the opinion that such connection would be advantage- 
ous to the Central Road by bringing on to it more trade 
than it would carry off from it." But there was under- 
stood among all that there had been a tacit agreement with 
the east not to do it ; but the editor warned the east that sug- 
gestions of hypocrisy might defeat their own aims. The 
project referred to was an extension north from Greensboro 
to the Richmond and Danville Railroad which was being 
completed towards Danville at this time, but with a slowness 


that led the Danville editors to recommend to that road the 
Morehead system of letting contracts only for comparatively 
short distances and to a larger number of contractors. The 
Patriot editor endorses this attitude and adds: "there has 
been more hard work done, in a shorter time, and with less 
money, on the North Carolina Central Road than on any 
other road ever built."^ 

Asheville asked Governor Morehead to attend her rail- 
road convention on August 25th, and his reply on the 15th 
was typical of his spirit and method at this period: "I am 
into the cause," he wrote, "soul and body, and if the state 
be true to herself, old as I am, I yet hope to live to see her, 
by her improvements, among the first states of this glorious 
Union." "The time for growling legislation is past — the 
spirit of the age is onward ! onward ! !" He pointed the way 
from Beaufort to San Francisco and the trade of China and 
South America. The survey was then complete to a dozen 
miles west of Morganton. An engineer at Asheville said 
there were five great roads over the mountains in the eastern 
part of the United States now in operation. He said the 
Raleigh and Gaston was extended to Weldon and both this 
road and the Wilmington- Weldon road were earning 7% on 
their investment, clear profit. The former nearly had a 
branch complete from Ridgway to Clarksville on the Roa- 
noke ; and a road from Fayetteville to the coal mine is begun. 
The North Carolina Railroad, begun January 1, 1852, "is 
now more than two-thirds graded," and they were laying 
track between Goldsboro and Raleigh, and preparing to 
lay track between Charlotte and Salisbury. The forces 
would meet near Greensboro in the autumn of 1855, "thus 
presenting the only case in the United States in which the 
contractors (and native contractors and native laborers) 
have executed $600,000 worth of work before they asked 
for or received one dollar; and the only case in which a 
railroad 223 miles long has been put into full and successful 
operation, in four and one-half years from the time when 

^ The Greensboro Patriot, 1st Oct., 1853. The best single brief account of 
the North Carolina Railroad is Chief Engineer Gwynne's last report in the 
Raleigh Register of March 12, 18S6. 


the first shovelful of earth was removed by the hand of 
man from its native resting place. North Carolinians may 
justly pride themselves in this achievement. The contractors 
will, in the fall of 1855, present you, not a flag of triumph, 
but a noble monument to their own energy and skill — a 
well constructed railroad complete in all its parts and adapted 
to the growing demands of an enterprising public."^ 

During the winter of 1852-3, it became evident that the 
success of the North Carolina Railroad and its President 
and the consequent prestige of both, should not accrue to the 
Whigs, who had failed in both the state and national cam- 
paigns. Besides President Morehead had made a few 
speeches for Scott and Graham — in vain, to be sure; but it 
was held against him, even though Director Saunders had 
made Democratic speeches. They therefore began to con- 
sider means of displacing all Whig directors, and within a 
year and a half, or by June, 1854, the last two Whigs on 
the state's part of the directory, were replaced by Demo- 
crats.^ They pointed, however, to the fact that the stock- 
holders elected all Whigs on their part — which could not 
be denied. The State had eight and the stockholders four ; 
but even so, at the Salisbury meeting in July, 1853, President 
Morehead was re-elected almost unanimously. Chief En- 
gineer Gwynne's salary was increased from $3000 to $5000 
and he was given the surveys of the eastern and western ex- 

^ The Greensboro Patriot, Oct. 15, 1853. Civil Engineer Theodore S. Gar- 
nett at the Asheville convention. It is well to note that Virginia had over a 
thousand miles of railroad in use at this time in seventeen railroads, from one 

4 miles long to the Baltimore and Ohio with 242. Its longer roads were, besides 
the B. & C, the Virginia Central with 106 miles, the Richmond and Danville 
with 90 miles, the Seaboard and Roanoke with 80 miles, the Richmond, Fred- 
ericksburg & Potomac with 76 miles, the Orange & Alexandria with 75, the Vir- 
ginia & Tennessee with 72, the Southside with 63, the Petersburg with 59, etc. — 
Alexandria Gazette. 

The Gaston-Weldon line was completed in April, 1853. 

- It is amusing to see the Democratic leader, Editor Holden of the Raleigh 
Standard, in May and June, industrially praising Calvin Graves' "commanding 
fame" for his vote that secured the North Carolina charter — the man whose 
name even to this day, is mentioned as "never getting a public office again" for 
it! Editor Holden, also, on May 27, 1854, gravely gave a list of six Demo- 
crats who "made the railroad:" Graves, Ashe, Dobbins, Gen. Saunders, and 
Governors Reid and Bragg. To such extremities do political advantage lure 
political leaders! What these particular men did, under the circumstances of 
the moment, no one can nor should desire to deny; but the Democrats were 
afraid of the Whig leader and set out to destroy his prestige, as a party ma- 
neuver. Editor Holden did not recall to his readers that in 1848 43 Whigs and 
17 Democrats favored it, while 14 Whigs and 38 Democrats were against it in 
the House, and in the Senate 17 Whigs and 6 Democrats were for the bill and 

5 Whigs and 17 Democrats against it; 60 Whigs and 23 Democrats for, and 
19 Whigs and 55 Democrats against! 


tensions. The rumblings of opposition were much like those 
connected with the famous ice-house of 1842; and about as 
baseless. They thought he would want the railway shops at 
Greensboro — certainly about as near central to the line as 
could be, if it were true; and they thought he still wanted the 
Danville link, and the editor of the Patriot (Greensboro) 
plainly asserted that President Morehead had said not long 
since that it would be a good thing and bring more trade 
than it would take away. 

The year 1854 saw the completion of the Wilmington & 
Manchester Railroad and the Western Railroad from Fay- 
etteville contracted for ; and as many in the North Carolina 
counties below Danville had stock in the Richmond & Dan- 
ville road, they were again agitating for the Danville link, 
which was perfectly natural, in view of the fact that the 
North Carolina Central Railroad was finished from Char- 
lotte to Concord by September of that year, the first pas- 
senger car passing over it on September 6th. It was at the 
Directors' meeting on the 30th of that month, at Greensboro, 
that it was decided to use the English term "station" instead 
of the French one "depot," which was commonly used in 
some states. 

Meanwhile the Atlantic road from Goldsboro to Beaufort 
Harbor had obtained all subscriptions necessary by its meet- 
ing at Newbern on June 21st, and secured its charter; and 
by December 16, 1854, Chief Engineer Gwynne reported 
the route from Goldsboro to Sheppard's Point, Morehead 
City, as 95.84 miles, which was by nearly four miles the 
shortest route.^ On January 1, 1855, President Morehead 
announced the "Central" as open for business from Golds- 
boro to "Durham's" [Durham] ; and by the 20th, the As- 
sembly had provided for charters the state's part in both 
the eastern and western extensions. The first freight tariff 
had been published in October. On February 24, 1855, 
President Morehead announced that $1,000,000 more stock 
authorized by the Assembly would be raised; and by April 
1st, trains would be running as far as Hillsboro. As a fact, 

^ Craven County, of which Newbern is the county reat, took the $150,000 
necessary to get the charter. 


the trains were running to Mebane by June 30th, about 32 
miles east of Greensboro, while they had reached Lexington 
at the same time about 35 miles west of Greensboro, showing 
that the line would undoubtedly meet near the latter place 

With the completion of the North Carolina Central Rail- 
road practically a fact, and because of Governor Morehead's 
interest in the eastern extension, as well as because of the 
opposition politically, he resigned on July 12th, both as a di- 
rector and as President, and his old time leader of the '20s, 
Charles F. Fisher of Salisbury, was chosen his successor. 
This was followed on August 16, 1855, by the stockholders 
of the Atlantic road deciding on Sheppard's Point as the 
ocean terminal, that is, IMorehead City, and contracts for 
building the road were assigned, 26 miles to Governor More- 
head and 16 miles to a Mr. Wood. 

It was on the following December 14, 1855, that the 
"Pello," the first railway engine, entered Greensboro, and the 
16th of that month set for a Jubilee and celebration of the 
event, with Governor Morehead as the chief speaker. By 
this time the meaning of this great work, with actual con- 
struction begun, both of an ocean port and railway from the 
sea to Tennessee, was beginning to illumine the minds of 
everybody. A line of fine steamers was put on Pamlico 
Sound from Beaufort and Morehead City to Washington 
on the Neuse river, one boat named the "Astoria" and the 
other the "Governor Morehead," and were in operation in 
August, 1855, when Morehead City was decided upon as 
the ocean terminal of the Atlantic road. 

The approach of the meeting of the two ends of the 
Central road near Greensboro caused a western correspon- 
dent of the Patriot to voice a general feeling among Whigs, 
that if the Whig ticket next time, were "Fillmore and More- 
head," instead of "Scott and Graham," it might not fail. 
"Individually," he wrote, in the Greensboro Patriot of De- 
cember 21, 1855, "I would rather hail John Morehead as 
President of the Senate than anyone now on the face of the 
globe." The editor seconds the nomination with : "There 
is no purer politician in the Union, and, none, we venture to 


say, who would more thoroughly command the respect of 
the people North and South and whose influence would be 
felt so sensibly for good." 

The enthusiasm was at its highest on the 29th of the next 
month, January, 1856 : "On Thursday last," said the Patriot 
of February 1st, "about 3 o'clock P. M. the last bar of iron 
was laid on the North Carolina Railroad. The meeting of 
the two ends took place some 4^ miles west of this place. 
After their work was completed, the hands of the two com- 
panies got into the cars and rode down to Greensboro, amid 
the happy greetings and rejoicings of our citizens. And 
after a half hour of hilarity they returned to Jamestown to 
enjoy some of the inner man comforts." The next day mail 
and passenger trains made their first trip and the following 
schedule was announced : "On and after Thursday, the 31st 
day of January, 1856," etc., to the effect that trains, mail 
and passenger, would leave Goldsboro at 2.10 A. M. and ar- 
rive at Charlotte at 6.04 P. M. ; and leave Charlotte at 5 
P. M., reaching Goldsboro at 8.48 A. M., the absence of any 
reference to sleeping accommodations being a part of the 
conceptions of the period. 

By the following May [1856] news of the progress of the 
Atlantic road began to appear. The Neivbern Neivs of May 
2nd, said that a force of 600 men and 130 horses were at 
work on Governor Morehead's section of the Atlantic road, 
which was in immediate charge of Mr. G. P. Evans, and that 
track-laying would begin at the "Point" in Morehead City 
in a month or so. It also said that Edward Stanly and Mr. 
C. B. Wood were likewise contractors. Seven days later 
it was announced in the Patriot that the Richmond & Dan- 
ville road's completion to Danville was to be celebrated with 
a barbecue on June 19th next. The July meeting of the 
North Carolina Central stockholders, on motion of Ex-Gov- 
ernor Swain, disapproved of the running of Sunday trains 
on their line — and presumably the smoke of "Pello" and its 
fellow engines, did not thereafter contaminate the Sabbath 
atmosphere of North Carolina. The atmosphere of the 
Piedmont and mountains was stimulating the survey of the 
Western North Carolina Railroad, as the western extension 







u C 


V S 

Q ^ 




from Salisbury was called, and over 17 miles through IMor- 
ganton was completed by the autumn of that year, when the 
"Land of the Sky," which it was to make accessible, was in 
its glory. 

The dreams of Archibald DeBow Murphy and President 
Joseph Caldwell were in process of realization. Rails were 
slowly creeping from Cape Lookout's harbor to the passes 
of the Great Smoky Mountains on the Tennessee line. Not 
horses, as the "Carlton" papers proposed, but steam loco- 
motive engines were already flying with passengers, mail and 
freight over a considerable portion of the line ; while the 
foundations of a great ocean port were being laid in Beau- 
fort Harbor. Not only so but these nearly realized dreams 
— realized by their old pupil and executive — were being ex- 
tended by John Motley Morehead to include a transconti- 
nental line to Memphis or the Ohio and the Pacific coast, 
with connection with the Oriental nations at the one end 
of the line, and steamship lines at the other to connect with 
New York, the West Indies and South American ports and 
those of Europe at Liverpool. Such were the vision and 
first steps of achievement of John Motley Morehead in the 
autumn of 1856. 



The Eastern Extension and an Ocean Port 

More HEAD City 


Whig Leadership Again 


In the early '50s, the Democrats had been calHng them- 
selves the Democratic Republicans or Republican Democrats, 
thus showing a desire to capture the name "Republican" and 
all that it then signified. With it they won not only the State 
ticket, but pushed out the Whig National candidates, Scott 
and Graham, by the narrow margin of 603 votes in North 
Carolina. Neither Scott nor Graham had the power to hold 
the "Old North State" in the Whig column, while, in many 
northern states, the Abolitionist vote was also cutting down 
the Whig majorities. In the mid-winter of 1853-4, the 
Guilford county Whigs, in the presence of this sad experi- 
ence with the Orange county leader, determined to put the 
political harness back on "The Old Whig War Horse," 
President Morehead of the North Carolina Railroad, who 
was accustomed to victory in all he undertook and especially 
Whig victories. On January 2, 1854, at their Whig meeting 
in Greensboro they both passed broad Whig resolutions, 
among them being one for a Bank of the United States, and 
selected President Morehead to head their delegation to the 
State Convention and assumed the name "Republican 
Whigs." The Whig State Convention that followed on 
February 21st, nominated General Alfred Dockery of Rich- 
mond county, as candidate for Governor on a "Republican 
Whig" ticket. General Dockery failed at the August elec- 
tions by 2095, however ; and, as if this were not bad enough, 



President Morehead's railroad had its first collision on the 
following October 17th, about ten miles east of Raleigh, due 
to a negro flag-man sleeping at his post. 

The years 1855-6 saw a breaking up of the old parties. 
For some four years, in certain parts of the United States, 
where foreign, and especially Roman Catholic immigration, 
was so great, a secret political society, whose members met 
inquiry by saying: "I know Nothing," grew under various, 
names until in 1855 it carried four New England States, \ 
New York, Kentucky and California. This drew from the 
Whig party quite largely, under the name "American Party." 
The Abolitionists also drew largely from the Whigs and at 
Philadelphia, in 1856, nominated John C. Fremont. The 
Whigs of North Carolina turned to the "American Party" 
and had their State Convention on October 19, 1855, at 
Raleigh, at which they emphasized the Constitution and 
Union, and provided for a general gubernatorial nomination 
Convention on April 10th at Greensboro. To this move-"^ 
met Governor Morehead gave his hearty allegiance and at 
the April meeting at Guilford Battle-Ground, he presided. 
For Governor there was nominated John A. Gilmer of 
Greensboro; and they nailed to the mast-head the names 
of "Fillmore and Donelson," the "American" party national 
candidates. In this atmosphere those who adhered to the 
old party called themselves, proudly, "Old Line Whigs," and 
there was a considerable sentiment, in North Carolina, to 
hold their old organization together, and Governor More- 
head, at least, and his followers were inclined to persuade 
them to support their own old President, Millard Fillmore, 
whose able contrast to their apostate Whig President, 
Tyler, awakened in them a great affection. 

On September 19, 1856, the Whigs of Guilford County 
met at Greensboro, with Governor Morehead as Chair- 
man, and as he was already a State delegate-at-large to the 
Whig National Convention at Baltimore, he was authorized 
to appoint ten delegates to that meeting, which was set for 
September 17th. This "Old Line Whig Convention" met in \ 
the hall of the Maryland Institute on that day, and twenty- 
two states were represented: 1. Of the distinctive northern 


states were Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, 
Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware and Min- 
nesota ; the border states were Maryland, Kentucky and Mis- 
souri ; while the Southern states were Virginia (including 
what is now West Virginia), North Carolina, Tennessee, 
Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, and 
Louisiana, with District of Columbia. The enthusiasm was 
very great, and the Virginia and North Carolina delegates 
found it necessary to call for more room. David Paul 
Brown, the brilliant lawyer from Philadelphia, was chairman 
of the organizing committee and they made Hon. Edward J. 
Bates of Missouri President of the Convention, and Gover- 
nor Morehead, Governor Graham and others were on the 
platform with him. There were many speeches and the 
resolutions, among other things, stood for the Constitution 
and Union and deprecated the two main parties, one of 
which avowedly represented only sixteen northern States 
and the others the South chiefly. They approved the can- 
didates, Fillmore and Donelson, but ignored the doctrines of 
the "American" party. In one of the speeches, namely, that 
by Mr. Banks of North Carolina, the speaker said : *T have 
consulted my political father, him for whom I cast my first 
vote in 1840 — Governor Morehead." [Applause.] Among 
calls for various speakers were repeated demands for Gov- 
ernor Morehead, and probably his most notable speech in 
his whole life was this at the "Old Line Whig" Convention 
at Baltimore, in the Hall of Maryland Institute on the even- 
ing of Wednesday, September 17, 1856. It made his name 
ring throughout the land, for it was prophetic of the greatest 
tragedy in the life of himself and his country. 

"Mr. President," said he, as he rose to respond to re- 
peated calls, "I cannot but respond to the call which has been 
made upon me on this occasion. It would be strange if I 
did not feel any interest in the meeting of the Whig party 
here. The very stars may fly from their orbits, meteors may 
fly through space and fade away to mere nothingness, but 
so long as I live I will be found revolving around the great 
center of Whig principles. Eight years ago, Mr. President, I 
had the honor to fill the seat you now occupy." 


"The President: Did you use this gavel? 

"Mr. Morehead : I do not know as it was that very one. 
But the one I did use brought Millard Fillmore into the 
Presidency once, and I challenge you to do the same thing 
again. [Laughter and applause.] The great Whig Captain, 
Henry Clay, was then up before us for the Presidency. My 
State was unanimous for him ; we held out so long as there 
was any hope, until State after State gave way and still the 
Chairman of her delegation voted 'Clay' to the last. [Ap- 
plause.] It was the last time we could hope to bring our 
gallant chieftain forward, the last opportunity of showing 
that republics are not ungrateful ; and I never gave him up 
until absolute necessity ' compelled me to do it. But that 
meeting gave us another Whig chieftain, under whose banner 
the Whigs fought as did our soldiers at Buena Vista. 

"In that Convention I looked to Massachusetts to stand 
by North Carolina, as we stood by her in 1776. One month 
after British soldiers shed American blood upon American 
soil on the 19th of April, 1775, the people of the Old North 
State proclaimed to the world that they were a free and 
independent people and would no longer submit to British 
domination, and pledged our lives, our fortunes, and our 
sacred honors to protect the liberties we claimed as our right. 
I looked to Massachusetts to stand by us for the second in 
command, a distinguished son of hers now no more. But 
the choice of that convention was against me, and they 
selected that man whose name is now proposed to us. I had 
seen him but once before that time, and but once or twice 
since, and then but for a few minutes. When we went into 
that campaign, the spirits of our friends were very much 
subdued, when we found that our glorious old captain had 
been set aside, and it took us some time to gather up our 
soldiers. But, in a few weeks, we went into the campaign 
and nO' Whigs fought more gallantly under the banner of 
Taylor and Fillmore than the soldiers of North Carolina, 
and we triumphed in the Old North State. 

"But Providence in its dispensation soon removed our 
head from us, and Millard Fillmore occupied his place. 
Every eye was upon him, and when I witnessed the position 


he assumed then, saw him take the stand of an American 
statesman entertaining broad views of government, working 
for the whole Union, setting aside his old cherished early 
prejudices, and take the Constitution for his guide and sole 
support, in defiance of the prejudices of either section, I saw 
in him the right man to rule over this great and glorious 
people. I no longer hesitated in believing that Millard Fill- 
more was the man the Whigs of the United States should 
support. He gave us one of the most glorious administra- 
tions this government has ever been blessed with. He re- 
tired from the Presidential chair with the plaudits of all good 
men who were honest in the expression of their convictions. 
And how did he leave our once distracted country? In 
peace, in prosperity and happiness, tending in every respect 
toward that great destiny, which, I hope, we will yet reach. 
He left this country to visit foreign climes, and what do we 
see? In the space of four short years, a country once 
abounding in everything pleasant, happy and peaceful, with 
prospects brilliant as the rising sun, has, under Democratic 
rule, become involved in discord, brother's hands dipped in 
brother's blood, women and children fleeing from the ruins 
of their once happy homes, in one section of the country, 
rebellion stalking abroad at noon-day, and the great gov- 
ernment of the United States unable to quell an insignificant 
insurrection or to give protection to the humblest portion of 
the nation. Civil discord and dismay are spreading over the 
whole country. Patriots, true patriots, are looking around 
them to find where they shall flee for protection. 

"To whom can they look but to him who, in 1850, 
Clay and Webster, and all good and true men, rallied around. 
In vain they look for Clay and Webster; they are gone 
to 'that bourne from which no traveller returns.' But there 
is Millard Fillmore! [Cheers.] This distracted country 
casts her eyes across the waters and invites him once 
more to return to her shores, and with outstretched arms 
she welcomes him back. And where is the man who has 
more moral courage to march up to the discharge of his duty 
than has Millard Fillmore? I will stand up in his support, 


and if I must fall, I will fall with my winding sheet the 
glorious constellation of 31 States." 

"Mr. President, you will pardon me for saying, that I 
regretted to hear from your lips of wisdom on yesterday a 
reference to the fragments of the Whig party. The Whig 
party in fragments! The Whig party is dead! 

"The President: No longer so. [Applause.] 

"Mr. Morehead : No, sir ; no longer is the Whig party 
dead. Here are around me evidences that the Whigs are 
alive, and so long as the goddess of liberty has residence 
iipon this terraqueous globe, Whigs will live. They lived be- 
fore the revolution ; they brought us to be the great people 
we now are. The glorious Whig portrait of George Wash- 
ington, whose genius presides on all occasions where Whigs 
meet together in behalf of their glorious country, who led 
the glorious stars and stripes in victory through many a 
bloody field of battle — that glorious old Whig and his prin- 
ciples can never die. It is true the Whig party were defeated 
four years ago ; and it was a melancholy defeat for the coun- 
try ; she has regretted it ever since in sackcloth and ashes ! 
Our people were deluded, and we stood aside and gave them 
an opportunity for a sober second thought, and they have 
had a dozen sober second thoughts since. They have be- 
gun to repent of their evil delusion, and will it their interest 
and duty to fall into our ranks and aid us in restoring this 
country to its former condition of peace and prosperity. 

"What is the present condition of the country, and what 
has been its condition whenever the Democrats have been in 
power? Spoils, spoils have been their cry. If they would 
be content with the spoils, we would let them have the spoils, 
though the overflowing treasury of the last four years has 
been enough to corrupt any people but Americans, and it 
has corrupted a portion of them. But down South they are 
proclaiming, as they proclaim everywhere else, that there is 
no hope for the country but in Democracy; that Fillmore 
has no strength; that none but the Democrats can save the 
South from the Black Republicans of the North. They have 
lashed the political ocean into a tempest and have madly 
leaped into it; and now they come to us and cry, 'help me 


Cassius, or I sink. [Cheers.] Let the ambitious Caesar go 
down; it were better that he should be lost and Rome be 
saved, than that Rome should sink and the tyrant live. 

"I have been amused at the course the Democracy have 
been pursuing. I remember that in 1840, it was said that 
our gallant old chieftain from Ohio had been placed in the 
hands of a committee and permitted to say nothing but what 
had first passed through their lips. I should like to know 
who is the spokesman of the candidate of the Democratic 
party now? What has become of Jimmy Buchanan? The 
last account I had of him, he had gone into the Cincinnati 
platform [laughter] and bid good-bye to the friends of 
James Buchanan. It will be with him as with their last 
President, who was so green as to suppose that the Demo- 
cratic party meant what they said by their platform. When 
they began to tear up the planks, he nailed them down again 
with his veto nails, but they tore them up again and scattered 
them to the winds. And so it will be with James Buchanan. 
If he can stick to the platform, it will be only on some lonely 
plank, like the people of Lost Island in the Gulf of Mexico — 
on the plank of the Ostend manifesto, going down the Gulf 
to see how Cuba is. [Laughter and applause.] Who is his 
spokesman now? How shall we address a question to him? 
Where is he? Who is he? What is he? So far as he is 
concerned, he is out of the question. 

"There is another candidate in the field, Mr. Freemont. 
Who entitles him to the confidence of the people of this 
great nation? But the Democrats are the last men who 
should find fault with him; their course has brought him 
into the field. They set the eminent example in 1852 and he 
is now following in their footsteps. They then brought forth 
a candidate preeminently distinguished for his equestrian 
performances in Mexico, and the Black Republicans have 
brought forth a man perhaps a little more distinguished in 
the same way. He is a fast man, can, perhaps, ride farther 
than any other man in a day, but if placed at the helm of 
government would drive it to destruction at a gallop. Now, 
I am not willing to entrust him with that command. Give 
me our old helmsman ; a man who took command of the ship 


of State once before when she was tossed to and fro, and 
brought her safely into port, with the aid of such men as 
Webster and Clay and others. He is the man for me; to 
him I would trust our ship of state. 

"What shall we do when we leave this Assembly? Here- 
tofore we have had a sad lot of our own ; but now we have 
not. Heretofore the Democrats have said we were for the 
spoils, when they were after the same thing themselves. But 
now we are not for office, we have strictly no Whig candi- 
date in the field, we form an outside body, we have de- 
termined to support a tried man, whom we believe will give 
more peace and prosperity to this country than any other 
man. We have re-elected him because we believe he is en- 
titled to our confidence. Why should we not take him up? 
Because, it is said, he is the candidate of another party! 
Why, sir, if the Democratic party had nominated such a man 
as George Washington, would you not support him? Had 
they taken up Millard Fillmore, should you not then sup- 
port him? And if the American party will stand by us, we 
will elect Millard Fillmore. [Cheers.] And if they will not, 
I give them notice now that we Whigs intend to elect him 
anyhow. [Cheers.] If they do not like our man, let 
them get a better one if they can. [Laughter.] We want a 
Whig President, and we will have a Whig President. One 
thing is certain, if he be President at all, he will be an Ameri- 
can President, and that is what we want. 

"Now about geographical discrimination. I want but 
one geographical limit — let us be bounded by the Lakes on 
the North, the Gulf of Mexico and the Rio Grande at the 
South, the Atlantic on the East and the Pacific on the West, 
and within that let us all be a glorious brotherhood of 
Americans. [Cheers.] Talk about the North and the 
South ! Where is the /North ? Is there any North in this 
glorious republic? Which is the Northern part of your 
Constitution and which the Southern? What part in this 
great republic was the land of Washington, Adams, Frank- 
lin and id onine genus f Shall I not bequeath to my children, 
as my father bequeathed to me, that land cemented by the 
blood of Warren? Shall I not look upon the battle fields of 


Lexington, Bunker Hill and Boston as my country? I tell 
you I will, or die in the attempt to look upon them a such. 
[Cheers.] Shall not the land of Sumner and Marion be my 
land? Aye, sir, as long as time shall last it shall be so. 
If Wilson and Sumner do not like me to have a foothold in 
a State with them, then let them leave the sacred land of 
]\Iassachusetts, for I will not give it up. If Greeley and 
Beecher seek to elbow me from the State of New York, they 
will find hard elbowing, and they will have to go out them- 
selves, I never will consent that one foot of the soil of this 
glorious Union shall ever be considered anything else but 
'My own, my native land !' [Applause.] He who expects 
me to fight for the North against the South, or for the East 
against the West, will find it with me as they will find it 
with our glorious leader ; they will be mistaken in their man ; 
I am for the whole country. Go to Maine, and where is 
Massachusetts? At the South. Go to Massachusetts and 
where is the gallant state of Maryland ? At the South. Go 
to Maryland, and where is North Carolina? Aye, North! — 
thank God, North Carolina! [Applause.] We have a 
North under the blazing sun of the South : and yet they say 
they will have this North. 

"Dissolve this Union! Let the fiery hotspurs of the 
South design it when they may ; let the plotting traitors of 
the North design it when they will ; let the pulpits of the liv- 
ing God send forth their Sharpe's rifles, and their powder 
and bullets; but the people of the Union will not let them 
disturb it. [Applause.] With your Constitution in one 
hand and your Bible in the other, and with patriotism in 
your hearts, you will prove victorious against all the traitors 
that ever trod the earth. [Cheers and applause.] 

"Dissolve this Union! Sir, it never can be dissolved 
until the blood of the heroes of '76 has been so polluted and 
diluted that the last drop of it has left us. While there is 
a spark of the blood of '76 in American veins, so long will 
this Union stand! [Applause.] Dissolve this Union! 
Never, never, never! Why, sir, you may invite all the for- 
eign foes into our land ; you may robe our cities in flames ; 
make our homes smoking ruins, and send our wives and 


children screaming through the streets, but when our coun- 
try appears as if in the last gasp of expiring agony, a mighty 
voice like the sound of a trumpet will speak forth, proclaim- 
ing liberty and union as the watch-word, and that will save 
the Union ! [Applause.] 

"Mr. President, I was gratified to hear you say yesterday 
that you came a thousand miles and would have come three 
thousand, if necessary, to meet your brethren and friends in 
this convention. I was delighted, too, yesterday, to hear the 
eloquent voice of my friend from Massachusetts, who eight 
years ago stood side by side with me ; it showed me that the 
North is not so far from some of us as some people imagine, 
but that there is a bond of brotherhood which connects this 
Union together and will never permit it to be rent asunder. 
And permit me here, Mr. President, to advert also to a re- 
mark made by yourself last night in private conversation, 
when you said that this country was knit and rivetted to- 
gether by the great Mississippi, binding degree of latitude 
with degree of latitude, that will never allow this great 
Union to be severed. [Applause.] 

"And let me say to the Whigs assembled here, let us go 
home and tell our friends, that we have stood by and seen 
the tricks and fanaticism of those who have brought this 
crisis upon the country, and we have said not a word, but 
given them full swing in their mad course, letting them cut 
their own throats as much as they pleased. [Laughter and 
applause.] Perhaps it may purify the country to let them 
go on in such a career of madness and folly. The towering 
form of Gen. Scott sent into Kansas would have quieted 
that distracted people and secured peace. [Applause.] But, 
sir, no political capital would have been made out of it. And 
another thing: Who is the prime minister of this admin- 
istration ? 

"The man who, perhaps more than any other, has at- 
tempted to worry that great chieftain. He was Secretary 
of War when Gen. Scott was sent to Mexico without orders 
necessary to fulfill his mission, which occasioned the saying 
about the hasty plate of soup. New York has some bad 
men mixed up with her good men, like other States. 


[Laughter.] Gen. Scott waited month after month, impa- 
tient to take Vera Cruz, and at length he had to strip the 
ships of their guns, and in spite of the administration worry- 
ing at his heels, he went and took the city by storm — he 
took it, to use his own emphatic language, with a fire in front 
and in the rear. [Laughter and applause.] The conquest 
he achieved in Mexico was one that was never excelled in 
the records of this country's warfare. 

"And then what was his reward at the hands of the ad- 
ministration ? He was put on trial before Buchanan and 
Marcy and sent to a court martial. If ever my blood boiled, 
it was eight years ago, when I met the old chieftain at Wash- 
ington on his way to that court martial. I asked him where 
he was going. He said : 'To the town of Fredericksburg, 
Md.' 'For what?' I asked. 'To attend a court martial,' 
said he. 'What is the charge against you ?' I inquired. 'God 
only knows — you must ask the administration, not me. I 
never have been disgraced in the field, but their design is 
to disgrace me before the country.' Fellow citizens, can 
any of you tell what Gen. Scott was arraigned for? I 
think not. 

"But to return to North Carolina. I shall return home, 
and if I can only hear the assurance that the glorious State 
of New York will do its duty, I am sure I have only to tell 
my fellow citizens in North Carolina so, and victory will 
perch on our banner, and unless you are very speedy of foot 
and strong of arm, we will outstrip you. [Applause.] 

"I heard a remark, while on my way here, from a Demo- 
crat, that the Whig party was only as a brake upon the great 
Democratic train that was sweeping over the land. That 
was intended as a cut, but it was like an unfaithful blunder- 
buss — it hit the man behind harder than the object in front. 
[Laughter.] The Democratic train is rushing on to destruc- 
tion with an open draw-bridge ahead, and, with inevitable 
ruin in prospect, is shouting out to the Whigs, 'Break up, or 
we are gone,' [Laughter.] Sir, thank God, we are on 
board, and we will let them go on and plunge heels over 
head into the abyss. [Applause.] Certain it is, that either 


they or the country have got to be destroyed, and we are 
for saving the latter. [Applause.]'" 

Here was the same old ring of The Laird of Miiirhead 

"Afore the King in order stude 
The stout laird of Muirhead, 
Wi that same twa-hand miickle sword 
That Bartram fell'd stark dead. 

"He sware he wadna lose his right 
To fight in ilka field ; 
Nor budge him from hs liege's sight, 
Till his last gasp should yield."' 

This speech was read all over the United States and 
touched the hearts of every lover of the Constitution and 
the Union. It made such an impression that one boy at 
least, in a northern home, heard its author discussed over a 
dozen years afterwards, when "tlie train had rushed on to 
destruction into the open draw-bridge ahead ;" and ''a 
mighty voice" did, "like the sound of a trumpet" "speak 
forth, proclaiming liberty and union as the watch-word," 
and did "save the Union !" 

One other address must be noticed, namely, one he de- 
livered about a month later, October 24th, in his native 
county, Pittsylvania, Virginia, just across from Rockingham 
county. North Carolina, the home of his childhood and 
youth. This address was on the occasion of a visit to a 
mass-meeting at the court house : 

"Governor Morehead, of North Carolina, having been 
introduced by the President, arose and said (after loud and 
long continued applause with which he was welcomed 
had subsided) that the times, being sadly out of joint, he 
came over to the Old Dominion, to find out, if he could, 
the causes which had brought the country to its present 
deplorable condition, which he portrayed in a masterly man- 
ner. He then reviewed, briefly but graphically, the whole 
field of politics, from 1824 to the present time [October, 
1856] — said he was one of the few, if not the only man, who 

1 The Weekly Raleigh Register, 1st Oct., 1856. 
^ See Scott's ballad, ante. 


had voted three times as an elector for Gen. Jackson — 
showed the inconsistency of those Jackson men who now 
cooperate with the Democracy — how Virginia had, on 
former occasions, disappointed the country by repudiating 
her own worthiest sons, when put in nomination for the 
Presidency, and by voting for northern men with southern 
principles, who had betrayed the best interests of the nation 
— said a northern man, not with Southern but with na- 
tional principles, was now a candidate for her support, and 
it remained to be seen whether the old Mother of States 
would be again overreached and deceived by the wily arts 
of Democracy. He animadverted with much severity on 
Polk's Administration, alluding to the treatment which those 
great chieftains, Taylor and Scott, received at his hands. 
He had recently learned, he said, for the first time, during 
a tour through some of the northern states, the name of 
the present Chief Magistrate, who is known at the South as 
The Fainting Gen. Pierce! His name is pronounced Purse, 
by his northern friends and neighbors, and a most appropri- 
ate name it is for the head of such an administration. Per- 
haps some General Purse, if not one at the head of the gov- 
ernment, could give an account of the thirty millions of dol- 
lars which have so mysteriously disappeared from the vaults 
of the Treasury. 

"He said the Whigs had remained passive for several 
years — had nothing to do with the elevation of the powers 
that be. H they were dead, as had been stated, their ghosts 
would frighten every Democrat in the country ; before the 
Ides of November Whigs would be glad of the aid of the 
American Party; but having nominated Mr. Fillmore, they 
intend to elect him, with or without its assistance. 

"The Ex-Governor painted a truthful but glowing pic- 
ture of disunion, a contingency flippantly spoken of by 
demagogues — a consummation to which he would never 
submit; would never consent to a state of things which 
would render it necessary for him to get a passport to cross 
the line that separates the Old North State from the Old 
Dominion ; to go to a foreign land when he wishes to worship 
at the shrine of the Father of his Country; but that when- 


ever his inclination prompted, he would make his home on 
the banks of the Hudson or amid magnolia groves of the far 
South ; it was all his country ; his father had fought for it ; 
he would never give it up. The Democracy, after getting 
the country into its present disturbed and unhappy condi- 
tion, prescribe the same remedy that a farmer would for a 
horse with a broken leg, namely, to Knock it in the head. 
If the Union were dissolved, it would not be into two con- 
federacies, but into thirty-one states. The same causes 
which make nation quarrel with nation, section with section, 
man with man, men with their wives, would operate to keep 
the whole country in continual war : there would be no place 
where peace and contentment could be found. To remove 
from one state to another would be to jump out of the 
frying pan into the fire. 

"Comparing the three parties of the country to three ships, 
he brought up, first, the old hulk of Democracy, loaded 
down to the water's edge with public plunder, buccaneers 
over-burdened with spoils, her prow set for Cuba, with 
colors flying, inscribed on one side — 'Buchanan! Democ- 
racy ! Cuba ! No Improvement by the General Govern- 
ment.' On the other — 'Might makes Right ! Pacific Rail- 
road!' The old rickety craft gives a lurch in the first gale 
and goes down with a bubble to be heard of no more. Then 
comes the piratical Black Republicans, with their black flag 
and motley crew. Next comes the old Ship of State, with 
Fillmore for her commander, with the stars and stripes flut- 
tering to the breeze ; 'The Union ! The Constitution !' glit- 
tering in letters of gold on her trembling pennant, the eagle 
perched upon the top of the main-mast, overlooking the gal- 
lant crew — storms might comes from the North, from the 
South, waves might roll and breakers roar, 

"The strained mast might quiver as a reed 
The rent canvas, fluttering, strew the gale, 
But still would she on !"^ 

Nevertheless the effect of the new Republican-Abolitionist 
party in 1856 was to draw heavily from the Democratic 

1 Greensboro Patriot, Oct. 24, 1856. 


ranks in the North — one northern boy's two grandfathers 
and father changed from Democrats to RepubUcans that 

year and this so consoHdated the South that, in North 

CaroHna alone, the pendulum in the gubernatorial election 
swung to the unprecedented Democratic majority of over 
12,000; while in the national election Buchanan was vic- 
torious, and the Whigs were dead. 

Meanwhile, by 1857, North Carolina was taking on a 
new prosperity under the stimulus of her new railroad. 
National Treasury statistics showed her, with a population 
of 921,852, having a property valuation of $239,603,372. 
This gave her greater wealth than California, Connecticut, 
Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New 
Jersey and some few others. And not the least of these 
sources of stimulation were the prospects of a new great 
port terminal of the trans-state lines, as illustrated in the 
following letter: 

Governor Morehead's enthusiastic development of his 
plans for Morehead City is well illustrated in a letter of his 
of February 9, 1857, from "New-Berne," as his letter spells 
it : It is written to the editors of The Patriot and Flag, and 
says : 

"On Monday last the barque Damon, Captain Bartlett, of 
Bangor, Maine, entered the port of Beaufort with a cargo 
of rails for the Atlantic Railroad of 476 tons. She passed 
the bar and entered the port at dead low water. 

"On Friday, the 'T & J' barque, Captain J. D. Coffin, of 
Halifax, Nova Scotia, entered the same port in low tide 
with 580 tons rails and drawing over 15 feet of water. They 
are lying in New Port Channel, near each other, in front 
of the terminus of the railroad where the Wharf is to be 
built, and about 3000 feet from the shore, and in water 
some 20 or 30 feet deep. They might have brought in much 
larger cargoes if the vessels had been larger. 

"I wish all North Carolina could have seen both these 
magnificent barques entering the port under a cloud of 
canvass, all sails set (as I saw the T & J) and see them 
round to and cast anchor within a few feet of the shore, 
where they now ride so quietly on the bosom of this safe 


land-locked harbor, that every outline is mirrored from its 
placid surface. 

"These are splendid ships, well arranged and well com- 
manded by their quiet and gentlemanly Captains, whose 
bearing would grace the drawing-room, and is the reverse 
of that rough address and exterior which is so often attached 
to an Old Salt. 

"The cabins are handsomely fitted up, and Mrs. Bartlett 
and an interesting daughter grace Captain Bartlett's, and 
have partaken with him in the rough weather which both 
experienced on their voyage from New Port, Wales, from 
which place they sailed about the 15th of December last. 

"Twelve months more will show the wisdom of driving 
the Atlantic Road forward to completion, and the world 
will find out that North Carolina has one of the best and 
safest ports on the Atlantic Coast. 

"Yours respectfully 

"J. M. Morehead."^ 

By August 21, 1857, Governor Morehead, as President 
of The Sheppard's Point Land Company, was able to an- 
nounce that on November 11th, following, the first lots in 
the new city would be sold at public auction, and the 
Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad would be ready for 
business on New Year's Day following. Here is the vision 
President Morehead had of this new city's future place in 
the world : "The interior communications by water and land 
must make this a great commercial city. The vast produc- 
tions of the fertile valleys of the Roanoke, Tar and Neuse 
Rivers and the commerce of those great inland seas — the 
Albemarle, Carrituck, Croatan and Pamlico Sounds on the 
north, whilst Bogue Sound will bear on its bosom, the agri- 
cultural products, lumber, naval stores and fine ship timber 
of the regions lying South. The North Carolina Railroad, 
among the best in the Union, 223 miles long, is completed 
to Charlotte, where it connects through the South Carolina 
and Georgia Railroads with Atlanta and the southwest ; and 
by its western extension, now in rapid progress, it is contem- 

1 The Weekly Raleigh Register, 18th Feb., 1857. 


plated to reach the trade of Memphis and the Mississippi 
Valley by the net-work of all the railways that connect at 
Atlanta, Chattanooga, or with the Eastern Tennessee Rail- 
road. The ports of Beaufort, Chattanooga, Memphis and 
San Diego in the Pacific are about the same parallel of lati- 
tude; and if that parallel be extended across the f'acific, it 
will reach Shanghai, the nearest great port on the Eastern 
continent; therefore, if the Pacific Railroad be constructed 
(and that should be done forthwith), why may not this new 
city become the Atlantic mart fo** the commerce of the East 
Indies? Two short railroads w>'1 connect the two great 
coal fields of the state, lying on ';e south of the North 
Carolina Railroad, with that road ; and it is confidently ex- 
pected that a vast coal trade will be carried on through the 
new city; if so, may not Beaufort become a great coaling 
port, not only for purposes of commerce, but to furnish 
the supplies to steamers passing so near the entrance going 
north and south ; and may not the new city become the 
'entre depot' between the North and the South, to which 
our able and distinguished countryman, Lieut. Maury, refers 
in his unrivalled statesmanlike paper on the commerce of the 
Amazon, South AiTcerica, and the Gulf of Alexico? The 
City of Morehead is situated on a beautiful neck of land or 
dry plain, almost entirely surrounded with salt water ; i^s 
climate salubrious ; its sea breezes and sea bathing delight- 
ful ; its drinking water good ; and its fine chalybeate spring, 
strongly impregnated with sulphur, will make it a pleasant 
watering place. ... It will be the first instance of an 
entire new city on the Atlantic Coast being brought into 
market at once ; and capitalists may never have again such an 
opportunity for good investments, for a great city must and 

will be built at this place. J. M. Morehead, President of 

Sheppard's Point Land Company."^ 

The November sales were successful, in that over 60 lots 
were sold in Morehead City for some $13,000, while at the 
plat called "Carolina City" lots were sold for a total of 
$17,000. A regular boat was running between Morehead 

^ Greensboro Patriot, 6th Nov., 1857. 





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City and Beaufort on an hour schedule. An editorial letter 
to the Greensboro Patriot of 17th September, 1858, says : 
"Ever since our school-boy days we had heard of Beaufort 
harbor, having learned from our geography that there was 
such a place away down on the sea-coast, many hundred 
miles distant, where the people lived on fish, and used 
oyster-shells as cups, with which to drink water out of old 
pine stumps ; but we had never had an opportunity to visit 
that section of the country, and see for ourselves, whether 
or not the men of that region — as had been reported and 
believed in the interior by many — were scaly, had broad 
tails and thorny fins growing from their backs, the result of 
living on fish and diving after crabs. Well, we went, we 
saw, and we have returned. We saw not only the mighty 
ocean, the deepest inlet and finest harbor on the Atlantic 
coast, south of Norfolk; but we found the waters covered 
over with vessels of various sizes and descriptions, freighted 
with produce of every section of the state, transporting it 
from our shores to distant parts of the world, and bringing 
in return whatever was most pleasant and desirable. We 
found there, also, an active, good looking, thriving and in- 
telligent population, men of character and stability, who 
were putting forth all their energies to avail themselves of 
the many advantages and the great market facilities with 
which nature has so bountifully blessed them. Beaufort is 
situated immediately on the Sound, right opposite the inlet, 
and has a population of some twelve or fifteen hundred, 
contains three very neat churches, three hotels, all said to 
be good houses. . . ." 

He then describes the inlet approach : "The inlet at 
Beaufort Harbor is, we understand, about three-quarters 
of a mile wide, extending from the Point on the Shackel- 
ford banks on the east to the point at Fort Macon on the 
West. Ships drawing from eighteen to twenty feet can 
cross the bar with safety. Ships crossing the bar, enter the 
harbor near the Shackelford banks, then bear up in a 
westwardly direction toward Fort Macon. From the bar 
at the inlet, across the Sound to Beaufort, is about three 
miles, this being about the widest part of the harbor. The 


channel is in the form of a half-moon, one horn running 
eastwardly along the Shackelford banks, called Core Sound, 
and the other westwardly by Morehead and Carolina cities, 
which are situated on Bogue Sound. The deepest water 
is along Newport river, which runs in nearly a north 
direction, between Morehead City and Beaufort, touching 
the railroad wharf in the former place. The main channel 
is about one mile wide, so that the inside of the channel 
would be some two miles from Beaufort, though vessels 
drawing from nine to ten feet water can approach the Beau- 
fort wharves at full tide. Running up the channel about 
three miles from the bar, we come to the railroad wharf at 
Morehead City, where vessels drawing eighteen feet can ap- 
proach with ease, and unload and take in lading with the 
greatest safety." 

He then shows that one turns from the channel to the 
left into Bogue Sound, three miles farther, to Carolina 
City, where vessels drawing only twelve feet could land ; 
but this narrative is concerned only with his description of 
Morehead City, the real port. "Sheppard's Point, or More- 
head City, is situated very much like the City of New York. 
On the south is Bogue Sound, on the east right at the point 
is Newport River, through which runs the main channel, 
and out to which the railroad wharf extends. On the north 
is Calico Creek, extending westwardly . . . nearly 
three miles, and running almost parallel with Bogue Sound. 
This channel, from' the railroad wharf for nearly a mile 
along the Point, is now, at full tide, from six to nine feet 
deep, and if properly dredged, could, for that distance up, 
admit vessels drawing from ten to twelve feet of water, 
while the dirt taken from the channel would be amply 
sufficient to raise the ground between the channel and the 
mainland, above high tide, affording a long extent of 
wharves. The railroad wharf, taken in connection with the 
warehouse at Morehead City, when completed, will be a 
magnificent affair. The wharf having to extend for a con- 
siderable distance from the Point to reach the channel, it 
was for a long time predicted that it would be impossible 
for one to be constructed sufficiently firm and durable to 


resist the action of the tides and the violence of storms. 
All doubt on this score, however, has been removed, and 
it is universally conceded that the work not only can, but 
that in a few months it will be completed." 

He tells how the Chief Engineer and Governor Morehead 
explained everything to him and how they proposed having 
wharves on both sides of the peninsula — Sheppard's Point. 
"Let only one-third the amount be expended at Morehead 
City as has been on the bay at Baltimore, and every obstruc- 
tion will be removed and vessels of the largest size can 
load and unload at the wharves with the greatest ease, while 
they are most securely protected from storms. The rail- 
road warehouse, when completed, will be a magnificent work. 
It stands just at the end of the wharf, surrounded by water 
twenty feet deep, supported by ninety-three large iron piles 
which have been driven into the ground by an immense 
force. . . . The extent of the warehouse is 165 by 90 
feet, with the railroad track passing through its entire 
length on both sides — the track branching on the wharf — 
so that freight can be taken immediately from the cars and 
placed aboard the vessels." 

Then a pleasing incident occurred : Governor Morehead 
had told him all of the tropical nature of this coast so near 
the Gulf Stream, and spoke of fig trees large as apple trees, 
and proposed they sail up Calico Creek [naturally] to a 
Mrs. Piggott's and enjoy some figs and melons. The editor 
and the Chief Engineer were disinclined, until Governor 
Morehead added that she had some pretty daughters, where- 
upon they accepted with alacrity — although the editor lays 
all blame on the engineer. They feasted on three varieties 
of figs, the White, the Red and the Blue Fig, mentioning 
them in this order, as though conscious of their patriotic 
colors, and avowing the Blue to be the "best flavored." 
Five or six bushels to a tree was a not unusual crop. Then 
came the two daughters — "Hebes," the editor calls them, 
while the engineer and he both seem to have forgotten both 
figs and melons in their presence, and Governor Morehead 
again illustrated his power as a diplomat. The staid editor 
advises Guilford young men, that if they want to help found 


a great port they would find no such difficulty as Romulus 
did — "a scarcity of ladies," for — 

"I've been to the West, I've been to the East, 

And I've been to North Carolino ; 
But the prettiest girl I ever saw 

Was tripping along through the Pino."^ 

And yet this was a year of one of the greatest panics and 
failures in national history. Fifteen great railways of the 
land with a total of over $180,000,000 liabilities failed to 
meet their debts; but those of North Carolina, under the 
inspiration and wisdom of Governor Morehead's years of 
leadership, were not among them ; although stock was de- 
preciated and President Fisher was charged with incompe- 
tency. Newbern celebrated the opening of the Atlantic 
road on April 29th, with free excursion trains from all over 
the state bringing over 10,000 people, and with ceremonies 
lasting three days. Thus, by May, 1858, Governor More- 
head's new road was in operation and all the lots sold in 
Morehead City. 

^ Chorus of an old ballad. 


He Enters The Assembly 


Defend and Extend the Railway 

West and North 

A Great Vision of Transportation 


With the Morehead City and railroad projects accom- 
plished facts in the spring of 1858, there was a demand that 
Governor Morehead enter the Assembly to defend and 
extend railroad development/ He had spent a good deal of 
time in Greensboro, and in September previously he had 
organized the Greene Monument Association proposing that 
either the national or state governments, if the former would 
not, erect a monument to General Greene at Guilford 
Battle-Ground, and he was made President of this body. 

A pretty picture of him at "Blandwood," that adjoined 
Edgeworth Seminary, which he was enlarging at this time, is 
given by an old pupil — a picture of Governor Morehead 
accidentally mxceting two young pupils of this girls' semi- 
nary, who had wandered into the unusually beautiful 
grounds of "Blandwood," in Reminiscences of School Life, 
by An Edgeworth Pupil : "At first a little startled at the 
sight of two crouching children, Governor Morehead halted, 
but something in our wistful eyes and home-hungry faces 
told the tale. Extending both hands he drew us to him ; 
kindly he patted our heads, then sitting down with us, he 
talked pleasantly to us of our homes, and cheerfully gave 

^ At a meeting of stock-holders of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad 
at Newbern on the 24th of June, 1858, Governor Morehead was present and 
plainly indicated that the road's capital stock must be increased from $1,600,000 
to the necessary amount, while Governor Bragg asserted that the road's man- 
agement was sound and the construction properly done. 



us free access not only to these intermediate grounds, which 
for the first time we had on that occasion dared enjoy, but 
he also invited us to 'Blandwood,' his own beautiful home. 
He then passed on, and we returned to the Seminary a happy 
couple. . . . His name on history's page has its reward ; 
over these Southern lands 'tis a household word. And re- 
membering his wisdom and justice in our country's weal, 
what fitter talisman need we ask. But his private life, who 
shall tell us of that? Who? Let the countless throngs 
so often gathered at Blandwood's pleasant halls tell us. 
Let the gay and fashionable pleasure seeker tell us. Let 
noble lords and handsome ladies tell us. And the statesman, 
let him speak of his compeer, this scion of the 'Old 
Dominion' gentility. But are these all? No, no. Let the 
prattling child, the weary invalid, the aged matron, the 
gray-haired sire, the orphan and widow, the poor and 
homeless. Yea, these and hundreds of school girls, all may 
tell us of one whose sympathies and charities flowed in every 
channel of want."^ 

As antiphonal to this, from the eastern end of the state 
is another reminiscence, this time from a boy instead of a 
girl ! 

Governor Morehead was once visiting the father of a 
seventeen-year-old boy, in 1858, near La Grange, N, C., 
and considerably over a half century later that boy wrote 

his impressions. "I heard him [Gov. M ] say, as they 

were sipping their toddies in the parlor, that a man ought 
to be a half-hour taking a drink. He said to take it all 
at one swallow was too great a shock to the system ; but 
sipped slowly, it diffused itself in the system gradually and 
was more beneficial. I adopted his plan and followed it all 
through my life. If Morehead had put on clerical robes, 
no Pope or priest ever had a more benevolent face or a more 
magnetic presence."- This father was a director of the 
Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad. 

As has been said, his Guilford county friends and others 

^ Clippings in possession of Mrs. W. R. Walker, Spray, N. C. 

2 C. S. Wooten, Mt. Olive, N. C, in a letter to Judge W. P. Bynum, 2nd 
Sept, 1921, in response to an invitation to attend the presentation of a por- 
trait of Governor Morehead to the Court at Greensboro, N. C. 


interested in further railroad development persuaded him 
that it was his duty to take up the cause in the House of 
Commons. The specific aims will appear as the campaign 
and sessions proceed; for he was successful at the August 
election, receiving 1581 votes, the highest of any except 
for McRae for Governor and Gorrell for the Senate. Then 
it began to appear what was the real discontent of the people, 
even while, in September, the Western North Carolina Rail- 
road was completed as far as Statesville. This note was 
sounded in the Greensboro Patriot about the time for the 
meeting of the Assembly : it was charged that the Democrats 
put in controlling Directors from the Wilmington and Wel- 
don Railroad, and subordinated the North Carolina Railroad 
to the Wilmington interests — and that was what was the 
matter of it! So it was the same old fight of east and 
west ; and the west again brought out their old club to battle 
with, namely, the Danville link ! And Governor Morehead 
was chosen to again weild this Excalibur ! This promised a 
tense condition in the legislative halls at Raleigh and was 
bound to make such a battle as those halls had not seen since 
Calvin Graves voted "Aye" and created the Central railroad ! 
All the more was it a gigantic battle because the odds were 
so great: the House had a Democratic majority of thirty- 
eight and the Senate a majority of twelve! And the Guil- 
ford David was a Whig against this Democratic Goliath ! 
And Governor Ellis' majority was 16,247. 

And still there was a reason for this Democratic land- 
slide, locally, for the state was becoming alarmed at a bonded 
indebtedness of $6,879,505, of which was $533,500 balance 
on the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, a $400,000 
loan to that line, and a loan of like amount to the Western 
North Carolina Railroad — or a total of $1,333,500 for rail- 
road extensions east and west, alone. In addition to this 
a total of • 640,000 in bonds must soon be issued to the 
Western — or last mentioned road — to increase it to 
$1,973,500, or nearly one-third of the entire state debt. 
The state's stock was of course a sinking fund in all this, 
but the people were concerned about it. 

The program of the Guilford leaders was, first, to reorgan- 


ize the North Carolina Railroad Directory plans so as to give 
the stock-holders control, which meant, practically, western 
control; and, secondly, if this failed, to get a charter for the 
Danville link. They held that the mismanagement of the 
Central road was not so much due to President Fisher as the 
Democratic eastern directory's policy of subordinating the 
road to Wilmington interests. This of course also meant 
that it was against Morehead City and Beaufort interests, 
as well as the Atlantic railroad ! As a part of the battle it 
was proposed to have stock-holders of both the Atlantic 
road and the Western road have a majority on the North 
Carolina Central directory instead of the Wilmington road ! 
To prepare the way for these, the Danville connection club 
was put upon the table at an early date. 

The Assembly gathered at Raleigh capitol on November 
15, 1858, and the Ex-Governor from Greensboro took his 
seat as a representative in the Commons. He was at once 
put on the Internal Improvement Committee and on the 
Joint Standing Committee on Finance. The press of the 
east began to teem with arguments against the "link," or 
"Danville Connection," as it was more commonly called. 
They said that even when the Richmond and Danville 
Railroad was first proposed, it was, like the Petersburg and 
Norfolk roads, designed to tap the Roanoke valley and west- 
ern North Carolina which was growing so rapidly. That 
Richmond, as the largest tobacco market in the Union — with 
possession of the regular order of the French govern- 
ment, and with the largest flouring mills in the world com- 
manding the South American market, would make compe- 
tition from any port in North Carolina of no avail : all 
western commerce of the state would become a Richmond 
tributary ; and it would debilitate every railroad in the state. 
They showed the well-grounded great fear of an oncom- 
ing Piedmont trans-national line from Maine to New 
Orleans; and looked upon the advocates of the Greensboro 
and Danville Railroad as the greatest menace the state had 
had in m.odern times ! They were looked upon as wreckers 
by the eastern press ; even the Whig leader, The Raleigh 
Register, joined the cry. They recalled to Governor More- 


head his speech at Petersburg, Virginia, on Nov. 8, 1849, 
when they claimed he said that, if the Central road was built, 
with a re-constructed Raleigh & Gaston road, neither he nor 
his people would ever ask for a Danville road ; and charged 
him, as Virginia born, with being ready to sacrifice his 
adopted state, and break up her whole system of improve- 
ments. This was the kind of press attacks upon him by 
mid-December, 1858, and upon his following in Person, 
Rockingham, Caswell and Guilford counties, among whom 
were Democrats like Speaker Settle, his old Latin teacher, 
who was considered another Calvin Graves ! Evidently the 
move to put eastern and western extension Directors, in- 
stead of Wilmington ones, on the Central Railroad board, 
with its accompanying club, the Danville link, was breaking 
up political families. Certainly it was striking terror into 
the eastern political leaders, like a life and death struggle. 

The Morehead minority report of 1858 shows that even 
without the Danville connection that trade is coming from 
Virginia, not to it ; and even with the Danville connection 
produce would change cars twice to reach Richmond, 192 
miles, while it can reach Newbern port, 187 miles, More- 
head City, 222 miles, or Wilmington, 211 miles, with no 
change — reaching the Atlantic in far less time than to reach 
Richmond, which is an interior port 160 to 170 miles from 
the Atlantic, but slightly superior as a port to Newbern, not 
equal to Wilmington, and greatly inferior to Morehead City. 
This report shows that the Greensboro-Danville road makes 
the transnational line 96 miles shorter than the Knoxville 
or Wilmington routes.^ 

The Danville connection bill v/as set for Tuesday, the 
28th of December, mid-holiday season. The attack was 
centered upon the leader, Governor Morehead, whose speech 
was long continued. It came up again for second reading 
on January 10, 1859, and indeed it seemed to be before the 
House in some form much of the time. The bill was known 
as "House Bill, 92, to charter the Greensboro and Danville 
Railroad Company:" and it was in committee of the whole 

1 Greensboro Patriot of Dec 24, 1858. 


almost every day. On Wednesday, January 12, 1859, it was 
again continued, Speaker Settle's remarks for it being fol- 
lowed by Mr. Green of Franklin county in reply; "after 
which," says the Raleigh Register editor, who was, in this 
matter at least, inimical to the "link," "Mr. Dortch took the 
floor and gave Governor Morehead a complete dressing." 
Mr, Norwood took the floor on Thursday and was followed 
by Mr. Bridgers. These attacks were continued on Friday 
and on Saturday, whereupon Governor Morehead rose, 
and even the editor who thought the "Old War Horse" 
had received "a complete dressing" was compelled to say, 
in his report of it, that "it was an admirable one of its kind !" 
Some interesting inside history of the appearance of a 
Rockingham Coal Fields railroad bill, after the Greensboro 
and Danville bill was rejected is given by the Fayetteville 
Observer. It seems that Rockingham county. Governor 
Morehead's old home and seat of his great Leaksville plant, 
wanted the link as much as he did ; but, as it was safely 
Democratic, the eastern leaders thought they could hold it, 
until they saw how much in earnest that county really was. 
To save the county to Governor Ellis, the Wilmington mem- 
ber of the House introduced this bill and got it passed; 
whereupon the Wilmington Senator so amended it that he 
thought Governor Morehead and his friends would reject it 
— which they did not choose to do! For an act passed two 
years before, to charter a road from High Point, via Salem 
and Germanton to Virginia would enable a Danville con- 
nection to be made, and what was more the Salem road went 
directly by Governor Morehead's steam mills there, and both 
roads helped his lands and plants at Leaksville and his great 
possessions at Holtsburg on the Yadkin River ! The 
Observer charged Wilmington with mistakes all the way 
along: the Weldon road which takes 8000 bales of cotton 
out of Edgecombe alone to a Virginia port ; the Manchester 
road which carries produce off to Charleston ; and finally 
the Charlotte & Rutherford would be a South Carolina 
feeder still more — two roads for Virginia and two for 
South CaroHna!' 

1 Greensboro Patriot, 14th Oct, 1859. 


Several reports of the great debate on the "Danville Con- 
nection," as it was called, in January, 1859, exist, but this 
from the Fayetteville Observer, is brief, friendly and pic- 
turesque: "He [Governor Morehead] had been assailed by 
Bridgers of Edgecombe, Dortch of Wayne, and other lead- 
ing Democrats, opponents of the Danville Connection. Mr. 
Bridgers had imputed an 'avaricious spirit' to the Governor. 
In reply he said that he had invested eighty-seven thousand 
dollars in railroads for the improvement of North Carolina. 
He desired to know how much the gentleman from Edge- 
combe had thus invested? 'Do you desire an answer now?' 
said Mr. Bridgers. "Certainly!' And Mr. Bridgers replied 
that he owned one share (nominal value, $100) in the Wil- 
mington and Weldon road (which runs through his own 
county). Would that we had more 'avaricious' spirits as 
Governor Morehead, and fewer such patriots as Mr. Bridg- 
ers. If we only had Governor Morehead in this town, we 
could guarantee the speedy completion of the Coalfields 
Railroad, with or without State aid. . . . Having thus 
effectually disposed of Mr. Bridgers, it was Mr. Dortch's 
turn next. This gentleman had delivered himself of some 
'startling developments' in regard to extravagance on the 
North Carolina Railroad whilst under the Presidency of 
Governor Morehead. This of course derived great weight 
from the fact Mr. Dortch had long been one of the State's 
Directors in the road, and was therefore presumed to have 
availed himself of his opportunities to secure full and 
reliable information on all the financial operations of the 
Governor. He was one of those sentinels placed by Demo- 
cratic Governors to see that the state had justice done to her. 
He arraigned Governor Morehead before the House as 
guilty of extravagant expenditures of the State's money. 
And what reply could the culprit make to a charge from such 

a high and well informed authority? He [Gov. M ] 

quietly produced a Report from an Examining Committee, 
certifying that the North Carolina Railroad was the cheapest 
built railroad in the country. And to this Report was 
signed the name of this same Mr. Dortch ! And so on 
through the catalogue of Gov. Morehead's accusers. He 


brushed them off Hke mosquitoes — those lean fellows who 
keep up a prodigious buzzing without having the power to 
sting! . . . Long live the old patriot and statesman, 
to labor for his State and to confound his enemies, whether 
political or personal !" 

Another report says of it: "The debate of which I 
have spoken might be said to have been closed by a three 
hour speech from Governor Morehead, though Mr. Nor- 
wood followed him for about an hour. Morehead occupied, 
part of two days in its delivery. His personal character 
had been assailed, the spirit of his youth was roused, and 
never before, nor will there again this season, be heard in 
this capitol such a speech. It towered far above anything 
we have ever heard there. Always impressive and speaking 
with ability, his full powers were then brought out. We 
have never heard such withering sarcasm, more forcible 
arguments, or more finished and entrancing eloquence. A 
member opposed to him in politics, and on this question, 
remarked to us that, he always thought Mr. Morehead was 
the first man in North Carolina, and now he knew it ! . . . 
All have heard Gov. Morehead, in one or another of the 
many great efforts of his life, but this was the crown upon 

To this account, let the memories of a young man of 
that time be added : "I knew Governor Morehead," wrote 
J. S. T. Baird of Asheville, on April 29, 1912, "and had the 
honor to serve with him in the House of Commons (as we 
then called it) at the session of 1858-9. I was then quite a 
young man, and for courtesies and kindnesses shown me by 
him during the session, I learned to hold him in very high 
esteem. Though differing in our political views, he was 
nevertheless kind to give me much valuable advice and as- 
sistance in my legislative duties. While there were quite 
a number of able men of the Whig party in the House at 
that session, such as W. N. H. Smith, David Outlaw, John 
Kerr, Atlas J. Dargan, O. H. Dockery, Tod R. Caldwell, 
and others. Governor Alorehead stood preeminent above 

^ Clipping in possesson of Mrs. W. R. Walker, Spray, N. C. 


them all and was their recognized leader. Col. Bridgers 
was among the ablest of the Democratic members and shared 
the leadership with such men as Ransom, Dortch, Flemming 
and others. There was much attempted railroad legislation 
at that session. Governor Morehead, who, during his ad- 
ministration as Governor many years before had shown 
himself a staunch friend and promoter of railroad building 
in the state, was friendly to about all schemes that were 
presented at that session, while Colonel Bridgers was not 
so much so. The people of this section [western] of the 
state were deeply concerned and were making strenuous 
efforts for the extension of railroads through our mountain 
country, but there was much opposition by members from 
the east and other sections of the state. I am not positive, 
but my recollection is that it was while the extension of the 
Western North Carolina Railroad was under discussion 
that Colonel Bridgers made his attack on the railroad record 
of Governor Morehead.^ After the lapse of fifty-four years, 
it is impossible for me to recall many of the incidents of the 
debate, but this much I do remember : that Colonel Bridgers' 
attack on Governor Morehead was futile and did the Gov- 
ernor no harm, for he vindicated himself in the most thor- 
ough manner. ... I cannot close this without again 
expressing the many pleasing recollections that I have of 
Governor Morehead, as well as the great admiration I had 
for him. Truly he was a great and good man, and his 
venerable form and benign features are ever before my 
mental vision, while the memory of his many kind and 
courteous acts is forever enshrined within my heart. He 
deserves to stand high on the roll of those whose names and 
whose character have shed lustre upon the pages of North 
Carolina's history."^ 

His great speech in this most notable debate, however, 
was unable to overcome the eastern vote, and the second 
reading, on Saturday, January 15, 1859, was lost by a vote 
of 65 nays and Z7 yeas, but one of which yeas was east of 

1 As has been seen it was the Greensboro & Danville line, or "connection" 
witli the latter place, instead. 

^ Letter to R. D. W. Connor. N. C. Historical Commission, Misc. Papers, 
Ser. 1, VoL IV, p. 108. 


Raleigh, namely of Beaufort county. Guilford's three 
votes were the highest from any one county, Davidson, 
Wilkes and Mecklenburg following with two, while Rowan, 
Cumberland, Harnett, Caswell, Rutherford, Robeson and 
Beaufort were divided. 

This was not the end of the battle, however, for three 
days later, on January 18, 1859, the Internal Improvement 
Committee, of which Governor Morehead was a member, 
reported out a substitute for the Greensboro and Danville 
bill, recommending its passage. On consideration of the 
Chatham Railroad bill on January 21st, Mr. Caldwell of 
Guilford county offered an amendment giving the road power 
to build also between Greensboro and Danville, which was 
promptly defeated by 74 to 25, but the bill was passed. 
Instantly Mr. Simpson's substitute bill, No. 92, was called 
up for third reading, but the "link" people didn't want it 
then, and got an adjournment. It was called up again next 
day, whereupon the enemies of it began to offer amendments 
designed to kill it: connection with any Virginia road to 
work forfeiture, even if by stage or other means ; it should 
not carry passengers, except free negroes entering the 
State (!); and freight or passengers could not be carried 
from the Central road to the Virginia road. It was then 
passed third reading and the name changed to the "Rock- 
ingham Coal Fields Company." This passed second read- 
ing in the Senate on February 14, 1859. where one Senator 
saw in it a purpose to get a railroad from Greensboro to 
Danville without connections at Danville, in expectation of 
applying to a future legislature for the right to connect, and 
sought an amendment making such application work for- 
feiture of charter, but this was rejected. Senator Ashe 
secured an amendment keeping the new line twenty miles 
from the Central road, and it passed second reading and 
also third reading 23 to 17. Then its title was changed to 
the "Dan River Railroad Company" and the House was 
asked to concur, which it promptly did. It opened the Dan 
River coal fields to the Danville and Richmond road. 

Governor Morehead did other useful things in the ses- 
sion of 1858-9 as a member of the Commons, but this battle 


so overshadowed all others that they were eclipsed in public 
attention. This coal-fields road was in no sense a "link'' 
although it went down to the region of Governor Morehead's 
properties at Leaksville, and really gave him an outlet for 
his Rockingham county plants. The echoes of this battle 
continued for months afterwards, because it was of great 
concern to the whole Atlantic seaboard states as the com- 
pletion of a trans-national line from Maine to New Orleans. 
It will be well to note one or two most interesting comments, 
choosing one from Richmond and one from Fayetteville : 
In June, 1859, ''A Virginian" wrote to the Richmond Whig 
the following letter on Governor Morehead and enclosed 
one from the Fayetteville Observer on the same subject, 
requesting its publication, and which follov»'s his own : He 
says the latter letter is about Governor Morehead "who has 
done more to develop the resources of his native [ ?] Com- 
monwealth, and to aid the deserving poor people around him, 
than has been effected by all the other public men of North 
Carolina together. 

"Gifted by nature with wonderful mental and physical 
powers, and with unsurpassed industry, enterprise and pub- 
lic spirit, he has, through a long life, devoted all his ener- 
gies to the improvement of the various interests of his state. 
Nor has he been wanting in efforts to unite Virginia and 
North Carolina by the strong ties of reciprocal interest and 
mutual benefit. 

"His liberal subscription to the Richmond and Danville 
Railroad and his Herculean efforts in the Legislature of his 
State to procure a charter for a connecting link between 
that improvement and the North Carolina Central road, 
whilst they subjected him to the grossest injustice and to the 
most malignant opposition, on the part of those who are op- 
posed to the connection, have won for him a name and fame 
which his opponents may envy, but to which they can never 
attain. ... he stands before his admiring countrymen 
as a patriot of enlarged views, whose comprehensive grasp 
takes in, not only all of his beloved Commonwealth, but looks 
also to the good of his sister States. As the great advocate 
and patron of internal improvements, he may be justly 


regarded as the De Witt Clinton of the South. It may truly 
be said, that such a man as John M. Morehead is not only 
an ornament to his State, but a benefactor to his species. 

"But to the extract referred to:" 

The Fayetteville writer tells of a visit to Leaksville 
and Governor Morehead's plant there: "Being attracted 
by the magnitude and number of buildings, I stopped a few 
hours to look around. Here was a large stone building, the 
cotton factory, constructed in the most substantial manner, 
and of the most durable materials. It is situated at the 
mouth of a magnificent canal, leading from Smith's river, 
and operated by the largest and finest metal wheel that I 
have ever seen. Near by are the oil mills, flour mills, and 
saw mill — all operated by the water of the same canal, 
which appears to have a fall of at least 25 feet, and at a 
slight expense could be made to propel millions of dollars 
worth of machinery.^ 

"After surveying this immense water power and canal, 
capable of being made to control the entire current of 
Smith's river, I looked upon the hills that jut in towards 
the manufacturing establishments, to see the neat and sub- 
stantial dwellings — some brick and others frame — where the 
hundreds of laborers and their families live, who earn hon- 
est and respectable support from the capital here invested. 
The store-house and factory appear to have been built some 
years, and all the establishments and plans show that in- 
telligent enterprise and capital have accomplished much 
here for the benefit of the country, when such improvements 
were in their infancy in North Carolina. Seeing such re- 
sults from the sagacity and enterprise of an individual when 
there was no prospect of railroads in that portion of North 
Carolina, I was naturally led to reflect, what this portion of 
the State might become, with its rich lands, abounding in 
iron and coal, and its immense water power, with the ad- 
vantages of a railroad? But this would not suit your Wil- 
mington neighbors ; and hence the people of that portion of 

^ Governor Morehead, at this time, had steam mills at Salem (now Winston- 
Salem), thousands of acres in Rockingham with this great plant at Leaksville, 
and considerable possessions at Holtsburg on the Yadkin river. — Greensboro 
Patriot of 14th Oct, 1859. 


North Carolina must be denied the benefits and blessings 
resulting from such improvement. In reflecting upon what 
I have witnessed and learned, I am satisfied that no man in 
the State of North Carolina has been more identified with 
her material interests than J. M. Morehead. He has been, 
and probably is now, identified with the farming, manufac- 
turing, mechanical, mercantile and educational pursuits of 
the people of the state. He knows their wants and interests, 
perhaps, better than any other man. He has done more to 
give impulse and success to the internal improvement system 
than any man in the State. The North Carolina Railroad 
would never have been constructed had he not taken hold 
of it and brought his potent influence to raise the means 
and put the work forward almost to completion. Within 
six months or less he would have had the road completed. 
But here low party malignity had to do its dirty work. 
It forced him to resign that position which he had filled with 
such signal ability, that it might reap the rewards due to 
another. It was an act of black ingratitude, and some of its 
perpetrators are now reaping its bitter fruits. 

"He did more to build the Atlantic and North Carolina 
Railroad than any man in the State. Altho' he was not the 
President, he subscribed the money and did the work, and 
today, I am told, owns more stock in the road than all other 
stockholders collectively. Yet he has never even been 
tendered a Director's place in the company. This is base 
ingratitude and places the company in no enviable light, 
altho' I do not suppose that Governor Morehead wants any 
position on the road. 

"During the sitting of the last Legislature, there was 
developed a bitter partizan spirit against him. He had mind 
and capacity enough in his objects of legislation to compre- 
hend the whole state of North Carolina. He was for giving 
the additional aid necessary to complete the Albemarle and 
Chesapeake Canal ; he was for going forward with the 
Western Extension [of the N. C. R. R.] ; he advocated the 
Danville connection ; and he was for the Fayetteville Coal 
Fields Road as well as other useful improvements to the 
State. His more comprehensive and statesman-like policy 


did not suit all the local and petty interests represented in the 
Legislature, and an attempt was made to hunt him down 
by those pigmy politicians and factionists. 

"Men who would not dare to meet him in discussion in the 
legislative halls or elsewhere by misrepresentation and slan- 
der, by whiskey and ground-peas in the lobbies, hotels and 
groceries, endeavored to do their dirty work of robbing an 
honest man of his good name and just fame. The decree 
had gone forth that Morehead delendus est. 

"His public and private life were ransacked to find some 
fault or blemish with which to damn him. Truly 'monies 
parturiimt et ridiculiis mus nascitur.' The result is too well 
known. How like chaff before the wind he scattered the 
imputations of his adversaries, and how triumphantly he 
vindicated himself, and put to the blush every accuser, is 
too familiar to your readers. 

"His speech, both in eloquence and its vindication of 
truths would have immortalized almost any statesman ; but 
to J. M. Morehead, who had proved the victor in an hundred 
hard-fought battles, it was only one among the many tri- 
umphs of his life, when his opponents dared to meet him 
face to face. . . . 

"North Carolina has but few such men as J. M. More- 
head. A statesman of manly bearing and frank views on all 
questions — tried in the severe ordeals of public and private 
life, he is known to possess the integrity of a Cato; a man 
of brains and of great practical intellect, identified with 
almost every honorable and liberal pursuit in the country, 
and having devoted the best of his life and services to the 
improvement, both public and private, of the State. These 
are qualities which justly endear him to his fellowmen, and 
well may they be proud of him. 

"It was these high attributes of character, illustrated 
through his whole life that caused the people to elect him 
twice triumphantly to the Gubernatorial chair by such ma- 
jorities as no other man has ever received, with parties so 
equally divided and the strongest opposition that could be 
arrayed against him. He has never asked the people for 
office, which they did not confer; indeed, he never sought 


office, but has often served in public positions at the sacrifice 
of his individual interests. And when partizan feeling shall 
have subsided and the revilers and private traducers of his 
just fame and great name shall have moulded into dust, 
and been forgotten, posterity will cherish the name and 
memory of J. M. Alorehead, and rank him with North Caro- 
lina's most gifted statesmen and greatest benefactors.'" 

Such was the result of the great fight for the last link in 
a trans-national Piedmont railway. And what was it? 
The result was that, if the Richmond and Danville road ex- 
tended its line to the Dan River Railroad whose terminus 
would be at Leaksville, then the "link" still necessary to the 
trans-national line would be reduced to but twenty-eight 
miles — the distance between Leaksville and Greensboro ! 
So great a part of the "link" had Governor Morehead se- 
cured in the past ten years ! And then he went back to 
Morehead City to continue his efforts to build up a great 
port terminal of the North Carolina Railroad "system" as 
it would now be called. For was not the Raleigh & Gaston 
road now a part of the "system?" And was not Wilmington 
and the Roanoke valley trying to make the Wilmington 
& Weldon a part of it likewise? Now, his activities at 
Morehead City were like a great symbolical picture, showing 
a giant building a mighty port terminal metropolis of the 
commonwealth, with Wilmington, a rival, beholding it and 
observing, near at the giant's hand, a bludgeon marked 
"Twenty-eight miles of trans-national link, Greensboro to 
Leaksville. For the Dog-In-The-Manger, who can neither 
eat hay, nor allow those to eat it who can !" For such Wil- 
mington was considered by all who had favored the sea-to- 
Tennessee vertebral railroad, from President Caldwell to 
Governor Alorehead. Would Wilmington and the Roanoke 
heed the warning? Could the Cape Fear metropolis sur- 
render her primacy to a program avowedly designed to dis- 
place her — even though it was also designed to be a veritable 
unification of the commonwealth — its greatest need since the 
Piedmont became populous? It was not in human, nor 

^ From a clipping from the Richmond Whig in possession of Mrs. W. R- 
Walker, Spray, N. C. 


metropolitan nature, to do it ; and so the picture of the giant 
creating a new port terminal and metropolis, while his 
Greensboro-Leaksville bludgeon lay close at hand as a warn- 
ing to Wilmington, still stands, late in 1859 ; while a storm 
is brewing beside which, a hurricane off Hatteras would be 
a mere zephyr, and which would bring disaster to both ! 

And yet as soon as that Assembly of 1858-9 adjourned in 
February, Governor Morehead boarded the train eastward 
for Morehead City to continue building a great unifying port 
for the state. 

A letter from Morehead City, dated March 10, 1859, and 
signed "Beaufort," gives a vivid picture of progress there: 
"The wharf, as you know, is built upon iron screw-piles — a 
novelty in this country as well as Europe, and is just 
finished. And the warehouse built thereon, and the whole 
structure for enclosing the wharf are raised and will be 
under cover by the last of next week. The arrangements 
here for loading and unloading vessels and cars are superior 
to anything I have ever witnessed, either North or South. 
The warehouses, being some fifty-five feet narrower than the 
wharf, and placed nearer one side of the same, the railroad 
track forks before reaching the warehouse, and a track runs 
on each side of the same and between it and the vessels 
lying at the side of the wharf; so that if the cars are ready, 
the goods are taken directly from the vessel, and put directly 
on board the cars without any delay or cost. If cars are 
not ready, the goods which are valuable and need locking up, 
are carried across the tracks, and put in the warehouse until 
the cars arrive. Those more bulky are left outside the 
tracks on the wharf, though not exposed to the weather, as 
the whole is under cover, and enclosed by large sliding doors 
remaining entirely around the wharf. 

"Here the steamer drawing twenty feet of water, and 
the locomotive weighing twenty or thirty tons, with its whole 
train, may be along side each other; and this, too, on each 
side of the wharf at the same time, while in front other 
vessels may be loading or discharging cargoes. 

"For admirable arrangement, I have never seen any- 
thing to compare to it. And it reflects great credit on the 


engineers, who planned it and superintended its construc- 
tion ; on the railroad authorities whose wisdom and liberality 
have done so much to facilitate commerce, and to the con- 
tractors for the admirable execution of the work. 

"Three vessels are lying at the wharf, loading and dis- 
charging cargoes, to wit : 

"Schr. John Clark, Capt Sull, from New York, with 
merchandise. Cargo discharged and loading with Naval 
Stores and wheat for New York. 

"Schr. E. J. Tabbot, Capt. Pegram, from Boston, loaded 
with lime ; return cargo Naval Stores. 

"Schr. George D., Capt. Dill, from Charleston, loaded 
with salt, and to load with Naval Stores for Baltimore. This 
vessel ran, as I am informed, from Charleston to Morehead 
City in about 30 hours. 

"The above vessels are lying at the wharf loading and 
discharging cargoes. 

"A barque of some eight hundred tons is expected here 
tomorrow from Baltimore, chartered to take five thousand 
barrels rosin direct to Liverpool, a porton of the cargo being 
now on the wharf. 

"Schr. Oliver H. Lea is expected here in a day or two, 
with merchandise from New York for western merchants. 

"A freight train arrived this evening with fourteen 
loaded cars, and to load back with merchandise, salt and lime. 
Salt at 90 cents per sack and lime at 85 cents per barrel, from 

"I see a number of good houses going up and the popu- 
lation rapidly increasing; indeed there are few places more 
changed than this since I saw it some twelve months ago. 

"I found your townsman. Gov. Morehead, here, the 
founder of this city, the builder of the wharf and warehouse 
at the eastern end of the railroad. He was giving directions 
and instructions to his workmen, some thirty in number, in 
his usual quiet way. He is evidently gratified with this con- 
summation of his wishes — the connection of the mountains 
and the ocean railway. 

"I shall be deceived if a brilliant future does not await 
this place. 


"I saw other vessels lying in the harbor at a distance ; 
but learned no particulars as to them. If I remain here a 
few days I may write you again."^ 

Here was a man of vision — a man who had some time 
before said to a well-known opponent : "You are a younger 
man than I am, and have not yet learned that in politics, as in 
everything else, it is best always to keep cool and take things 
easy. ^ 

^ Greensboro Patriot, March 25, 1859. 

^ Social Reminiscences of John M. Morehead by Mrs. Mary Bayard Clarke. 
It was about this time that Governor Morehead had his portrait painted in 
1859 by William Garl Broune. Several copies were made by the artist for 
various children and the Governor's Mansion at Raleigh. The one here used 
as frontispiece is in possession of Major John Motley Morehead III, at his 
home, "Blandwood," in Rye, N. Y. It represents the Governor with the charter 
of the North Carolina Central Railroad in his right hand. 

A note at this point may conveniently draw attention to the fact that the 
pseudonym "Carlton" has been discovered in several places, too late for cor- 
rection, as "Carleton." 


Defender of the Union 


The State Senate 


Whig National Convention 


In the middle of October, 1859, like a thunder-bolt out 
of a clear sky, came news of an uprising at Harpers Ferry, 
at the junction of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, on 
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, led by one John Brown, 
a Kansas fanatic, maddened by the long bloody struggle 
in that state between abolition and slave factions, who 
sought to start a violent revolution to free the southern 
slaves. The old Whig and "American" or "Opposition" 
element in North Carolina had become bitter against both 
"Black Republicans" and Democrats alike; while the Demo- 
crats were enraged that this "Opposition" was unable to 
see that there was now no longer any middle ground between 
"Black Republicans" and the Democrats, for any opposition 
to stand on. The "Opposition," as they began to call 
themselves, as opposed to both "Black Republicans" and 
Democrats had a strong voice in Senator John A. Gilmer 
of Guilford county, at Washington, and the more bitter the 
acts of the "Black Republicans" and Democrats became, the 
more incensed the Whig "Opposition" became against both ! 
This October revolutionary episode kindled the flame still 
higher. Even the Raleigh Register, probably leading jour- 
nal of the "Opposition" element, had an editorial on No- 
vember 30, 1859, that was very significant, remarking that 
there was not a powder-mill south of Delaware ; not a 
factory for arms or foundry for cannon south of this 



same Harpers Ferry, and yet Virginia and Kentucky had 
saltpetre mines. With this were warnings to have vokin- 
teers in each county and at least three arsenals should be 
established; and that a Northerner on a Southern street 
should be an object of suspicion. Commercial indepen- 
dence from the north was advocated early in December. 
The execution of John Brown was followed by renewed 
hatred of such books as that by Hinton Helper; and news 
began to arrive of Union meetings in various northern 
centers. Brown, however, had broken as many ties of 
union between north and south in a day nearly as had 
grown by slow accretions since 1776. Like a flame in a 
wheat field, the commercial boycott of the north spread 
over the south. The secession of southern medical 
students in the great medical schools of Philadelphia 
nearly disrupted those bodies in December. Senator Gil- 
mer and others, at Washington, were trying to head off the 
mad frenzy, by a Union party, as the new year 1860 ar- 

While these events were proceeding there was an arrest 
in Greensboro of Rev. Daniel Worth, a Wesleyan Metho- 
dist, and Democratic Abolitionist, who was charged with 
spreading Helper's Impending Crisis and inciting to insur- 
rection, and the trial was with difficulty kept from becoming 
a mob. 

Late in January, 1860, came the news that after thirty- 
nine ballots in the national House of Representatives, a 
"Black Republican" had been chosen speaker, against Rep- 
resentative Smith of North Carolina, "in one of the 
fiercest struggles ever witnessed on the floor of" that body. 
The animus of the fight arose from bitterness of opposition 
to John Sherman of Ohio, who had spoken favorably of 
Helper's Impending Crisis. North Carolina was especially 
bitter against this book in the slave-holding parts of the 
commonwealth, because it was a North Carolina product. 
Hinton Rowan Helper was a native of Mocksville, in what 
is now Davie, but was then Rowan county, in 1829, so that he 
was a young man of but twenty-six years when it was 
issued in 1857. The Republican party used it as a cam- 


paign document and during the first four years nearly 
150,000 were in circulation. It was dedicated to the non- 
slaveholding citizens of the South, of whom there were a 
great many in this general region, beside the Quakers, who 
of course did not have them.' The Moreheads did have 
them, however; yet they were among that large number 
in the South who would have been glad if it could be re 
moved without revolution and danger of uprisings of an 
ignorant uncontrolled race. 

On January 24, 1860, a Whig Opposition meeting was 
held in Greensboro, at which Governor Morehead was 
present; and resolutions were passed condemning the "rule 
or ruin" Democrats, who could have organized the lower 
House at Washington, with a conservative Southern Whig, 
who loved the Union, but preferred to see a "Black Repub- 
lican" to such a man! They applauded Senator John A. 
Gilmer, who joined with such men as Crittenden, Harris, 
Conrad, Clemmens of Tennessee, Etheridge and similar 
patriotic Union leaders, in connection with a late Philadel- 
phia meeting of the Executive Committee. They also 
favored the Opposition Convention at Raleigh for Washing- 
ton's Birthday, next. At this latter gathering. Governor 
Morehead was not present, but this body selected the 
defeated Vice-President William A. Graham, as their first 
choice for the Whig Presidential nomination and praised 
their Congressmen Smith, Gilmer, Vance and Leach for 
their conservative course in the late struggles at Washing- 

1 Helper's book, when, republished, had added to it — what was not in the 
original edition — a "Compend" of recommendations: (Just who was responsible 
for them is not known.) 

"1st. Thorough organization and independent political action on the part 
of non-slaveholding whites of the South. 

"2nd. Ineligibility of slaveholders — never another vote to the trafficker in 
human flesh. 

"3rd. No co-operation with slaveholders in politics — no fellowship with them 
in religion — no affiliation with them in society. 

"4th. No patronage to slaveholding merchants — no guestship in slave- 
waiting hotels — no fees to slaveholding lawyers— no employment of slaveholding 
physicians — no audience to slaveholding parsons. 

"5th. No recognition of pro-slavery men except as ruffians, outlaws and 

It was this addition to the reprint, unknown to many supporters of the 
book, which, in itself, contained no such sentiments, that added fuel to the 
flame created by the John Brown fire-brand. Mrs. Stowe's book — Uncle Tom's 
Cabin — which had been circulating since 1852 — had no such influence upon the 
South, of course, as this book by a North Carolinian, especially after the "Com- 
pend" appeared in it 


A considerable source of irritation, especially in North 
Carolina, was added to this in May, 1860, by a disagreement 
between the railroads of that state and the Postmaster Gen- 
eral on rates for mail carrying, in which all the roads 
refused to carry the mail, except the Wilmington & Weldon. 
the Atlantic and the Western. Thereupon the Post Office 
Department banned those parts of the state, refusing to 
forward their mail. Wagon mail carrying had to be resorted 
to from the nearest roads that did carry. 

During this month, on ^lay 16, 1860, the "Opposition" 
held its national meeting at Baltimore, as the "National 
Constitutional Union Convention." in the old church building 
at the corner of Fayette and North Streets. It was called 
to order by Hon. John J. Crittenden of Kentucky, as chair- 
man of the Executive Committee. Ex-Governor Hunt of 
New York was made President of the Convention ; and the 
delegation from North Carolina was headed by Governor 
John Motley Morehead as delegate-at-large. General 
Coombs of Kentucky, in an amusing skit, expressed the 
attitude of the Convention by offering platforms for Re- 
publicans, Democrats and this "Opposition" to them both: 
"First, then," said he, "for the harmonious Democracy, I 
propose the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions of 1798-99 
— one in favor of excluding slavery from the territories, 
and the other in favor of forcng it into them — [laughter] 
to be adopted unanimously without debate, under the previ- 
ous question, and no questions asked afterwards. 
[Laughter.] For the 'irrepressible conflictionist,' about to 
assemble at Chicago. I suggest the 'Blue Laws' of Connecti- 
cut ; first in reference to the right of a man to kiss his w'ife 
on Sunday — [laughter] and second, in reference to the 
burning of witches ; provided that wives shall have the privi- 
lege to be kissed, and witches to be burned. [Laughter.] 
The third is the Constitution as it is, and the Union under it, 
now and forever. [Immense applause.]" Governor More- 
head's first activity in the Convention was to oppose the unit 
rule and to insist on free discussion. There were ten candi- 
dates in the field on the first ballot, in which, under Governor 
Morehead's leadership, North Carolina cast her full 10 


votes for Graham; but as John Bell of Tennessee had far 
the most votes of any of the ten candidates, and Graham 
was fourth in number [Bell, Houston of Texas, Everett and 
Graham], while on the second ballott Bell absorbed many of 
the other votes, only Houston and Graham showing any in- 
crease at all, Arkansas led in transferring her vote to Bell, 
and was followed by Mississippi, Massachusetts, North 
Carolina, Virginia and the rest to make it unanimous. In 
the presentation of Vice-Presidential candidates Governor 
Morehead, following Missouri, Tennessee and New York, 
announced North Carolina as for Edward Everett. The 
Bell and Everett ticket was the choice of the Convention and 
they were announced as "The only National Candidates for 
President and Vice-President in the United States." 

With the echoes of the Baltimore Convention scarcely 
silent, the contrasting scenes of a May Day celebration on 
]\Iay 5, 1860, were being enacted in Greensboro by the 
students of Edgeworth Seminary. Miss Mary Corinna 
Morehead, the Governor's daughter, was to be crowned 
Queen at the throne erected in the grove of the school 
grounds. It was at 5.30 P. M., escorted by fourteen Maids 
of Honor, ten Floras, with flowers to scatter in her path, a 
Scepter and Crown Bearer, the Queen, with Lady Hope and 
the Archbishop on either side, approached with her two 
First Maids of Honor, ten Pages and the Guilford Grays. 
The beautiful ceremony of coronation was followed by the 
poetical speech of the Queen and her presentation of a flag 
to the Guilford Grays : 

*Tn the name of my subjects, the fair donors of Edge- 
worth, I present this banner to the Guilford Grays. Fain 
would we have it a banner of peace, and have inscribed upon 
its graceful folds 'Peace on earth and good will to men;' 
for our womanly nature shrinks from the horrors of war 
and bloodshed. But we have placed upon it 'the oak' — fit 
emblem of the firm, heroic spirits over which it is to float. 
Strength, energ)' and decision mark the character of the 
sons of Guilford, whose noble sires have taught their sons 
to know hut one fear — the fear of doing wrong. 

"Proudly in days past have the banners of our country 


waved over yon Battle-field, where our fathers fought for 
freedom from a tyrant's power. Their motto, 'Union is 
strength,' and we their daughters would have this our banner 
unfurled only in the same noble cause, and quivering through 
our soft Southern breezes, echo the same glorious theme, 
Union ! Union ! !" 

These Grays were organized but a few months before 
when Southern and Northern fanatics were threatening the 
Union. Ensign Gorrell in his speech recalled the Brown 
raid and retaliatory acts of the South that called them into 
being and the present hope that it had all subsided.' 

The growing crisis in both State and national affairs 
made the districts and counties pick out their strong men 
for the next Assembly, In the 36th Senatorial district of 
North Carolina — that of Governor Morehead, he himself, 
was put up for the State Senate and in August elected easily 
as a "Unionist." Again, however, the Democrats had a 
majority of 12 in the Senate and 10 in the House, the 
"Unionists" numbering 19 in the former and 55 in the latter. 
Governor Morehead, as a Unionist, like the rest of his 
party, saw no reason why any man, with the requisite num- 
ber of votes, should not be inaugurated President, without 
any danger to any institution protected by the Constitution, 
be he even the "Black Republican" candidate, Abraham Lin- 
coln. They had no fears for the Constitution even under 
him ; so that they held that the onus would rest on whomso- 
ever first took steps of revolution or secession, as Democrats 
were so commonly threatening, in case the "Black Repub- 
lican" candidate should be elected. This was the national 
meaning of Governor Morehead's election to the State Sen- 
ate ; but, there was also a state meaning to it ; for he and his 
followers, who had secured all but twenty-eight miles of 
the trans-national Piedmont line — the Greensboro-Leaks- 
ville link, had no notion of considering the outcome of the 
railway battles of the last Assembly as final. 

The breaking up of political families now extended to the 
Democracy as well as the Whigs. The autumn visit of 

1 Greensboro Patriot, May 18, 1860. 


Stephen A. Douglas to Raleigh brought it out in North 
Carolina vividly. The Raleigh Standard, Senator Cling- 
man and Governor Ellis espoused the cause of the ''Little 
Giant," while Weldon N. Edwards, "the political executor 
of Nathaniel Macon" was so against Douglas that he said 
he would prefer the election of Lincoln! Then there was 
the Breckenridge elector of the Raleigh district, Air. 
Venable, who joined his own wing of the party in declaring 
for a dissolution of the Union, if the "Black Republican" 
from Illinois were elected. The news of this brought a 
significant comment from the Bell and Everett leading North 
Carolina organ, the Raleigh Register, when it said that if 
a choice between the two, Douglas and Lincoln, were com- 
pulsory, it would unhesitatingly be for "The Little Giant." 

The "Opposition" or "Unionist" candidate for Governor 
reduced his opponent's majority to about half of that of 
Governor Bragg; which shows the Unionist strength in 
North Carolina at this critical period ; for a gubernatorial 
majority of but 6093 in a vote of 112,702 for the whole state 
— 59,396 Democrat and 53,303 Unionist — is a remarkable 
Unionist showing. And Guilford county led all the rest in a 
majority of 2137 to 457, among others with largest ma- 
jorities being Iredell, Wilkes, Stanly, Randolph and Beau- 
fort counties. By the accompanying map it will be seen 
that, in a general way, the Unionist counties were a great 
block central and westward from and including Raleigh, 
with another block generally from Newbern northeastwardly. 
Many counties on both sides, however, were close. In a gen- 
eral way, also, the Democrats had the great eastern central 
block on both sides of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad 
and the Roanoke valley — the regions of great plantations 
and large slave-holdings. 

Between this date and the November national election, 
the fear of the "Black Republican" success increased, and 
a consequent increase of disunion expression and actual 
preparation by the organization of "Minute Men." "Al- 
ready the effects of disunion threats are manifesting them- 
selves," says the Raleigh Register of November 14, 1860. 
"Negroes have gone down 30 per cent, and soon other prop- 


erty will begin to depreciate. And for what? — a miserable 
abstraction. Should an attempt be made to execute these 
threats, men now wealthy will be reduced to poverty." 
The national election confirmed their worst fears, although 
the Raleigh Standard, the Breckenridge leader in a Breck- 
enridge State, was for accepting the result lawfully. The 
Douglas ticket had but little support in North Carolina and 
there was but little change in totals from those of the 
August gubernatorial vote ; a few counties changed, by slight 
vote, to Bell, but Raleigh's county changed to Breckenridge, 
while the counties, in many cases were so close, that the 
totals for the state were not greatly different from the 
August gubernatorial results. Therefore, although North 
Carolina went for Breckenridge and Lane, her leading 
Democratic editor being for lawful acceptance of the result, 
it can readily be seen that this was a Unionist state — at this 
moment. The Raleigh Register charged South Carolina 
with a purpose to secede in order that, Georgia following, 
the reduced Southern representation in Congress would 
leave the "Black Republicans" in control and forced to do 
something that w^ould drive the rest of the South along with 
those two States ! For the whole North above New Jersey, 
Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri went overwhelmingly 
for Lincoln, carrying the country almost two to one. 

This was the situation on November 19, 1860, when the 
Assembly met in the capitol at Raleigh and Ex-Governor, 
now Senator Morehead, took his seat in the north Senate 
Chamber. The whole South was in a state of convulsion, 
financially, politically, industrially, educationally — a crisis 
even before secession was actually begun. Senator John 
Motley Morehead was trying to keep his head and thereby 
aid the state in doing the same thing. He presented two 
bills in an ordinary way as though nothing had happened. 
He was put on the Committees on Internal Improvement, 
Education, and Privileges and Elections; and yet Governor 
Ellis' message was essentially a secessionist one, and the 
Clerk of the House of Commons had even modified the oath 
of ofiice of members in that direction. Governor Ellis 
recommended both a State Convention and a Southern Con- 

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ference — on the basis of "in the Union if possible, out of it 
if necessary." Union meetings were held in various parts 
of the State, but it was December 7th, before a noticeable 
ebullition occurred in the Senate, when Senator Turner of 
Orange, made a striking speech in which he said: "The 
people of North Carolina are not ready for disunion; nor 
are they ready to be chained to the car of South Carolina and 
be dragged out of the Union into discord and civil war. 
Senators will find that the Union men of North Carolina 
will take a firm, fixed, immovable stand for the Union of the 
States, and the Constitutional rights of each of the States, 
and no power can drive them from it, short of the bayonet 
and sword." 

It was on Thursday, December 13, 1860, that Governor 
Morehead first made himself felt in a speech on Senator 
Turner's amendment to a resolution regarding a conference 
with South Carolina. "Mr. Morehead addressed the Senate 
at some length in an able and eloquent manner," says the 
Register reporter. "He said that he opposed this confer- 
ence with South Carolina, because she did not want to confer 
with any State; that if she wishes to go out of the Union, 
let her go; but when she wishes a conference with us, and 
she respectfvilly asks a conference, then we will confer with 
her. He thought that North Carolina's being so alarmed 
about a dissolution of the Union would destroy all the moral 
effect of the secession of the State of South Carolina. 
He took a strong ground against the right of a state to secede 
from the Union, though he acknowledged an inherent right 
of revolution in all men and all governments; but if a state 
did secede, there was no provision in the Constitution for 
forcing her into the Union, because such an event was not 
contemplated by the f ramers of that instrument. He thought 
the Union could yet be saved. There was already a return- 
ing sense of justice in the Northern States." This address 
was answered by Senator Brown, who, in return, was replied 
to by the Guilford county Senator. The resolutions were 
abandoned the next day. 

Events came swift and fast as the new year, 1861, 
opened. The United States ports at Charleston and even 


below Wilmington were among the first objects of attack. 
By January 14, 1861, the Senate passed resolutions asking 
the President to withdraw troops from South Atlantic states 
before a collision, in order that efforts might be made to 
restore peace by conference ; and these were about to appoint 
commissioners to go to the President, when adjournment 
occurred. In the midst of such a situation the City of 
jMorehead incorporation bill was passed by the Senate; 
and on the 15th, as a member of the Committee on Federal 
Affairs, Senator Morehead recommended amendment to 
the national constitution on fugitive slaves; and on the 17th 
he made an extended eloquent appeal for the Union, in con- 
nection with discussion of a call for a State Convention; 
and the bill passed both houses that day. 

On January 24th, submissions from Virginia and Alabama 
having been referred to the Committee on Federal Relations, 
that body recommended appoinment of Commissioners to 
meet similar ones from other states at Washington on Feb- 
ruary 4, 1861, and also similar ones to a like Southern meet- 
ing at Montgomery, Alabama, on the same date. Senator 
Morehead was one of only nine who voted against it. 
While they were discussing it, the House resolutions on the 
same line, but more complete, were received and discussed. 
In these resolutions. Commissioners were named, those to 
Washington being Hons. John AI. Morehead, Daniel M. 
Barringer, Chief Justice Thomas Ruffin, Ex-Governor David 
S. Reid and George Davis, Esq. Those to Alabama were 
Ex-Governor Swain, M. W. Ransom and J. L. Bridgers. 
These resolutions were concurred in, the meeting being set 
for February 4, 1861, at Washington, with Senator More- 
head as Chairman of the Washington Commissioners. 

And then, on January 31, 1861, came the ghost of the 
Greensboro and Danville road asking to be brought to life! 
Senator Barringer moved it as a substitute for another bill, 
while Senator Bledsoe tried to make it — no doubt in a 
humorous sense — from "The Shops [at Greensboro] to 
Leaksville." Senator Thomas, once opposed, now favored 
the Danville link. Senator Dobson favored it because it 
asked no money from the State. Then Senator Bledsoe said 


Senator Morehead had himself abandoned it, and referred 
to the matter of 1849 ; whereupon Governor ]\Iorehead said 
he had never deserted the Danville connection. He then 
paid his respects to Senator Bledsoe and the county of Wake, 
whom the Senator said was opposed to it. "Take out of the 
county of Wake the money which the State of North Caro- 
lina had thrown into it, and it would soon be the most mag- 
nificently insolvent county to be found anywhere, either in 
or out of the State." Whereupon he advocated the Danville 
connection with great ability, and the bill passed second 
reading 23 to 17. On Friday, February 1, 1861, Senator 
Barringer from committee introduced a bill for a Greensboro 
and Dan River Railroad, and it passed first reading. This 
was the last day Senator Morehead was present, as the As- 
sembly had given him the Peace mission to the national 

While he was gone, however, a more or less continuous 
fight was on, by means of the Milton & Yancyville Junction 
Railroad bill, to get and defeat a Danville connection, on the 
principle that it would be as "sweet" by any "name." On 
February 15, 1861, however, the Senate received from the 
House a bill to incorporate The Greensboro and Leaksville 
Railroad; and it passed third reading on the 16th, and 
granted a charter. 

Also while he was away the Governor Swain commission 
to the Alabama Convention at Montgomery, Alabama, re- 
turned and reported on February 11, 1861, that on their 
arrival the Convention had adjourned, so they communicated 
with the Southern Congress and found that a decided mi- 
nority only were in favor of reconstruction; that a "Pro- 
visional Government of the Confederate States of America" 
was adopted on the 8th and that General Jefterson Davis of 
Mississippi was elected President on the 9th, and that North 
Carolina was invited to join them. The Assembly adjourned 
on the 25th of February, 1861, awaiting a report from Sena- 
tor Morehead and his fellow Peace Commissioners from 
the national capital, who were having no such brief session 
as those to Alabama. 


The Peace Conference 
Governor Morehead's Last Efforts 


Preserve the Union 

' 4th February, 1861 

Just why was North CaroHna attempting to make peace 
by sending Commissioners both to Washington and Alont- 
gomery, and why was Governor Morehead at the head of 
the one and Governor Swain of the other? Both were 
western men and both strong Union men and not excelled 
in influence by any other men in the state. They best repre- 
sented the commonwealth. The census of 1860 shows how 
that commonwealth was composed. Guilford county, Gov- 
ernor Morehead's home, next to the county containing 
Raleigh, had the greatest white population in the state, 
15,738, the county below her coming next with 14,968 and 
the next nearest being in the 13,000s in that part of the state. 
She had about one-fifth that number of slaves, namely, 
3625, and but 693 free negroes. In total population — both 
white and negro, 20,056 — Raleigh's county again stood first, 
while Granville county, next north, in the Roanoke valley, 
with over one-half colored, came second — 23,396, making 
Guilford third in total population. Halifax county, also on 
the Roanoke, with over two-thirds colored and far the great- 
est number of free negroes — 2450 — in all counties of the 
state, was fourth in total population. Granville, with 11,085 
slaves, was the greatest slave county in North Carolina, 
although those other lower Roanoke counties, Edgecombe, 
Halifax, Warren and Raleigh's and Wilmington counties 
came next in the 10,000s. No county in the state but had 
slaves, Watauga having the fewest, 104. The total was 



331,081 slaves, while the total free negroes was so great as 
30,097. This latter added to the 631,489 white population 
made the free population 661,586 — almost exactly twice the 
slave population. On the other hand, the negro population 
— both slave and free — were over half of the white or about 
one-third the total population. Seven counties had above 
1000 free colored people: about half of the Pasquotank 
county negroes were free, the greatest proportion where 
there was a large colored population. Watauga had 82 free 
out of her 104 negroes ; and but one county, Haywood, had 
no free negroes, and but one other with so small a number 
as 2 — Madison county — all mountain counties. As Wake, 
the capital's county, was generally looked upon as some- 
what neutral, an almost North Carolina District-of-Colum- 
bia, in a sense. Governor Morehead, from the largest white 
inhabited county in the state and from the dominant white 
district of the commonwealth very properly headed the 
Peace Commission designed to conciliate the north ; while 
Governor Swain, also of the west, but of most excellent 
diplomatic qualities and consequently highly regarded by 
the east, was sent on the even more hopeless mission to 

This latter was in response to the Alabama Convention's 
invitation to all states below Mason-Dixon line to confer 
on best measures on February 4, 1861. They were neither 
delegates to the Confederate Provisional Congress nor to the 
Alabama Legislature. The Convention had adjourned sine 
die, and no other delegates seemed to have thought it neces- 
sary to come ; so on the third day, they concluded to submit 
the North Carolina sentiments to the Congress, which there- 
upon invited them to do so, but also invited North Carolina 
to join the nev/ Confederate government, giving them a copy 
of the Constitution when it was adopted on the 8th instant. 
They remained until after President Davis was chosen 
on the 9th and made their report on the 11th — a mission 
all in vain. 

Meanwhile, likewise, on Monday, February 4, 1861, at 
Virginia's invitation, delegates from eleven states — five 
south of the Mason-Dixon line (Delaware, Maryland, Vir- 


ginia, Kentucky and North Carolina) and six north of that 
line (New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Penn- 
sylvania, Ohio and Indiana) met at Willard's Hall in Wash- 
ington. Virginia's aims were based upon an adjustment, 
along the lines of the Crittenden Resolution, by amendment 
to the national constitution, limiting slave territory, but pro- 
tecting slave property in transit. To such Whigs as Gover- 
nor jNIorehead it boded no good that Ex-President Tyler 
headed the Virginia delegation. Curiously enough there 
were two Ex-Governors Morehead in the Conference, 
cousins, too, one from Kentucky, Charles S., and the other 
from North Carolina ; and the former called the conference 
to order. On the second day Governor J. M. Alorehead 
was put on the Credentials Committee, and witnessed the 
man he had many times called a Whig traitor, elevated to 
the presiding officer's chair, Ex-President John Tyler. By 
this time Vermont, Connecticut and New York were present 
and Massachusetts announced as on the way, as was Ten- 
nessee. Iowa also joined, and New York had one delegate 
with more on the way, and Illinois was coming. On the 
7th the Conference called on President Buchanan and also 
appointed a committee to formulate measures. 

Among the delegates were such men as Salmon P. Chase, 
George S. Boutwell, Thomas Ewing, David Dudley Field, 
Reverdy Johnson, Wm. M. IMeredith, Thomas Ruffin, David 
Wilmot, and others. Death marred the first days in the 
passing of temporary Chairman Wright of Ohio. Other 
delegates were equally well-known to their generation, but, 
in some cases, not so well to succeeding ones. Delegates 
had varied powers — some were bound by Legislatures, some 
merely executive appointees. The Virginia invitations had 
the nature of an ultimatum to the free states and the ma- 
jority report tended to even anticipate it; but the minority 
report favored the Crittenden Kentucky plan of a Constitu- 
tional Convention for amendment on these questions — let 
the Convention settle it. This was proposed in the face of 
the fact that seven states had seceded and organized a new 
government. On Monday, the 18th of February, 1861, the 
beginning of the third week, Mr. Boutwell of Massachusetts, 


while holding the general position that Governor Morehead 
of North Carolina held as to constitution and union, plainly 
announced the northern doctrine that, if a state attempted to 
secede, the whole force of the United States would be 
used to prevent it, and "we shall march our armies to the 
Gulf of Mexico, or you will march yours to the Great Lakes. 
There can be no peaceful separation." This was the turn- 
ing point in the Conference and it was in this connection 
on the following day that Governor Morehead of North 
Carolina first spoke and as a peace-maker between those 
who did and those who did not want debate limited. 

'T regret extremely," said Governor Morehead (N. C), 
"to hear talk of sides in this Conference. I came here to act 
for the Union — the whole Union. I recognize no sides — 
no party. If any come here for a different purpose I do not 
wish to act with them ; they are wrong. I hope from my 
heart that we can all yet live together in peace ; but jf we are 
to do so we must act, and act speedily."' Chief Justice 
Ruffin expressed similar sentiments with great feeling: 
"I was born before the present Constitution was adopted. 
May God grant that I do not outlive it. I cannot address 
you on this subject without manifesting a feeling which fills 
my heart." He wanted the popular voice at once, for 
unless it helped North Carolina she would "be drawn into 
that mad career of open defiance, which is now opening so 
widely against the government." 

While a detailed account of this most interesting Con- 
ference is not possible here, some illustrative expressions 
will show its unique place in the events of Governor More- 
head's life. "I regard the present course of New England 
as very unfair," said Mr. Rives of Virginia. "She is her- 
self responsible for the existence of slavery — she is our 
fiercest opponent; and yet New Jersey and Pennsylvania, 
who have not this responsibility, have always stood by the 
South, and I believe they always will." "The gentleman 
from Massachusetts may congratulate himself that there 
are no negroes [slaves] in that commonwealth." "Say, 

^Proceedings, p. 113. 


and let it be said in the Constitution, that you will not in- 
terfere with slavery in the District, or in the States, or in 
the Territories. Permit the free transit of our slaves from 
one State to another, and in the language of the patriarch, 
'let there be peace between you and me'." 

The effort of Governor Wickliffe of Kentucky to with- 
draw the resolution which precipitated this storm, was pre- 
vented by Governor Morehead (N. C.) and made regular 
order for the next day. Then David Dudley Field addressed 
them, holding that the Fathers would not put slavery guar- 
antees more definitely into the Constitution than they now 
were, nor would he. "Not to save the Union?" asked Gov- 
ernor Morehead (N. C). "No, Sir! No!" was the reply. 
"Then you will let the Union slide?" again interjected the 
North Carolina leader, "No, never!" said the New York 
jurist. "I would let slavery slide and save the Union. 
Greater things than this have been done. This year has 
seen slavery abolished in all the Russias." He then stated 
the position of such Southern States as were not yet out of 
the Union : "If you will support our amendments, we will 
try to induce the seceded States to return to the Union. 
We rather think we can induce them to return ; but if we 
cannot, then we will go with them." He closed elocjuently 
with Longfellow's "O Ship of State!" 

On the 23rd, after Mr. Logan of Illinois had said, in 
discussion of an Iowa proposal, "We should act as if the 
fate of a great nation depended on our action," Governor 
Morehead (N. C.) thought it time for him to speak: "I thank 
God I hear a voice such as I have just heard from that sec- 
tion of the country! I have been a member of a recent 
Legislature of North Carolina, in which there was a majority 
of secessionists. I have been jeered at in that body for the 
opinions I have expressed, for I told those gentlemen re- 
peatedly that if we could once get the ear of the North, the 
North would do us justice. They pointed me to the raid of 
John Brown — to the meeting in Boston, where the gallows 
of John Brown was carried with solemn ceremonies into 
the Cradle of Liberty. They pointed me to the man who 
presided over that meeting, since elevated to the high and 


honorable position of Governor of Massachusetts. Not- 
withstanding all this, I have replied that the masses of the 
northern people would deal fairly by us. I have told these 
secessionists to their teeth that Lincoln was properly elected 
under the Constitution, and he ought to be inaugurated. 
Their reply was 'Kansas, and the John Brown raid!' 

"Now, I ask this Conference to look for one moment 
at the efifect of the amendment which is proposed. It with- 
draws all constitutional protection from us north of 
36° 30'. Adopt it, and what has Massachusetts to do but 
to import her foreigners into the country south, and take 
possession of it. New York will back her, and we shall be 
swept from the face of the earth. 

"If the gentleman from New York means to say that 
the nation can put its foot on the neck of the States and 
crush them into submission, let him go into Virginia and 
join another John Brown raid. Virginia will treat him as 
she did John Brown. No! the gentleman has not studied 
the motto of the Union. There is the E pluribus as well as 
the unum. If the new President proposes to come down to 
the South and conquer us, he will find that the whole temple 
shall fall. We can be crushed, perhaps, but conquered, 

Eight states were out of the Union by this time. Presi- 
dent Tyler was hopeful of bringing them back. Governor 
Morehead again spoke on the beginning of the fourth week, 
the 25th, on the property status of slaves internationally. 
Indeed he spoke briefly several times in moulding the pro- 
posed constitutional amendment, as he also did on the 26th. 
On the latter day, he spoke on a proposed mode of freeing 
fugitive slaves: "We know," said he, "from past experience 
what the abolitionists of the free states would do under such 
a provision as this in the Constitution. [He was qualify- 
ing it by keeping the freed negroes in the state where 
owned.] There will be an underground railroad line along 
every principal route of travel. There will be depots all 
along these lines. Canoes will be furnished to ferry negroes 
over the Potomac and Ohio. John Brown & Co. will stand 
ready to kill the master the very moment he crosses the 


line in pursuit of his slave. What ofificer at the North will 
dare to arrest the slave when John Brown pikes are stacked 
up in every little village? If arrested, there will be organi- 
zations formed to rescue him, and you may as well let the 
'nigger' go free at once. You are opening up the greatest 
scheme of emancipation ever devised." His amendment 
was agreed to, 17 to 3. On the same day he opposed an 
amendment of Mr. Fields which practically acknowledged 
a right of secession under certain conditions, even though 
Mr. Field no doubt considered them impossible conditions. 
"I should regret extremely," said Governor Morehead, "to 
have this amendment adopted, and to have the Constitution 
made practically to assert a right of secession. I have 
denied that right always in my State, in public and in 
private. I am aware that on this point I differ from the 
general sentiment of the South, and I hold there is no right 
of secession, and on the part of the General Government no 
right of coercion. I claim that a State has no right to 
secede, because that right is not found in the Constitution, 
and the theory of the Constitution is against it." The 
amendment was rejected 11 to 10. With the majority re- 
port so nearly finished, Ex-Governor Reid of North Carolina 
expressed his purpose not to agree to them, whereupon Chief 
Justice Ruffin and Governor Morehead (N. C.) disagreed 
with him: "I came here," said the latter, "to try to save 
the Union. I have labored hard to that end. I hope and 
believe the report of the majority, if adopted, will save the 
Union. I wish to carry these propositions before the people. 
I believe that the people of North Carolina and of the Union 
will adopt them. Give us an opportunity to appeal to the 
generosity of the people of the whole Union. Certainly no 
Southern man can object to submitting these propositions to 
the popular vote." 

When the vote on sections was taken, seriatim, Chief Jus- 
tice Ruffin and Governor Morehead dissented from their 
State's vote against Section 1. The vote stood 11 States 
against 8 for, with Indiana declining to vote at all — and 
nearly every State having one or more dissenters. The 
vote was accompanied by considerable excitement, because 


it looked as if the whole program was to fall; but a motion 
to reconsider was secured ; and on the 27th it was passed by 
9 to 8, with North Carolina among the latter, and New York 
divided because of the absence of Mr. Field. Thereupon 
the whole seven sections were successively adopted with 
even better majorities. In two other cases Chief Justice 
Ruffin and Governor Morehead (N. C.) dissented from their 
State's vote ; and on but sections 3 and 4 did North Caro- 
lina's vote go to the affirmative. Twenty-one States were 
present at this last voting — all states north of and including 
North Carolina, Tennessee and Missouri, including Kan- 
sas and Iowa, and up to Michigan and Wisconsin, 
Against Chief Justice Ruffin of Graham and Governor 
Morehead of Greensboro in North Carolina's delegation 
were George Davis of Wilmington, Governor Reid of Rock- 
ingham county, and D. M. Barringer of Raleigh. 

On the same day, President Tyler presented the proposed 
amendment as "Article XIII" to Congress, and the Senate 
rejected it promptly by a vote of 28 to 7. It was too late. 
The oath of office of President Lincoln gave him no alterna- 
tive but to preserve the Constitution of the United States at 
all costs, and the action of South Carolina and similar States 
left but one course to pursue. Political power, by the elec- 
tion, had passed from the South to the North for the first 
time, practically. A large element — a growing element in 
the North had been and still were ignoring the Consti- 
tution and its recognition of slave property ; and the ex- 
treme part of that element was even saying that that instru- 
ment was "a covenant with hell." These elements elected 
President Lincoln, who was bound by oath to preserve that 
Constitution. Great elements of the South stood where 
Lincoln stood, but the extreme element saw him repre- 
senting the extreme element in the North and also 
ignored the Constitution. Every move that had touched 
slave property was a violation of the Constitution as much 
as secession was — a point that is liable to be overlooked. Be- 
fore an avowed, wide-spread purpose in the North to break 
slavery, and with no care to do it by constitutional methods, 
it was natural that an equally extreme purpose should arise 


and spread widely in the South to ignore the Constitution 
also. With two great elements, North and South, fanatical 
in their purpose to overturn the Constitution, it could not 
but result in civil war to preserve that Constitution, by those 
who would follow President Lincoln. By the grim humor 
of events, the Abolitionist element, who declared the Con- 
stitution "a covenant with hell" and sought to break it, now 
were following President Lincoln in preserving that "cove- 
nant with hell !" No wonder the Secessionists could not do 
otherwise than identify the President with them and act 
accordingly. It is true that when the Abolitionists found 
just what Mr. Lincoln's purpose was, namely, to preserve 
the Constitution, without regard to slavery, and did so for 
nearly three bloody years, they were inflamed against him 
for it, but followed him because he- was marching against 
slave-holders. Had the slave-holders obeyed the Constitution 
he would have found his greatest protection in that same 
"Black Republican" President, but because he sought to 
break it by secession, he forced the President to be his 
enemy, so long as the Constitution was threatened. It will 
be seen, therefore, that Governor Morehead even yet had 
the same attitude, as Mr. Lincoln, except that, Lincoln, like 
Washington and Jackson believed that the Constitution, like 
any government that is a real one, had the power of self- 
preservation and coercion. 

This, however, leaves untouched the question of the con- 
flict of moral and political movements, and the power of 
new wine to break old bottles. This was a realm into which 
Governor Morehead did not enter apparently. His was the 
realm of practical statesmanship; not that of the political 
or moral philosopher. He was a man of great vision, but 
it was not in this field — so there is no occasion for this narra- 
tive to enter it. 

The great Whig leader arrived home at Greensboro on 
March 2nd, just two days before President Lincoln's in- 

"The Peace Congress having finished their labors," said 
the Greensboro Patriot of Thursday, March 7, 1861, "and 
having adjourned, Governor Morehead reached home by the 


Express train on last Saturday evening. He found waiting 
at the Station an anxious crowd, desiring to know what had 
been done, and what was the prospect for peace. In order 
to impart this information in the most satisfactory manner 
to all, Gov. Morehead repaired at once to the Court House, 
which was in a short time nearly filled. Having been travel- 
ling all day, the Governor declined making a speech, but 
taking a seat on the bench where all could see and hear, he 
proceeded in a conversational way to detail briefly what had 
taken place in the Peace Conference. It was composed, he 
said, of some of the most distingushed men of the nation. 
Many of them quite old and feeble; and who had retired 
from public life. A committee of one from each state was 
appointed at the beginning of their session to prepare busi- 
ness. Hon. Thomas Ruffin was on this committee from 
North Carolina. In this committee, the Governor said, 
there was much able debating. The Governor spoke in the 
highest terms of Mr. Ruffin [Chief Justice] ; that he exerted 
a great, if not a greater influence than any other member 
of the Conference; that he did not see how they could have 
got along without Judge Rufiin. That the Conference was 
composed of a great many distinguished lawyers, to all of 
whom Mr. Ruffin was known by reputation, having served 
so long as Chief Justice of our Supreme Court. The Gov- 
ernor said, that when they first met, New York nor Massa- 
chusetts were represented, and that everything went on quite 
harmoniously until the delegates from those States took their 
seats ; that as soon as the members from New York and 
Massachusetts came, they commenced throwing fire-brands 
among them. New York had nine delegates, five of whom 
seemed determined to oppose all compromise, but that the 
other four were disposed to bring about an adjustment. 
That the four Union delegates dared the other five to submit 
the matter to the people of New York, and they would be 
voted down by 100,000 majority. When the final voting 
came on, the vote of New York was not cast either way, as 
one of the no-compromise delegates, for some cause or other, 
was not present, which made a tie, and so the vote of the 
State was not cast. 


"Rhode Island, said the Governor, stood by the South 
from the beginning. So did New Jersey. The delegates 
from Ohio, headed by Thomas Ewing, were very conserva- 
tive and did all they could to bring about an adjustment. 
That the vote of North Carolina was cast against the propo- 
sitions as passed, but that Mr. Ruffin and himself voted for 
them. The Governor thinks that the South should be satis- 
fied with the plan as adopted, and that it is everything we 
had any reason to hope for. He did not think that the 
present Congress, as the time was so short, and as so much 
bad feeling had been gotten up, would be able to 
carry the plan through. The Governor seemed quite san- 
guine that time would bring all things right, but that if 
nothing could be done, that the border states, together with 
the border free states, would form a new Constitution for 
themselves, and take possession of the United States. That 
they would never go out of the Union, but would stay in 
the Union, hold to the capitol and Mount Vernon, and let 
the New England states slough off. He said a great deal 
more, but . . . we will add no more." 

The Commissioners made their report and were dis- 
charged. On March 5, 1861, the next day after President 
Lincoln's inauguration. Governor Morehead wrote Chief 
Justice Ruffin as follows : "I was at Raleigh yesterday and 
found our friends Badger and Moore [B. F.], Ryan and 
others well pleased with our resolutions. They said the 
secessionists were trying to make dissatisfaction with the 
1st Section — professing not to be able to understand it — 
and particularly they seemed not to understand — according 

to the course of the common law.' They all put the proper 

construction on it — but to put that quibble to rest we 

came to the conclusion that it would be as well for someone 
to write you a letter on the subject, and get your reply and 

publish it. 1 drop you this line, that you may have the 

subject under consideration, and the reply ready and if no 
application is made for an explanation I would respectfully 
suggest that you prepare such an article for publication with 
or without your name as you prefer. Our resolutions give 
general satisfaction, but I understand our colleagues rep re- 


sent them as a rickety affair, and Brother Davis, I am in- 
formed, made a strong speech against them at Wilmington 

which was rapturously received by not unwilling ears. 1 

am exceedingly anxious to see the inaugural. I fear its 
effect very much. Chase is in the Cabinet, it is said, if so 
there is danger. Nothing certain in Raleigh when I left 
last evening, but it was said that Seward, Bates, Blair, 
Wells, Chase, Cameron and Montgomery [Blair] are the 
Cabinet. If so, the South refused seats in it I expect; 
and it was said the inaugural would demand the return 
of all property seized, the collection of duties, etc., etc. 

If so, I fear all hope is gone but let us keep cool and 

all may come right yet. P. S. — I go to Charlotte 
by the 2 o'clock train today, where I may get mobbed, 
but I shall risk it; and if I am, you must come up 
and share the Honors with me. Charlotte is a young 

' The Papers of Thomas Ruffin, Vol. 3, p. 137. Long dashes indicate 



The Confederate Provisional Congress 

July, 1861 — February, 1862 

While Governor Morehead was still in Washington on 
the last day of February, 1861, North Carolina voted on 
whether to call a Convention. His own county, Guilford, 
had gone 2771 to 113 against it; and the three delegates 
elected were all Union men, one being the Governor's 
brother. No other county approached it except Randolph, 
the next south of it, with 2466 to 45. Not counting Davie, 
the returns of which were not in, thirty-five counties were 
against a Convention and forty-eight for it, with a somewhat 
similar territory to that of the recent election, but with some 
changes. The matter was not settled by counties, however, 
but by votes, and while 48 counties voted 46,409 for a Con- 
vention, 35 counties were able to get what they wanted, 
namely, no convention by 46,603 votes, some of which were 
from all counties. The smallest number of votes against, 
in any one county, was 17 in Edgecombe; while the smallest 
for it, in any one county, was 34 in Yadkin. This meant 
that, by the small margin of but 194, with Davie not counted, 
the State of North Carolina saw no cause to consider 
a danger to the Union — at that time, February 28, 1861. 
Those counties, however, that were overwhelmingly for 
action were Buncombe, Cleveland, Duplin, Edgecombe, 
Franklin, Gaston, Halifax, Mecklenburg, Nash, New 
Hanover, Wayne, Warren, Rutherford, Person, Onslow, 
Lincoln, Jones, Jackson, Hyde, Granville, and a few others 
— chiefly the Charlotte region intimately associated with 
South Carolina, as also the W^ilmington region, with some 
of the Roanoke valley. 

During this month of March, 1861, the Guilford Grays 



celebrated their first anniversary and that of the eighty-fifth 
of the Battle of Guilford Court House, and they were joined 
by the Orange Guards, the Danville Grays, and the Rowan 
Rifle Guards, which was a notable affair and a significant 
one, for these were from "No Convention" counties. Still 
no one knew what a day would bring forth, and the seces- 
sionist elements were even then having a convention at 
Goldsboro, while in almost every county either Unionists 
or Disunionists were holding meetings. The Union dele- 
gates elected, in case a convention was called, were so much 
in the majority, that the Warrenton News thought that, if 
the vote had been plainly on "Secession" or "No Secession," 
it would have been still more overwhelmingly for the latter. 
And while the Confederation was grownig, a songster in the 
Fayetteville Observer was carrolling "Dixie" with — 

"I'm glad I'm not in de land ob cotton; 
Old times dar, am all forgotten ; 

Let us stay ! Let us stay in North Caroline ; 
In Carolina I was born, 
The land of Backer, Pine and Corn ; 

Let us stay ! Let us stay in North Caroline — 
We'll cling to North Callina — Hooray! Hooray! 
Old Rip's the land on which we'll stand, 
To live and die like freemen : 
Away I Away ! we'll live and die like freemen, 
Away ! Away ! we'll live and die like freemen. 

"That glorious spunk is still alive, 
That bore us out in seventy-five ; 

Let us stay! Let us stay in North Caroline; 
The Cotton boasters still may shout. 
Their mammy's do not know they are out. 
Let us stay ! Let us stay in North Caroline — 
We'll cling to North Callina — Hooray! Hooray! 
Old Rip's the land, &c. 

"Our gallant sons will fight and bleed, 
We'll beard 'Old Abe,' we won't secede; 

Let us stay ! Let us stay in North Caroline. 
The coward flies when danger's near, 
But call the roll you'll find us 'here.' 

Let us stay ! Let us stay in North Caroline — 
We'll cling to North Callina — Hooray ! Hooray ! 
Old Rip's the land, &c. 


"We'll force Old Abram to do right, 
By standing firm, but not by flight. 

Let us stay ! Let us stay in North Caroline. 
But when the die is cast — our fate. 
Our destiny is with our State. 

We will stay ! We will stay in North Caroline — 
We'll cling to North Callina — Hooray! Hooray! 
Old Rip's the land on which we'll stand, 
To live and die like freemen ! 
Hooray ! Hooray ! Hooray for Rip Van Winkle ! 
Hooray! Hooray! Hooray for Rip Van Winkle!" 

But the Goldsboro Convention meant business and began 
to organize a "Southern Rights Party" with a view to 
another vote on a Convention. This was met by efforts 
to organize a "Union Party," starting in Raleigh under the 
chairmanship of B. F. Moore, Esq. A South Carolina paper 
said at this time: "Terrapin like, Virginia, Kentucky and 
Missouri are beginning to poke out their heads and legs pre- 
paratory to crawling, under the fire laid upon their backs 
by the Lincoln Administration. But North Carolina and 
Tennessee, under a stream of molten lava pouring upon 
them, would not even shake their tails." It thought they 
would better remain a barrier between North and South, 
whereupon the Patriot editor reminded them that their great 
boasting was due to the fact that the states that wouldn't 
"shake their tails" were protecting them! On April 18, 
1861, however, the Greensboro Patriot said: "It is with 
deep regret and most painful anticipation of the future, 
that we announce to our readers that the war has com- 
menced ; that the first gun has been fired and that Fort 
Sumter, instead of being evacuated, as should have been 
done, has been violently seized upon, and that the flag of the 
Confederate States, now floats above its walls. . . . 
Events of the most startling character, so crowd upon each 
other, that the mind becomes bewildered and confused, no 
time being afforded for reflection. But yesterday, all was 
quiet, peace and happiness ; today, terror, excitement and 
confusion rules the hour. The Stars and Stripes, the Flag 
which we have been taught to reverence, and which we all 
so much love, which has commanded the respect of the 


civilized world, and beneath whose ample folds, we have, for 
three-quarters of a century, found safety and protection, has 
been dishonored, and that, too, by the hands of those, who 
of all others, should have been the first to defend it." He 
then shows that the fact that seven states had seceded, and 
even formed a government, without molestation of the 
United States had led them to believe that Uncle Sam would 
let his erring Cotton States children go, and the Southern 
boundary of the nation would be the south lines of North 
Carolina and Tennessee. He plainly expressed the doctrines 
of James Madison that, while not allowing the right of 
secession, except as revolution, that the constitution gave no 
power of coercion. In the same issue, however, he prints 
President Lincoln's call for 75,000 men "to suppress said 
combinations, and cause the laws to be duly executed," 
which, as it is observed, said nothing about secession, but 
only enforcement of laws. The Patriot, however, seems 
unable to conceive of either side actually invading the other, 
as he had been unable to conceive of the fall of Sumter; 
and he announced his determination to at once begin issuing 
a campaign paper to be called "The Stars and Stripes!" As 
this paper was looked upon as one of the first two or three 
leading Unionist papers of the State and as generally ex- 
pressing the views of Governor Morehead, though not his 
organ, it may be viewed as the expression of himself and his 
constituency. In the same issue also he printed Secretary 
of War Cameron's telegraphic call upon Governor Ellis 
at Raleigh for two regiments, and the latter's very natural 
reply that he regarded "the levy of troops made by the Ad- 
ministration, for the purpose of subjugating the States of 
the South, as in violation of the Constitution, and as a 
gross usurpation of power." "You can get no troops from 
North Carolina," he underscored, as James ]\Iadison had 
given him interpretation to do. Even then the Editor of The 
Patriot called upon the people to be calm, for "like the 
mistletoe on the oak," "in a short time the mistletoe will be 
blown away," but "a million and a half of strong Union 
men" "in the north, who love the Union," "will do us 
justice." "Wait." Like IMadison, too, he said : "Woe to 


the ambition that would meditate the destruction of either" 
[Constitution or Union]. On April 25th, however, he was 
ready to say: "We would merely suggest the idea, that 
instead of calling a Convention would it not be as well, for 
the Legislature, just simply to declare the State of North 
Carolina in a state of revolution ; and then provide all the 
necessary measures for carrying on the war, vigorously co- 
operating with our Southern brethren in resisting every at- 
tempt of the tyrant Lincoln to subdue the South." He went 
still further, and outlined reconstruction after victory, 
namely, that one condition of the treaty should be that 
"North Carolina is a free and independent sovereign State" 
and then determine whether she wishes to reconstruct the 
Union or join the Confederacy. 

On April 17th Virginia, in secret action, seceded, and 
on the same day, Governor Ellis of North Carolina, drew 
his call for a special meeting of the Assembly for May 1, 
1861 ; but Virginia did not announce her action until April 
24th and Ellis' proclamation was published in the Patriot 
of April 25th. He also called upon the militia and among 
those that responded were the Guilford Grays and Minute 
Men under Captain W. S. Hill. The arsenal at Fayette- 
ville was captured by a thousand volunteers. "On Tuesday" 
[23d April] said the Patriot, "our streets were filled with 
an excited crowd. They were addressed by Mr. J. W. 
Thomas of Davidson, Governor Morehead, Hon. R. C. Pur- 
year, Hon. J. A. Gilmer, Ralph Gorrell, Esq., Samuel P. 
Hill, J. R. McLean, R. P. Dick, Thomas Settle and perhaps 
others. The speeches of these gentlemen all breathed the 
true spirit of resistance to tyrants, and that the time had 
come for North Carolina to make common cause with her 
brethren of the South in driving back the Abolition horde. 
North Carolina may rest assured that the people of Guilford 
are all right." The Guilford Grays, under Capt. John Sloan, 
were at Fort Macon on duty. Two other companies were 
organizing; and the Patriot announced its abandonment 
of its campaign paper — The Stars and Stripes. A company 
of Home Guards, also, under Capt. Jos. A. Houston, was 
organized and the ladies were forming organizations to pro- 


vide supplies and hospital appurtenances. And while such 
preparations were making, Edgeworth Seminary announce- 
ments were appearing as usual, telling of twenty years of 
successful work and a growth to a faculty of seven gentle- 
men and four ladies. It is a curious fact that when the 
Guilford Grays started for Goldsboro on the first call, both 
Senator Gilmer and Judge Dick — Whig and Democrat — and 
Richard Sterling, as well, said to them substantially: "Go! 
Defend your State ! Carry with you the Stars and Stripes, 
and fight under that banner! Repel any armed force that 
puts foot on North Carolina soil — whether it come from 
South Carolina, Virginia or Yankeedom !" And they went 
with three days' rations, expecting soon to return.' 

The special session of the Assembly gathered at Raleigh 
on May 1, 1861, as called, and at once ordered another vote 
on Convention for May 17th, and as there was no doubt 
as to need for it, it was to meet on the 20th. The Gov- 
ernor was directed to immediately prepare 20,000 volunteers 
for a year, and 10,000 State troops for the war, with a 
$5,000,000 defense fund. In all this Ex-Governor More- 
head was as active a leader on committees, military and 
others, as he had been on internal improvement, railways, 
education or anything else. The Assembly was completely 
unified for defense and, as the choice of fighting Abolitionists 
or Slaveholders, one or the other, was forced upon them 
they were already a unit as to which must be done. On the 
8th, Governor Morehead secured passage of a bill for cre- 
ation of a Military Board of three to advise with the 
Executive. Great dispatch was the order of the day and 
the session adjourned on May 13, 1861, to June 25th. 

The Convention met at Raleigh on the 20th of May 
and on the 21st the members signed the Ordinance of Se- 
cession and two days later ratified the "Constitution of the 
Confederate States of America." Governor Morehead being 
a member of the State Senate was not a member of the Con- 
vention. On the 27th of May, 1861, President Davis Pro- 
claimed North Carolina a part of the Confederacy. Chief 

^ A. M. Scales in Greensboro Daily News, 20th Sept., 1908. 


Justice Ruffin was probably the ablest leader of this Con- 
vention and before it adjourned on the 28th he aided in elect- 
ing among the eight district delegates to the Confederate 
Congress, his companion in Peace Conference activities at 
Washington, State Senator John Motley Morehead, who 
at once resigned his state post, and prepared to go to the 
Confederate capital. 

The "Provisional Congress of The Confederate States 
of America," as it was called technically, held its first session 
at its temporary capital, Montgomery, Alabama, from Feb- 
ruary 4 to March 16, 1861. The second session, due to 
the Fort Sumter developments, was called to meet there 
also on April 29th and did not adjourn until May 21, 1861 ; 
so that it was in recess, on the 27th, that President Davis 
proclaimed North Carolina's entry into the Confederacy, 
and Governor Morehead was elected to this body. Mean- 
while, during June, the preparations for a clash of arms 
about the national capital, led to the third session of the 
Confederate Congress being called to meet at Richmond 
on July 20, 1861, and the Virginia capital becoming the 
Confederate capital. 

Therefore, when, on July 20th, the delegates assembled 
in the state capital, just the day before the battle of Bull 
Run, the first business was the presentation of the Virginia 
and North Carolina delegates, the latter of whom were an- 
nounced by Mr. Toombs of Georgia and among them being 
Governor John Motley Morehead of Greensboro. The 
message of President Davis, to which Congressman ]\Iore- 
head listened, drew emphatic attention to President Lincoln's 
position that the states had no other power "than that re- 
served to them in the Union by the Constitution, }io one of 
them having ever been a State outside of the Union."^ This 
was on Saturday. The following day President Davis wit- 
nessed the defeat of the national forces at Bull Run and 
announced the results to the Congress at Richmond. Chief 
Justice Ruffin did not arrive until the 25th and it was the 
26th before any record of Governor Morehead is had, 

] This of course excepted Texas, which was a "State," or, more properly, a 
'nation" wholly independent of all other bodies. 


■ I r^^Os^ 



— V*- 








..i^. a.^pi 


From a live ilullar liill of 1864 


namely, a nay vote in opposition to secret sessions, in which 
the majority of his delegates joined him, but without success. 
On August 2nd a similar phenomena occurred in connection 
with features of a general embargo act, but with success 
attending his nay. Likewise on August 7th, on a vote to 
adjourn on the 19th to meet in November, he voted nay, in a 
minority of his own state, but in vain; but on another vote 
on adjournment on August 8th, he and Mr. Ruffin voted 
nay, in minority of their own state, but were successful in 
preventing adjournment.^ 

The Congress had been organized by the aggressive 
leaders of the secession before the Virginia and North Caro- 
lina members had appeared, so that up to this date there is no 
evidence of their membership of committees. On this very 
day, August 8, 1861, Governor Morehead wrote Chief 
Justice Ruffin from Richmond : "I have had two short 
conversations with the President on the subject of seeing 
our troops (for it seems difficult to get a good sitting with 
the President so as to have a consultation with him). If I 
understood him correctly, he is now willing to receive 
volunteers for any period of time, provided we will arm and 
equip them — as he says they find great difficulty to do it 
as fast as they tender their services. . . . 

"Since the great fight and victory at Manassas I think the 
Government has come to the conclusion, that it is not indis- 
pensable to victory, that the troops should be regulars — on 
the contrary it may sometimes turn out that it is better they 
are not and this perhaps happened at Manassas. For the 
opinion prevails with many, and even the enemy seemed so 
to have concluded from the dispatches in the earlier part of 
the day, that we, once or twice, had fairly lost the battle, 
according to the usual rules of regular fighting — but our 
green volunteer troops were not up to their regular rules and 
when regulars might have concluded that they were fairly 
whipped and therefore ought to yield the day — the volun- 
teers knew nothing about it — and only concluded when hard 
pressed and driven back that it was only marching and 

^ Thomas Ruffin of Goldsboro is here referred to, a distant relation of the 
Chief Justice it is said. 


counter marching — and constituted nothing more than the 
regular emergencies of a battle field, and as they had gone 
in for whipping the enemy — it had to be done. And it was 
gloriously done, by every man making himself a hero and 
fighting with a valor never surpassed anywhere. Every 
hero fought as if the Salvation of the Republic depended 
upon the vigor of his own right arm, and he determined to 
know nothing but victory or death." After describing the 
confusion on the battlefield, "without waiting to charge or 
fire by platoons, companies or regiments," "each one pitched 
into his man hand to hand" and the enemy concluded they 
were fighting "Devils not men" hence the "unprecedented 
panic." "Regulars could do no more." "The war spirit 
possesses the whole land, and Congress [Confederate, of 
course], in secret session all the time it transacts business, 
will respond to the public sentiment — this is perhaps as much 
as I ought to say at this time." He says regiments are 
flocking in the direction of Alexandria and Arlington, inti- 
mating an attack on Washington with artillery that will 
"satisfy all Black Republicans that they have no business 
south of Mason and Dixon's line, in other words — Yankee- 
ism will not flourish in the land of 'Dixie'." "I regret ex- 
ceedingly you are not with us in this Congress." 

Much time during August was given to financial ques- 
tions and on August 10th, Governor Morehead was made 
the North Carolina representative on the Committee "To 
Secure The Financial And Commercial Independence of 
The Confederate States." On the surface of aflFairs he 
apparently took but little initiative either in preparing bills 
or in any recorded discussons, although he supported 
President Davis in his railroad proposition to which attention 
may presently be turned. He was absent during the last 
days of the session, which closed on August 31st. 

President Davis recalled them on September 3rd, how- 
ever, because of an oversight by which an appointment bill 
had not reached him for signature. There were few in 
attendance and they did what was necessary and adjourned 
the same day. Governor jMorehead was not present. They 
adjourned to November 18, 1861. 


The November session brought a recommendation from 
President Davis of personal interest to Governor Morehead, 
although he was not there on the 19th to hear it — did not 
arrive, indeed, until the 20th, so far as the record indicates. 
This was President Davis' calling attention to the fact that 
the Confederacy had but two through transportation lines 
north and south, one along the seaboard and one in western 
Virginia to New Orleans ; but that a third was needed and 
"might be secured by completing a link of about forty miles 
between Danville, in Virginia, and Greensborough in North 
Carolina. The construction of this comparatively short line 
would give us a through route from north to south in the 
interior of the Confederate States, and give us access to a 
population and to military resources from which we are 
now in great measure debarred. We should increase greatly 
the safety and capacity of our means for transporting men 
and military supplies. If the construction of this road 
should, in the judgment of Congress, as it is in mine, be in- 
dispensable for the most successful prosecution of the war, 
the action of the government will not be restrained by the 
constitutional objection which would attach to a work for 
commercial purposes, and attention is invited to the practi- 
cability of securing its early completion by giving the needful 
aid to the company organized for its construction." 

This message was read on Tuesday, and on the following 
Saturday, the 23rd, Governor Morehead, who was still in 
Greensboro, and was to leave for Richmond the next day, 
wrote Judge Ruffin that he had received an offer from a 
well-known South Carolina legislator that if he or any 
other reliable man would take hold of the Danville link that 
the Sea Island planters would furnish the slaves to do the 
grading in quick time and glad to do it because of the safety 
of the slaves and would make a very low figure. The 
Governor writes, however, of these facts, namely: Three 
Charters cover the Danville project — the Coal Fields line 
from the Virginia line to some six or eight miles below 
Leaksville, the Brodnax charter from Leaksville to Ger- 
manton, and the Greensboro-Leaksville charter. "This is 
not right," says Governor Morehead's letter. "It should be 


one corporation throughout or at least there should be but 
one change and that should be at Danville or Leaksville — 
it will be the same if the Danville road is extended to Leaks- 
ville (ignoring the intermediate charter) or the Greensboro 
and Leaksville road is extended to Danville. Now had we 
not better have our charter so modified as to effect this 
object. The Convention of both States are in session and 
can give the necessary charter." 

He then argues the question of route. Referring to the 
large stream of travel between north and south, he thought 
"that day is gone — I confidently believe never to return." 
So he now considers it solely from a military view, suggest- 
ing the Leaksvilile route because of the coal and iron on Deep 
and Dan rivers. He confidently assumes the permanence 
of "Our Southern Republic." He also considers that a 
road from Leaksville and Greensboro to Lynchburg, Va., is 
a military necessity. Judge Ruffin replies with sugges- 
tions, which he takes up in a letter of December 4, 1861, 
from Richmond.* President Lincoln's suggestion of a mili- 
tary railroad through Cumberland Gap he thinks has western 
North Carolina in view. Again he suggests a line through 
Leaksville, but thinks it ought to run as direct from Greens- 
boro to Danville as military necessity will allow. An arm 
may go to the coal and iron fields, which might be a part 
of the Virginia-Tennessee line. Judge Ruffin made an ef- 
fort, but it was finally put up to the Confederate Congress 
which passed it on February 8, 1862, leaving it optional 
with the President whether to connect with the North Caro- 
lina Central or not. It was now desired that the North 
Carolina Convention pass a bill, which it did do by the 
10th. The optional feature is the only outward evidence 
of the old "connection" fight which was carried up by both 
sides to the Confederate Congress, but, as the result indi- 

' In this letter he answers Judge Ruffin's desire that he come on to Raleigh 
and aid by saying: "I should be willing to lend my aid to make the connection 
between the N. C. and Danville roads, but I do not think my presence in 
Raleigh would lend any aid to effect the object My efforts to effect that object 
have been so often thwarted by the Eastern Roads and the N. C. Road itself, 
that my presence would arouse the old hostility notwithstanding the pressing 
urgency of the measure; which I think is greatly increased by reading the 
message of Lincoln— recommending a Military Road for Kentucky through 
Cumberland Gap. He evidently has his eye on Western N. C"— Ruffin Papers, 
Hamilton, Vol. Ill, p. 200. 


cates, the "link" was bound to come and did come thus as a 
military measure. President Davis had again urged it on 
December 17th, and a considerable fight had been made 
over it on January 30, 1862, and was continued again on 
February 6th, and on the 7th was passed 9 to 3 (states), 
only Alabama, Florida and Georgia voting against it, and 
North Carolina being divided. It therefore took the vote 
of the Southern Confederacy to decide Governor Morehead's 
great question of the Greensboro-Danville link, on which 
North Carolina was so bitterly divided, and President Davis 
was authorized to build it as a military measure. It was 
not done, however, without a systematic protest, headed by 
Mr. Toombs of Georgia, on Constitutional grounds ; but on 
February 10, 1862, President Davis announced that he had 
signed the bill and that closed the matter so far as the Con- 
federate Congress was concerned. So was it to be as far as 
North Carolina was concerned, for she passed a like bill 
on the same day ! 

Governor Morehead wrote, on the day President Davis 
signed the bill to Judge Rufiin whose letter he had just 
received containing "the joyous intelligence of the passage 
of the Railroad Charter." "On the same day," writes 
the Governor in reply, "we passed the bill for the same 
purpose appropriating $1,000,000 to be expended in such a 
way as the President may direct, which is now a law, 
so the Greensboro and Danville connection is now a fixed 
fact and I congratulate you on it; for when finished it will 
take you across to go to Dan and see how the crop is 
growing, and if needs be — go home the same way. Don't 
you think I may congratulate myself, too? 

"JMotion to re-consider was disposed of today, and the 
law was approved by the President, and the thing is safe. 
I will see the President in a day or two and get his views 
as to the manner in which the Confederate State may be 
connected with the enterprise. 

"Our city is in gloom — the defeat at Roanoke Island 
is a calamity ; the Albemarle and Roanoke are exposed, and I 


should not be surprised any day to hear the enemy have 

"They have the Tennessee River open to Florence 
[Muscle Shoals] — can take possession of the Railroads lead- 
ing to Memphis, and can pour by steamers any amount of 
men into Florence, nearly the heart of Alabama, take pos- 
session of all roads to Mobile and New Orleans, and cut off 
Memphis; reach the Alississippi below there and go toward 
New Orleans, leaving the defenses above at Columbus, etc., 
useless. I do not like the indications — and our nation was 
as one — and, too, the field — we are in danger. Stirring 
times may be expected before the Inauguration." 

A week later the Provisional Confederate Congress 
ceased to exist, on the 17th, when it adjourned ; and on the 
18th the new regular government with Senate and House 
was inaugurated at Richmond — and Governor Morehead 
was in neither body. His influence had secured the Con- 
federacy the third and best trunk line, the last link in what 
would hav.e been a great Piedmont line from Maine to the 
mouth of the Mississippi ; and it was to prove the last piece 
of railroad to aid President Davis and the Confederate 
executive in escaping from the fall of Richmond. 


The Closing Years 


"The Father of Modern North Carolina" 


When Governor, or Congressman, Morehead reached 
Greensboro from Richmond late in February, 1862, he had 
finished his public career, although he was no doubt not yet 
aware of it, and was in his sixty-sixth year. His eldest 
daughter, as has been noted, was married ; his second daugh- 
ter was the wife of Waightstill W. Avery; his third was 
Mrs. Col. Peter G. Evans of the 63rd North Carolina, whose 
husband's death was to occur within almost a year ; his first 
son, Col. John Lindsay Morehead was on the staff of the 
War-Governor Vance ; his fourth daughter, since 1858, had 
been Mrs. Julius A. Gray, whose husband was a Greensboro 
banker, later to be a railroad president like his father-in- 
law ; Governor Morehead's second son. Col, James Turner 
Morehead was Adjutant with Col. Evans' 63rd Cavalry, 
destined to be desperately wounded at the same time his 
brother-in-law, head of his regiment, was killed ; while 
the Governor's youngest son and child, Eugene Lindsay 
Morehead, was then nearly ready to enter the University — 
destined to serve as a Lieutenant, later in the war, in de- 
fending the ocean front of the state at Wilmington and Fort 

1 It should be noted that most of Governor Morehead's sons and also sons- 
in-law devoted themselves to development of the lines in which he had been 
interested. For example (not to mention more, and referring the reader to 
The Morehead Familv of North Carolina and Virginia by Major John 
Motley Morehead of New York), his son, Major James Turner Morehead, was 
a leader in the political reconstruction of the state in the early '70s; de- 
veloped manufacturing so much at Spray, as to raise it from a 300 village to 
above 6000; was the first non-professional leader in geological survey of the 



The Governor's great project, Alorehead City, and his 
railroad up to Newbern, were in the hands of the enemy, 
who, in the west, were carrying out the program he pre- 
dicted. By April, 1862, the Confederate Congress were 
restive at the probable loss of western Virginia-Tennessee 
rail outlet to the South and the threatening moves against 
the coast line, and asked President Davis what was the 
status of the Danville "link," or, as it was now called, the 
Piedmont Railroad, the title given it in its North Carolina 
Convention charter. They became still more anxious in 
September, when the great McClellan failure in Virginia 
began to encourage plans to invade Pennsylvania and her 
coal and iron fields. By November 10, 1862, the Secretary 
of War was able to announce to the Governor of North 
Carolina that the Greensboro-Danville link was in progress 
with 800 hands, and the suggested impressment measures 
of both whites and negroes and mules and wagons in both 
states. Labor and iron rails were the great difficulty, but 
Governor Vance impressed the former and as Charlotte had 
two railroads that had not yet reached their terminii, the 
one to Statesville was stripped of its rails so that it was not 
completed until May, 1864.' This work was urged on by the 
Federal raids from Newbern on the Wilmington & Weldon 
line on 16th December, 1862, and in July, 1863 ; although the 
road was re-secured and repaired. It was all the more 
needed in the first half of 1863 in the supplies for the great 
campaign into Pennsylvania that was broken at Gettysburg; 
and was still more needed in the gradual retreat to and 
beyond Richmond that was to close the conflict. 

It was about five days after the defeat at Gettysburg 
and the fall of Vicksburg, both on July 4, 1863, that Gover- 

state, especially in mineralogy; was a leader in creating the Midland Railroad, 
purchasing the old Western and attempting the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley 
Railroad, suffering with others the losses caused by the panic; won world-wide 
recognition as a practical scientist by his laboratory discovering commercial 
carbide and showing the power of the electric arc in smelting refractory ores. 
At his plant acetylene gas was discovered by his son; and it produced most 
of the chromium of the world, with the result that New York became his 
headquarters for the rest of his life. Hickory timber was marketed through 
his spoke and handle factory, and he had a boat line from Madison and Leaks- 
ville to Danville to handle his products. 

1 The July 7, 1864, report of the Raleigh S: Gaston Railroad says that it 
had lost half its ordinary receipts since the Danville link was completed. 


nor Morehead, sixty-seven years old on that same day, 
wrote his friend Judge Ruffin: "I have just returned from 
the discharge of a melancholy but pious duty, the depositing 
of the body of my venerable, beloved mother beside the body 
of my honored father in the spot selected thirty-one years 
ago by herself as her final resting place. When last I saw 
her some two weeks since, at Major Hobson's in Davie 
[county] she charged me to see that she was buried by 
father's side. She expired on Monday morning as calmly 
as an infant sleeps, in her 92nd year. The lamp of life be- 
came extinguished for the want of material to support it." 

Just what had happened in eastern North Carolina by 
this time? In the summer of August, 1861, General Butler's 
naval forces took the forts at Hatteras Inlet; and early in 
1862 General Burnside's naval force, with his aid, captured 
Roanoke Island. This opened up the way to attack New- 
bern, then the second largest town in the state, and it fell 
on March 14, 1862; while they occupied Morehead City, 
Beaufort, Carolina and Newport, using Newbern as a base. 
On April 25th, the Federal gun-boats shelled Fort Macon, 
guarding the Morehead City inlet, into surrender. By this 
time North Carolina had put about 41,000 equipped men 
into the Confederate^ army, and on a new call, twenty- 
eight more regiments were formed. Then came the head- 
ship of General Lee and his driving back of McClellan's 
armies, and the state gave 15,000 more men. This was late 
in June, 1862. In those awful battles, as Dr. D. H. Hill 
says: "every fifth Confederate flag floated over North Caro- 
lina bayonets; and every fifth man who dropped a gun in 
death was grieved for in a North Carolina home. Nearly 
every fourth wounded man who was borne off in a litter 
or who limped to the wretched hospitals in the rear wore a 
North Carolina uniform." Fort Fisher, below Wilmington, 
at this time, was aiding the very successful blockade run- 
ning at this port. Meanwhile General Lee had sent forces 
to threaten Washington again to counteract attacks on Rich- 
mond, and late in August, 1862, the second battle of 
Manassas let Lee's forces into IMaryland, and the great 
aggressive campaign into Pennsylvania was begun that, as 


has been said, ended on July 4, 1863.' The Federals and 
Confederates in eastern North Carolina during this time 
had contested for the line of the Wilmington & Weldon 
road, without much change. But early in 1864 fierce fight- 
ing was renewed under new leaders, especially about Ply- 
mouth near the mouth of the Roanoke to get control of the 
Roanoke river, on which was being built an iron-clad, the 
Albemarle, and Plymouth was captured, the Federals giving 
up Washington, at the head of Pamlico. General Grant's 
new leadership in Virginia, however, called off the Confed- 
erate forces in east North Carolina to "bottle up Butler" 
between the James and Appomattox. In Grant's great con- 
centration upon Richmond and the campaign of Sherman 
to the sea. General Butler was to prepare the way in Decem- 
ber, 1864, by reducing Fort Fisher, as it was proposed to 
bring Sherman up from the South through eastern North 
Carolina in the rear of Lee. 

Just before this demonstration, the following illuminating 
picture of the sorrows of war was written to the Confederate 
commander in eastern North Carolina : 

"As I am not posted about the state of affairs about 
Wilmington," writes Governor Morehead to General Bragg 
on November 22, 1864, from Greensboro, "I hope I may be 
excused, if this letter shall be deemed inopportune upon its 

"My wounded son. Turner, the Provost Marshal of this 
place, is to be married on 6th December. He is only a few 
years older than my youngest child, Eugene L. Morehead, 
now a private in Capt. Barron's [ ?] Heavy Artillery on Bald 
Head Island. 

"He has been absent since March. His mother is very 
feeble, but insists she must see him — and will go to Wil- 

1 During the latter part of 1863 the Confederate currency question was the 
most discussed subject in the; Southern press. Governor Morehead took part 
in it advocating the sharp restriction of the amount in circulation. Some edi- 
tors ridiculed it, whereupon the Greensboro Patriot attacked that editor say- 
ing: "Governor Morehead, as an able and far-seeing statesman, is too well 
k-nown by the people to require any words from us." It is known that there 
were people who wanted him to dispose of his Confederate bonds while it was 
possible to realize on them but he refused, saying it would at once affect the 
credit of the bonds; and he never did. He took his medicine with the rest in 
manly fashion. 


mington for that purpose if it becomes necesssary. The loss 
of two sons-in-law in this war, one son shot through the 
head and an invalid for life, three nephews at home on 
crutches, besides some half-dozen, who have fallen in the 
service, are stubborn facts well calculated to impress her 
mind with the fear, that she may never see her youngest 

"She requests me to say, that if you think there is any 
probability of an attack, shortly, she does not wish her son 
to be absent from his post; but if such an attack is not 
apprehended, we shall be greatly obliged, that a furlough 
be granted to him to attend the marriage, if it be for only a 
few days — postponing a more extended furlough to a more 
convenient season. 

"Should you grant him this favor, we shall be much 
obliged, if you will give the proper order that he may arrive 
by 3rd Dec. at least, as the wedding is some fifty miles 
distant. I make no other application except this, to any 

"I would respectfully suggest that confusion is becoming 
worse confounded, by the unfortunate mode of doing busi- 
ness, between the railroad lines, by three trans-shipments. 
I do not know that I can impress it on your mind more 
forcibly than by statement of facts, which I witnessed on 
last Sunday morning on my arrival from Goldsboro — 
through a night of heavy rains. 

"Above, below and around the depot there were hundreds, 
if not thousands of sacks of salt, lying on the ground, some 
piled up — others lying promiscuously around as they were 
tumbled out of the cars — the ditches filled with them, and 
the rain-water poured up against these piles of salt. There 
were various instances of this and all without any cover. 
Other property was equally exposed. 

"Through freight to and from Danville will be worth 
millions to the company. 

"With high regard 

"Yr. obt. Svt. 

"J. M. Morehead. 


"P. S. 

"Your letter was duly rec'd and Mrs. M. requests me to 
thank you sincerely for your kind invitation to her to visit 
Wilmington, but her health forbids the risk of the journey, 
which she hopes sometime to make. 

"Lest it might be infer'd that Government agents were 
negligent, it is proper to say the salt and other property 
referred to above did not belong to the Conf'dt, Govt. 

"J. M. M.'" 

Whether his request was granted is not known, but on 
January 12th, next, 1865, Commodore Porter reduced Fort 
Fisher. Thereupon, in March, the Johnston forces, falling 
back before Sherman's army coming up from the South, had 
a battle at Southwest Creek. Then they fell back to Ben- 
tonville, Johnston county, between Goldsboro and Raleigh, 
and on the 19th had a battle, after which Johnston retired 
towards Raleigh on the 21st. Meanwhile the great closing 
battles about Richmond were being fought and on April 
10, 1865, General Johnston heard of Lee's surrender and 
on the 26th, at the house of a Mr. Bennett, near Durham, 
Generals Sherman and Johnston agreed on terms of sur- 

Meanwhile the Richmond and Danville road was the 
means of escape by the Confederate Government. Greens- 
boro in 1865 is pictured rather happily — or unhappily, if the 
conditions are what one has in mind rather than the quality 
of the pictures, one of which is by Mrs. (Letitia H.) 
William R. Walker, daughter of Governor Morehead : "Gen- 
eral Beauregard and staff came to Greensboro in March, 
spending several days at Blandwood, Governor Morehead's 
mansion, speeding on the last of our Confederate troops 
to join Lee. Suspense was ended on April 9, 1865, when 
Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox. Before leaving 
Richmond, the officials had the wounded and sick sent on to 
Greensboro, where every available room was filled, and 
had been full all winter with the sick and dying. The 
women, to their honor, be it said, ministered to them daily 

^ Braxton Bragg Papers. N. C. Hist Comm. 


with loving care and sympathy. The Confederate Navy and 
the army stores at Richmond were also sent, by the 
Manassas Gap Railroad, to Greensboro, under the care of 
Commander Lee, a brother of General Lee. These stores 
he kindly distributed to the sick and returning soldiers until 
the surrender of Johnston, when he turned over the lot 
to the soldiers and citizens to prevent their capture 
by the federal troops. 

"Commander Lee was a charming genial old man, 
whose patient endurance of army rations enlisted the 
sympathy of my mother, who begged his company every 
day, for dinner, while he was in the city 'to enjoy lettuce 
and onions.' The earth seemed to yield her grateful increase 
of turnip greens, lettuce and onions. These, with hot 
cornbread, seemed to be all the starving and uncomplaining 
soldiers wanted. 

"President and Mrs. Davis remained over one night in 
Greensboro in their car, declining the invitation from my 
father, 'lest the Federal troops should burn the house that 
sheltered him for one night." Memminger and his wife 
remained over several days with us for a rest, bringing 
with them Alexander Stephens of Georgia, so pale and 
care-worn, but the price was on his head, and we tearfully 
bade him God-speed. Never can I forget the farewell scene 
when the brave and grand Joseph E. Johnston called to say 
farewell, with the tears running down his brave cheeks. 
Not a word was spoken, but silent prayers went up for his 
preservation. The Salisbury road was filled with the 
retreating troops — wretched, half -clad, starving and very 
many shoeless. Eyes wept until the fountain of tears was 

"But one fine morning, amid the sounding of bugles and 
trumpets and bands of music, the Federals entered Greens- 
boro fully thirty thousand strong, to occcupy the town for 
some weeks. Gen. Cox was in command. He, Burnside, 
Schofield and Kilpatrick, with their staffs, sent word to the 

1 This sufficiently answers Secretary of the Confederate Treasury Stephen 
B. Mallory, who intimates otherwise in his article in McClnre's Magasine, VoL 
XVI, p. 107. 


Mayor that they would occupy the largest house in town 
that night, and until their quarters were established. In 
charge of Major Howlett, they came to Blandwood, which 
already sheltered three families and several sick soldiers. 
My father met them courteously and received them as guests, 
a fact which General Cox appreciated, and after placing his 
tent in the rear of Judge Dick's house, he rode up every 
afternoon to consult with Hon. J. A. Gilmer and my father 
on the conditions of the country. He was a most courteous 
and elegant man, and, in delicate ways, displayed his sym- 
pathy with us; no triumph of the conqueror in tone of 
voice and manner; spoke tenderly of the misfortunes of 
war, and in spite of ourselves, won our heart's confidence. 

"Very soon a note was received from the General an- 
nouncing the arrival of Mrs. Cox and the hope was ex- 
pressed that 'Mrs. Gilmer and Mrs. Walker would do him 
the honor to call upon his wife.' Our superior officers 
ordered a compliance with his wishes, but what to wear 
was the perplexing question. An old silk, dating back five 
years in style, came from the recesses of my trunk, the 
'skyscraper' was the head gear, shoes and gloves that had 
run the blockade and been purchased at enormous figures. 
Thus equipped we called upon the lady from Cincinnati ! 
She received us in Mrs. Dick's parlor, in a yellow morning 
wrapper, was simple in manner, dignified, bordering on 
stiffness, in contrast with the genial manners of her husband. 
As you may imagine, the discourse was on very general 
topics — the skies, the climate, etc., of North Carolina — never 
an allusion to the events of the last four years ! 

"A grand review of all the troops was to be held on the 
next Saturday, and a pavilion was built in the center of the 
town — the upper story to be occupied by the Federal ladies. 
By 9 o'clock a four-horse ambulance with out-riders was 
sent with a note from General Cox again 'begging the honor 
of Mrs. Gilmer's and Mrs. Walker's company with Mrs. 
Cox to witness the review.' 

"Mrs. Gilmer flatly told her husband that she refused 
to add one more spectator to the pageant, for it was an ene- 
my's bullet, which had maimed her only son for life. Vio- 


lent, decisive words and very ugly ones, too, were spoken 
by the other lady, but a peremptory order was given and 
with bitter tears, accompanied by one of our soldiers, she 
went to the pavilion, to be received so graciously by Mrs. 
Cox. Sullen, speechless and vindictive, no eulogy was paid 
the magnificent pageant, the gorgeous display of thousands 
of new uniforms, glittering sabers and bayonets, and all 
flushed with victory and marching to the music of splendid 

"These troops remained several weeks encamped on the 
hills around the town, and at sunset each evening, the prac- 
ticing of the various bands of music would again open the 
floodgates of tears. But, with the morning sun, the ava- 
ricious desire for their 'greenbacks' seized the ladies of the 
town; pies, chicken and fruit, beaten biscuit, ice-cream 
and cake poured into the camps. One company sent me a 
message that 'the ice-cream was not rich enough — needed 
more eggs.' A few drops of tumeric (often used for yellow 
pickle) covered the difficulty and gave satisfaction. 

"The reorganization of our domestic life in homes and 
farms came up for consideration. Wages were paid to 
negroes before the troops left the town, and their behavior 
was respectful and creditable. The philanthropic North 
sent out agents to purchase lands for homes, churches and 
school-houses; thus Warnerville sprang into existence. 
White women came as teachers, and a lonely life they led 
with their only friends. As the farms were well advanced 
with the growing crops the negroes remained and received 
wages and gave no trouble. Sorgum was introduced during 
the war, while coffee, so-called, of parched rye and sweet 
potatoes, refreshed the inner man. 

"It was a sweet and heroic service during the war to 
wear home-spun cloth, leather shoes and home-knit stock- 
ings, but when all was over and patriotism no longer de- 
manded this sacrifice of self and comfort, behold we had no 
money with which the ward-robe was to be replenished, no 
laws to protect person or property. Egyptian darkness 
covered the land for months until the manhood of the South 


asserted itself and adjusted tlie disjointed condition of 
affairs. . . ." 

"This account of the feelings and actions of the people of 
Greensboro and the troubles they went through shows that 
it is no wonder they shrink from the unexpected, limelight 
flash of publicity turned upon them by these innocent Cupids, 
which, singularly enough, were drawn by Kenyon Cox, a son 
of General Cox, who occupied Greensboro with Federal 

"But it was on March 19, 1865," wrote Mrs. (Rev.) J. 
Henry Smith of Greensboro, some years ago, "the date of 
the battle of Bentonville, N. C, that the war in its stern and 
startling reality came to our very doors. It was one of the 
fiercest of the war and the last great battle of the Con- 
federacy, in which Johnston defeated Sherman's forces and 
sent them retreating through the streets of Goldsboro, while 
he attempted to join Lee in Virginia. 

"On that memorable night, without warning or prepa- 
ration, the wounded were brought to Greensboro in such 
numbers as to fill the churches, court house and every 
available space in the town." Then she describes the 
women's work with the sick and dying and how, like a 
thunder-bolt out of a clear sky, came the news of Lee's sur- 
render. "The Confederate soldiers," said she, "were all 
transferred to Edgeworth Seminary, and our occupation 
was gone," although they were allowed to visit them. She 
also pays tribute to General Cox, "a Christian gentleman and 
Presbyterian elder." 

Still another picturesque account appeared in the 
Greensboro Patriot of March 23, 1866: "During these 
eventful years, Greensboro was a central railroad thorough- 
fare of great importance to the Confederacy. Huge trains 
of cars swept through almost hourly, bearing their great 
loads from the Southern States and mountain regions to the 
great consumer and fighter — the Army of Northern Vir- 

1 The magazine and article referred to was McClure's, in which Ex-Secre- 
tary of the Confederate Navy, Stephen B. Mallory, had an artcle on "Last Days 
of the Confederate Government." The last paragraph, above, is from an article 
in the New York Tribune, by Carrie Elizabeth Herrell, of High Point, N. C, 
defending Greensboro and giving Mrs. Walker's article in proof. 


ginia." Then he describes the great final military move- 
ment. "Our gallant young Governor [Vance] remained at 
the capital until Sherman's advance was entering the limits 
of the city, when, mounting his horse, he slowly rode west- 
ward, and, arriving at Greensboro, made it the temporary 
capital of the State." Beauregard came up to meet the 
forces of Stoneman. "As April, 1865, dawned upon the 
world, Greensboro was no longer the beautiful, quiet, de- 
lightful place of yore." He then describes the confusion 
and how Stoneman was diverted from Greensboro by a 
telegraph operator's fictitious answer to his inquiries by tele- 
graph ; but how soldier mobs, in the disorganization, fought 
over the supplies, and a mob of old women from the sur- 
rounding country tried it, but in vain. Then he tells how 
Lee's soldiers began to drift in and how finally "The Confed- 
erate Government" arrived in "a leaky old car" that stood on 
the switch, and how President Davis declined several invita- 
tions to make his home in some residence ; how there was to 
be seen on the streets "D. H. Hill, the veteran general, with 
his strange face — and Stuart and S. D. Lee and Cheatham 
and Walthall, and Stephenson and Loring and Butler of the 
Cavalry, and Iverson, who captured Stoneman in Georgia, 
and Lomax of the Virginia Cavalry, and Beauregard look- 
ing like a fox and the old 'Doctor of Strategy' Joe Johnston 
and Admiral Semmes. A host of heroes 1" He then de- 
scribes meeting Secretary of War John C. Breckenridge, 
whom he thought, as a specimen of manhood, "had not his 
superior living." He tells of the money train and how it be- 
came stolen but partly recovered and used to buy forage for 
Johnston's men. How President Davis and General Breck- 
enridge on horseback and the rest in ambulances left toward 
Salisbury, as the railroad had been torn up by Stoneman.^ 
Gen. Johnston signed the articles of surrender to Sherman in 
Mr. Ralph Gorrell's yard in Greensboro under the ancient 
oaks. The Federal commander. General Hartsufif and his 

^ In Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, Vol. I, p. 381, it ssys Govs. 
Graham and Swain, as Commissioners of Gov. Vance, went to meet Sherman . 
before Raleigh was reached in order to get good treatment for the capital; but 
that President Davis, then at Greensboro, ordered their arrest, but they were 
prisoners within the enemy lines before Davis' order reached Hampton. They 
got back, and Johnston evaded arresting them, and Davis left for the west. 


staff, were the first to enter Greensboro to parole the Confed- 
erates. This interesting sketch, in closing, says : "We fought 
a brave fight — we were conquered — we submit.'" 

By December, 1865, the people had elected Jonathan 
Worth of Guilford county Governor against Editor W. W. 
Holden of the Raleigh Standard, who had been provisional 
governor. In his efforts at reorganization in the spring 
following, he writes Governor Morehead a confidential let- 
ter on April 25, 1866: "The appointment of Directors on 
our [Rail] Roads is my most important duty and is most 
embarrassing to me because of want of information. . . . 
I am sure there were some very good Old Union Democrats 
and Whigs who did not vote for me. I think it would be 
wrong and impolitic to seem to proscribe them. Tlie ultra 
war men, in view of their own and the State's interests, 
had better remain in the background for the present. I may 
be justified in appointing a very few of them, in such coun- 
ties as Warren and Franklin." 

He mentions four men for two roads and adds : "What 
say you to these?" But for the Atlantic & North Carolina 
from Morehead City he says : "You ought to be one. 
Would you prefer the appointment from the state or the 
stockholders? I would like to have a full conference with 
you. I shall take no action until June." On May 2nd, he 
writes another correspondent regarding this line's presi- 
dency and shows that the office hangs between Newbern 
and Morehead City interests . "Morehead City and Gov- 
ernor Morehead will insist that we will sacrifice the interests 

of the State to party and Newbern, if we reappoint ." 

For Governor Morehead and the other friends of this road 
were at this time urging consolidation of it with the North 
Carolina Central Railroad. This latter railroad, at this time, 
about June 1st, had built in its own shops at Greensboro 
a handsome engine and named it "The Governor Morehead" 
— "as handsome as any we ever saw," said the editor of The 

' "During the war I was with Sherman," said a man named James Burson, 
in an interview in a Texas paper some years since, "and I was a guard in front 
of Governor Morehead's house — yes, sir, and I walked up and down in front 
of that house for three weeks guarding and protecting them." — From a clipping 
in possession of Mrs. W. K. Walker of Spray, N. C. 


Patriot. A letter from Josiah Turner, Jr., to Governor 
Worth on June 20, 1866, said Governor Morehead would 
certainly be a stock-holder director. On June 19th, Gov- 
ernor Worth says Governor Morehead and party, on a 
special train, will examine the North Carolina Central to 
Goldsboro on the 26th, and go to Newbern and Beaufort 
on the 27th, to be at the annual meeting of the Atlantic road 
at the latter place on the 28th. 

And now comes, about two weeks after this Beaufort 
meeting, what is probably John Motley Morehead's last 
public effort. A bill had been introduced in the Senate of 
North Carolina to consolidate the Atlantic, the Central and 
the Western railroads, which were essentially one, as it was. 
On July 17, 1866, Governor Morehead wrote an appeal 
to the stockholders of the "Central" to support this move- 
ment: Among other things, he said: "Here let us pause 
and take a survey of what has been done in seven years 
toward this great work. From Beaufort harbor to Golds- 
boro the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad Company 
have built ninety-six miles. From Goldsboro to Charlotte 
you (the North Carolina Railroad) have built two hundred 
and twenty-three miles. From Salisbury to within four 
miles of Morganton the Western North Carolina Railroad 
has built seventy-six miles . . . making in all three 
hundred and ninety-five miles, from which deduct forty- 
three miles from Salisbury to Charlotte, and we have actu- 
ally built this great line three hundred and fifty-two miles 
in one continuous line. Think of it ! Seven years ! In the 
lifetime of a State or nation seven years is but as a moment 
in its existence. In the great day of a nation's improve- 
ments seven years would not be the sun-rise of that day. 
We have done this great work in the twilight of our great 
day of internal improvement — a day which dawned so beau- 
tifully upon us, but which became enveloped in that gloom 
which shrouds the nation in mourning. But let us not 
despair. The day which danmed so beautifully upon us 
Zi'ill yet reach its meridian splendor. Then let us be up 
and doing . . . and then the hopes, the dreams of 
the great and good Caldwell and Gaston will be realized 


. . , You have the honor of being the pioneers in this 
great work executed in sections. Do yourselves now the 
honor to consolidate the whole and complete the original 
design. You, the most powerful and most independent of 
the three corporations, can, with much grace, propose to 
your sister corporations consolidations upon terms of jus- 
tice and equity manifesting selfishness in naught but your 
name. Yield not that. The new consolidated corporation 
should be still 'The North Carolina Railroad Company.' 
This will be a corporation worthy of you, of your State, 
and of the great destinies that await it." "What this destiny 
was," writes R. D. W. Connor in 1912, "no man had fore- 
seen so clearly as he. The traveller of 1912 along the line 
of the North Carolina Railroad sees the fulfillment of 
Morehead's dx-eams of 1850." Then, the same writer de- 
scribes the wealth of development of modern North Caro- 
lina and adds: "The foundation on which all this pros- 
perity and progress rests is the work done by John M. 
Morehead or inspired by him." ' 

Within but little over a month from the day Governor 
Morehead penned that letter on consolidation of the east 
and west rail lines, namely, on August 27, 1866, this great- 
hearted constructor of a commonwealth was dead — but, as 
has been seen, dead only in body. Taken with liver trouble, 
in which that organ rapidly ceased to function, he was re- 
moved to Rockbridge Alum Springs, Virginia, in the moun- 
tains northwest of Lexington.- Here distinguished men 
visited him, amongst them Mr. William Southerlin of Dan- 
ville; and they found his mind clear and vigorously occu- 
pied with his great plans to such a degree that they were 
astonished. "My God," said Mr. Southerlin, "is it pos- 

^ Address on presentation of a bust of Governor Morehead — one of four in 
as many niches in the rotunda of the capitol at Raleigh, on December 4, 1912. 
The bust was presented by two grandsons of the Governor, John Motley More- 
head and J. Lindsay Patterson. 

^ In a letter to Chief Justice Thomas Ruffin on Aug. 16, 1866, he says: 
"I am alive and that is all — as yellow as a pumpkin — jaundiced from top to 
toe, and feel as if I cared for nothing on earth." He was concerned about 
the arbitration of his claims to the Atlantic line, which Mr. Gray, in a let- 
ter of October 27, 1867, says the Governor said was about $80,000, a large 
portion of his estate. By August 22, 1866, his last thoughts were for his 
wife and news of this arbitration in Chief Justice RufRn's and Governor Gra- 
ham's hands, which was finally settled favorably to Governor Morehead's 
estate. — Letters in the Ruffin Papers, Vol. IV. 


u '^ . 

'^ -o a 

In "^ 
O b l< 

^ (^ -^ 




sible he can be in a dying condition! He has laid out fifty 
years work for us in this conversation alone.'" And this 
was in the midst of that awful wreck of the whole South 
by civil war, which was yet to be even more awful in that 
dark reconstruction period that reminds one, who knows, 
of some of the present day horrors of parts of Europe; 
but this great spirit's vision saw through that, and far be- 
yond, this great modern state of North Carolina, refusing 
to have his soul's eye blinded by the wreckage about him. 
He was like those valiant Chicagoans, who began clearing 
foundations still burning; and letting their contracts, by 
which, like a Phoenix from the flames, rose the great modern 
city whose motto is : "I Will." In this sense, he was, as a 
distinguished North Carolina statesman recently said to the 
writer, "The Father of Modern North Carolina;" for, after 
the period passed, which may well be called the "dark ages" 
of the state, the commonwealth picked up the lines where 
Governor Morehead has dropped them in 1861, and has 
ever since been working at their development, the vast 
road development of the present Governor Morrison being 
but one part of it. 

But in those closing days at Alum Springs, he discussed 
religion with his minister friends, and wrote his wife the 
comforting message that "he trusted in the Saviour, in whom 
she trusted." Then came a day when he was removed from 
the room that had a view of the mountains : "Ah, Doctor," 
said he, 'T have looked for the last time on that beautiful 
mountain." The end came on August 27, 1866, and people 
recalled his farewell address to the North Carolina Railroad 
stockholders in Greensboro, at the close of his Presidency 
on July 12, 1855 : "Living, I have spent five years of the 
best portion of my life in the service of the North Carolina 
Railroad — dying, my sincerest prayers will be offered up 
for its prosperity and its success — dead, I wish to be buried 
along side of it in the bosom of my own beloved Carolina !" 
His body was laid to rest in the church yard of the First 
Presbyterian Church, within sound of the rumblings of the 

' Mrs, Mary Bayard Clarke's Social Reminiscences in In Memoriam, a 
booklet on Governor Morehead. 


great traffic of the vast railway systems of today/ A monu- 
ment stands over his grave; and it has been proposed that 
at this great junction of modern systems of transportation, 
when the original North Carolina Railroad was completed 
and the last spike driven, that a beautiful new columned 
Union Station shall arise dominated at its front by a dis- 
tinguishing statue of President John Motley Morehead, the 
whole to be a permanent celebration of his great work. And 
yet a greater monument already exists in the development of 
modern North Carolina itself, to the inquirer concerning 
which one may say, with another: "Circumspice!" 

A town-meeting, on the 29th and 30th, mourned their 
greatest citizen. The Guilford Bar Association said great 
and tender things about him, and listened to Thomas Settle, 
Jr., recall the chief features of his career and how he had 
so often heard it said that "John ]\I. Morehead was the great- 
est man the State of North Carolina had ever produced." 
He also recalled how, in the presence of current disaster 
of civil w'ar. Governor Morehead had said to him: "I was 
always a great Providence man; I leave all these things to 
Providence, well assured that He \\\\\ bring good out of it 
yet" — in which respect he voiced perfectly the sentiments of 
his father before him. And the home county of his youth, 
Rockingham, on October 30th, at Wentworth, and its Bar 
Association on February 26, 1867, listened to a great 
address by Hon. John Kerr, who recalled how young More- 
head's industry in Dr. Caldwell's school was so great it 
impaired in his health at times and caused his father to keep 
him at home ; and traced his career w'ith great ability. 
Referring to the great conflict in the Senate in 1858-9, Mr. 
Kerr said : "Just before he rose to answer his assailants, 
seeing that he was deeply excited, I stepped across the 
aisle and whispered thus in his ear, 'Governor, do your best. 
You are the most abused man in North Carolina.' With an 
eye flashing light through water at me, he promptly re- 

* The funeral took place at his residence, "Blandwood," on August 31, 1866, 
at ten o'clock. On November 23, 1866, his sons, John L. Morehead and J. 
Turner Morehead and his son-in-law, Julius A. Gray, advertised Edgeworth 
Seminary for rent; and it is interesting to note that on December 24, 1868, 
John Motley Morehead Caldwell, as principal, announced the re-opening of the 


sponded, 'How shall I deal with them, my friend — shall I 
treat them gently, or shall I make myself the Wellington of 
the occasion, and vanquish them completely?' 'Play Well- 
ington,' said I. 'I will,' he replied, with energetic action. 
. . . And he did play Wellington, if ever man did, on 
battle field or in parliament. Never was there a more 
brilliant victory won, than he achieved that day." Mr. Kerr 
told of how he worked hard to aid in feeding and clothing 
the soldiers and how he remembered aged fathers and 
mothers left behind, and wives and Ititle ones; how his 
steward at Leaksville was directed to take care of large 
numbers. His kindliness to his slaves was such that some 
of them said, after he died, that, could he have lived, they 
would prefer being his slaves to being free, took the name 
Morehead and they and their children have been proud 
of it to this day. His losses were great, because he took 
Confederate money and bonds, staking, as he said, all he had 
on the cause. He was, said Mr. Kerr, a great son, brother, 
husband and father. A sister said she had never seen him 
give way to his temper ; and his love for his brother Abra- 
ham, the poet, was like that of Jonathan for David. As a 
lawyer Mr. Kerr said he was entitled to be ranked as 
*'great;" he had genius and talent both in high degree, but 
it was as an advocate that he shone with particular splendor. 
"His presence was imposing — his voice was exceedingly 
pleasant in its tones — his argumentation was logical — his 
wit sparkling — his illustrations striking — and his flow of 
soul under the excitement of his causes, captivating to all 
hearts. He assailed with great force his adversaries' posi- 
tions — and defended his own with consummate skill. He 
was always self-possessed — always courteous. He had the 
best control of his temper of any man I ever knew. It was 
in vain to attempt to get the advantage of him by exciting his 
anger." He was scholarly in his knowledge from practical 
surveying to metaphysics and theories of Hooker, Reid and 
Dugald Stewart, and belles-lettres were no less at his com- 

An exquisite "Tribute" to him appeared in the Greens- 
boro Patriot of February 15, 1867, from the pen of Lawyer 


William Lafayette Scott, to whom Governor Morehead had 
been a hero since childhood, when his favorite pet was 
named "Morehead." His boyish picture of his hero is 
given : "He was about two-score-and-two years old ; the 
weight of years had not stooped his shoulders ; his hair was 
only slightly 'besprent with rays and gleams of silver light,' 
his face was smooth shaven ; a mild luster usually lit his blue 
eyes, but in moments of animation, they sparkled like the 
brightest stars ; his forehead was not high, but massive ; his 
nose slightly Roman ; his chin prominent ; his lips com- 
pressed; not infrequently, when in deep thought, he indulged 
in a whispering whistle ; and his dress was elegant, but never 
ostentatious. Such was he as I first saw him, nor can 
that image ever pass from my memory. . . . Never 
have I seen, in the walks of life, nor has my imagination 
conceived, a man so all-gifted as he was." He tells of 
"halcyonian evenings" in the latter half of 1865 and the early 
half of '66 when Governor Morehead would come down 
town and sit with neighbors and friends in reminiscence or 
discussion, narrative, history — "a living book," the joy of 
young and old. 

His old University Dialectic Society paid its tender 
tribute on September 21, 1866; and the stockholders of the 
-North Carolina Railroad, on July 12, 1867, registered their 
testimony as to his "deliverance of the state from commer- 
cial and agricultural bondage" through their "great central 
trunk railway." The Piedmont Railroad, the present link 
between Greensboro and Danville, and the heart of the great 
Southern Railway System, expressed their gratitude to him 
on September 13, 1866, and gave to the station nearest 
Greensboro the name of "Morehead." Even his ancient 
enemy, the Raleigh Standard, sounded his praises in gener- 
ous accents. 

Then the dark ages of reconstruction, which, his eyes 
were fortunately prevented from seeing by his passing at 
the "three-score-and-ten" mile post, gradually faded and a 
new generation, his own sons and nephews among them, 
picked up the lines as they fell from his hands in 1861 ; and 
began to again develop that program "of fifty years," at 


which Maj. Southerhn, a Danville connection director, had 
exclaimed. It is now half a dozen years more than that half 
century, since he died ; and "modern North Carolina" is the 
only term that adequately distinguishes the "Tar-Heel" state 
of the last quarter of a century from all periods preceding. 
"The traveller along the line of the North Carolina Railroad" 
[now the Southern Railway]" writes Mr. R. D. W. Connor 
in 1912, "sees the fulfillment of Morehead's dreams of 1850. 
He finds himself in one of the most productive regions of 
the new world. He traverses it from one end to the other 
at a speed of forty miles an hour, surrounded by every com- 
fort and convenience of modern travel. He passes through 
a region bound together by a thousand miles of steel rails, 
by telegraph and telephone lines, and by nearly two thousand 
miles of improved country roads. He finds a population en- 
gaged not only in agriculture, but in manufacturing, in com- 
merce, in transportation, and in a hundred other enterprises. 
Instead of a few old-fashioned hand-looms turning out an- 
nually less than $400,000 worth of 'homemade' articles, he 
hears the hum of three hundred and sixty modern factories, 
operating two millions of spindles and looms by steam, water, 
electricity, employing more than fifty millions of capital, and 
sending their products to the uttermost ends of the earth. 
His train passes through farm lands that, since Morehead 
began his work, have increased six times in value, that pro- 
duce annually ten times as much cotton and seventy-five 
times as much tobacco. From his car window instead of 
the four hundred and sixty-six log huts that passed for 
school-houses in 1850, with their handful of pupils, he be- 
holds a thousand modern school-houses, alive with the 
energy and activity of one hundred thousand school children. 
His train carries him from Goldsboro, through Raleigh, 
Durham, Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Lexington, 
Salisbury, Concord, Charlotte— villages that have grown 
into cities, old fields and cross-roads have become thriving 
centers of industry and culture. Better than all else, he 
finds himself among a people, no longer characterized by 
their lethargy, isolation and ignorance, but bristling with 
energy, alert to every opportunity, fired with the spirit of 


the modern world, and with their faces steadfastly set 
toward the future." 

"The foundation on which all this prosperity and pro- 
gress rests," — Mr. Connor continues, "is the work done 
by John M. Morehead or inspired by him. No well- 
informed man can be found today in North Carolina who 
will dispute his primacy among the railroad builders of the 
State. The North Carolina Railroad, the Atlantic and 
North Carolina Railroad, the Western North Carolina Rail- 
road, the connecting link between the North Carolina and 
the Richmond and Danville railroads from Greensboro to 
Danville, all bear witness of his supremacy in this field. In 
one of the finest passages of his message to the General As- 
sembly in 1842 he urged the building of good couty roads ; 
today [1912] there are five thousand miles of improved 
rural highways in North Carolina. He recommended the 
building of a Central Highway from Morehead City through 
Raleigh to the Tennessee line; today we have just witnessed 
the completion of a great State Highway piercing the very 
heart of the State almost along the very route he sug- 
gested seventy years ago. He suggested plans for extensive 
improvements of our rivers and harbors ; today a 'thirty- foot 
channel to the sea' has become the slogan of our chief ports 
and the National Government is spending annually hundreds 
of thousands of dollars in the improvement of the Cape 
Fear, the Neuse, the Pamlico and other rivers of eastern 
North Carolina. He urged the construction by the National 
Government of an inland waterway for our coastwise ves- 
sels through Pamlico Sound to Beaufort harbor; seventy 
years have passed since then ; this enterprise has become 
national in its scope, the Federal Government has assumed 
charge of it, and the whole nation is anticipating the com- 
pletion in the near future of an inland waterway from 
Maine through Pamlico Sound and Beaufort harbor to 
Florida. First of all our statesmen Morehead realized the 
possibility of establishing at Beaufort [Morehead City] a 
great world port ; and although this dream has not been 
realized, there is not lacking today men noted throughout 
the business world for their practical wisdom, inspired by no 

John Motley Morehead 
A Bust by Uuckstuhl in 1912, in one of four niches in the 
Capitol Rotunda, Raleigh 


other purpose than commercial success, who have not hesi- 
tated to stake large fortunes on the ultimate realization of 
this dream also. A twentieth century statesman sent he fore 
his time into the world of the nineteenth century, as a 
distinguished scholar has declared, 'would have heen more 
at home in North Carolina today than would any other of 
our ante-bellum governors. He has been dead forty years 
[at the time this was written], and they have been years of 
constant changing and unceasing development. But so wide 
were his sympathies, so vital were his aims, so far-sighted 
were his public policies, and so clearly did he foresee the 
larger North Carolina of schools, railroads and cotton mills, 
that he would be as truly a contemporary in the twentieth 
century as he was a leader in the nineteenth'.'" 

But this was a decade ago, when those railroads in which 
the state stock was valued at $7,000,000; today it is valued 
above $15,000,000; while the whole mileage of the common- 
wealth is nearly 5000 miles. They have built up her greatest 
cities in the Piedmont section, instead of any great ocean 
port, and these treat New York as their port. "Western 
North Carolina," said Mr. B. Frank Mebane, the great 
manufacturer at Spray and Leaksville, "is a suburb of New 
York, which is little more than a night's ride and we all 
have offices there." Winston-Salem, the largest city of the 
State, over 48,000, a great tobacco center; Charlotte, until 
1920 the largest city, with above 46,000, a manufacturing 
center, are both Piedmont cities, after which follows Wil- 
mington, now third (once first), with over 33,000, still the 
port of North Carolina. Asheville, with over 28,000, the 
metropolis of the "Land of the Sky," identified with Pied- 
mont life, comes fourth. Raleigh, with over 24,000, because 

1 The extract is from a sketch by Dr. C. Alphonso Smith in Ashe's Bio- 
graphical History of North Carolina, Vol. 2, and quoted by Professor R. D. W. 
Connor in his address at the unveiling of the bust of Governor Morehead in 
the Capitol rotunda at Raleigh in 1912. As interesting added testimony, in 
1921, Col. G. S. Bradshaw of Greensboro, in his address of presentation of a 
portrait of Governor Morehead to the Court House there, said: "Not a great 
lawyer as Ruffin or Pearson — not as versatile and accomplished as Murphey, not 
as learned as Gaston, not as brilliant as Badger, not as profound as Moore, not 
as eloquent, perhaps, as Stanly or Miller — not as polished as Graham, yet 
judged by the fruits of his life and the far-reaching influence of his achieve- 
ments he was greater than any one of them and accomplished more than all 
of them. No name is more securely and permanently enshrined in the heart 
of North Carolina than that of Governor Morehead." 


the capital, while no city is large enough to be the metropo- 
lis, takes on many of the features of the leading city, and 
it essentially belongs to the Piedmont. Durham, west of 
Raleigh, with nearly 22,000 is the great American Tobacco 
Company center, in the same region ; while Greensboro, the 
"Gate City," with nearly 20,000 within her borders and 
surrounded by factory towns galore, typical of Governor 
Morehead's theories, is in the very heart of the Piedmont ; 
and High Point, the great furniture center, with over 14,000, 
is in the same county, and comes next. Other cities above 
10,000 are Salisbury, Gastonia, also in the Piedmont; and 
Newbern, Rocky Mount and Wilson in the east. Many of 
these and others, however, are not representative of actual 
population that includes country factory towns identified 
with them, which is a striking feature of the state and ever 

This remarkable factory development is due largely to 
the great growth of hydro-electric power by two North 
Carolina corporations, the Southern and the Carolina, the 
former radiating from the Catawba falls and the latter in 
the east. She stands fifth in amount of electrical energy 
developed east of the Mississippi.^ And this power is in a 
state, which, in a decade, "has climbed," as the late Governor 
Bickett said before the North Carolina Society of Philadel- 
phia, in 1920, "from the twenty-second to the fourth state in 
value of agricultural products." Only Texas, Iowa and 
Illinois surpass her. She is first in amount of cotton to 
the acre and value of tobacco crop. She is second only to 
Massachusetts in cotton manufacture and second only to 
Michigan in furniture factories. She is sixth in amount 
paid into the national treasury, and the richest, per capita, 
of any state from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. More 
automobiles are owned in North Carolina than any Southern 
state except Texas — illustrations that serve to indicate what 
this "modern" state is, and what a distinguished North 
Carolina statesman of today meant when he said that "Gov- 
ernor Morehead may be called The Father of Modern North 

' Charlotte is the largest distributing center of hydro-electric power in the 


Carolina ;" while another, Ex-Secretary of the Navy Daniels, 
has predicted that a great port, the dream of Governor More- 
head, will yet be realized in the region of Cape Lookout, the 
entrance to Beaufort harbor and Morehead City. And even 
so it will take generations to realize all the dreams of Gov- 
ernor John Motley Morehead for the development of North 



Abolition Movement, 181 ; (see 
Anti-Slavery Movements) ; 
and Quakers, 188; 194; 311; 
313; 324;J25; (see Old Line 
Whig Convention, Balti- 
more) ; (see Republican 
party, "Black Republican," 
"Republican - Abolitionist) ; 
"Democratic Abolitionist," 

Adams, John Quincy, election 
of, and Quakers of North 
Carolina, 82; 101; 102. 

Alamance Battle, 13; 38. 

Alamance, novel by Calvin H. 
Wiley, 281. 

Albemarle, 1 ; 54. 

"American Party," 363. 

Anti-Slavery Movements (other 
than Quaker and other man- 
umission), 85-6; (see Abo- 
lition Movement). 

Appomattox, 404. 

Ashe, Senator Wm. S., 295. 

Asylums, for Deaf, Dumb, 
Blind and other Defectives, 
253; 268. 

Atlanta, beginnings of, 301. 

Atlantic & North Carolina R. 
R., 314; 320; progress of, 
322; opening celebrated, 344; 
345; 357; 366; 410; 411; 418. 

Avery, Mr. and Mrs. Waight- 
still W., 399. 

Badger, Secretary of Navy, 

Baltimore, Lord, colonies of, 3. 
Banking (see Finance). 
Bank of North America, 179. 
Bank of Pennsylvania, 181. 
Bank of the United States, 43 ; 

and politics, 85; 122; 127; 

history of, 179-180; 220; an 

English plan to accomplish 

same ends, 223. 
Banks, of Newbern and Cape 

Fear (Wilmington), 43; 44. 

Bar of North Carolina, ability 
of in 1822, 79; 145; 180. 

Barringer, D. M., 372. 

Bartram, death of, 4. 

Bath county, 54. 

Beaufort, port, 106; 136; 138- 
9; and railroad to Tennessee 
line, 145-6; 168; (see Port) ; 
183; 187; 213; 249-50; 314; 
315-16; (see Sheppard's 
Point; also Morehead City); 
an editorial letter on, 341-2- 

. 3-4; 421. 

"Bell and Everett," 367. 

Blackledge, Thomas W., 73-4; 
and his four natural di- 
visions of the state, 74. 

"Black Republicans," 2,^7; (see 
Republican); 363; 364; 368; 
370; 381-2. 

"Blandwood," residence of Mr. 
]\Iorehead, in Greensboro, 
80; 221; and war, 404; ct 

Borough representation, 153, 
ct see].; 159. 

Boutwell, Geo. S., 376. 

Bovcott, Southern commercial, 

Branch, Gov. John, in Consti- 
tutional convention, 152. 

Breckenridge and Lane, 370. 

Breckenridge vote, 370. 

Bridgers, Col. L L., of Edge- 
combe, 351; 353; 372. 

Broune, Wm. Garl, portrait 
painter, 362. 

Brown, John, raid of, 363 ; 364. 

Bryan, of Carteret, on negro 
voting, 154. 

Buchanan, James, 280; 281; 

Bull Run, 392; 394. 

Caldwell, Rev. Dr. David, and 
his school, 12-13; students, 
13; 14; death and burial of, 




14; described by John Mot- 
ley Morehead I, 14-15-16- 
17-18; 19-20; 23 ; _ More- 
head's remarks on in Con- 
vention, 162. 

Caldwell, David F., 294; 298. 

Caldwell Institute, 178; 236. 

Caldwell, Dr. Joseph, 21-22; 
theories of, 22-23 ; influence 
of, on discipline, 24; again 
President, 27; 28; and his 
"Carlton Papers," 92-3-4; 
96; 97; Railroad "address" 
by, 97; 98; 100; on the 
Roanoke Valley, 105; 132; 
death of, 148; monument to, 
279; 323; 411. 

Caldwell School (David), 12- 
13-14-15-16-17-18; compared 
with the University, 19-20. 

Cameron, Duncan, 22. 

Canals, 83. 

Cape Fear river valley, 183. 

Capital, location of, in North 
Carolina, 108; political chess 
game with in 1831, 108-9; 
110; 111. 

Capitol and Bank, national, 31. 

Capitol, at Raleigh, destruction 
of, and event's political influ- 
ence, 108; 109; new one de- 
scribed, 122-123; (see State 
Capitol) ; 213. 

"Carlton Papers," or "Num- 
bers," by Dr. Joseph Cald- 
well, 92-3-4; 96; 97; 98; 100. 

Carolina City, 342. ■ 

Catholic, Roman, and the Con- 
stitution of North Carolina, 
159, et seq. 

"Central Railroad of North 
Carolina" (see North Caro- 
lina Railroad). 

Chapman, President Robert H., 
24-5; 26; 27. 

Charles I, 3. 

"Charlotte, a young Charles- 
ton," 385. 

Qiavis, John, negro teacher, 
29; a voter, 165. 

Chinese ^Museum, at Philadel- 
phia, 284. 

Cities of North Carolina, 
papulation of, in 1821, 64. 

Claiborne, Captain Wm., Sec- 
retary of State, Va., 2; 3. 

Clarendon county, 54. 

Classics, early teeaching of, 

Clay, Henry, and the Bank of 
United States, 220; 227; and 
North Carolina, 269: 280; 
281; 284; 286; 287; 314. 

"Clinton" letters, 132-4-5-6. 

Cloberry, an owner of Kent 
Island, 3. 

Commerce, increase of, 172. 

Commission, to Peace Confer- 
ence, 3i72; to Confederate 
Convention, 372; (see Peace 
Conference, and Swain, Gov. 
D. L.). 

Compensatory lands, Va., 3-4. 

Confederate officers, 409. 

Confederate Provisional Con- 
gress, 392, et seq.; 398. 

Connor, R. D. W., on Gover- 
nor Morehead, 412; 417-18- 

Constitutional revision, in 
North Carolina, 27; 42; 57- 
8; 66; Governor Swain 
quoted, 67-8 ; Morehead's 
speech on, 68-9-70-1-2-3-4; 
an extra legal convention, 
76; in court structure, 
86 to 89; and Virginia, 106; 
and census of 1830, 106-7; 
108; 110; 111; 118; 119; 121; 
122; 128; 129; 130; 140; 
Convention of 1835, for, 144; 
Gov. Swain on, 145 ; 146 ; 
Convention bill passed in 
House, 147 ; final passage, 
148; characteristics of, 148; 
vote on, 150-1 ; Convention 
for, 151, et seq.; leaders in, 
151; plans of, 151-2; com- 
mittees of, 152; methods of, 
152 ; Convention and borough 
members, 153; and the 
Convention Act, 156; and 
Fisher, Morehead and Gas- 
ton, 158; and Non-Protes- 
tant, 159-60; and the Ex- 
ecutive, 162-3; motive of, 
163 ; amendment provision, 
164-5 ; free negroes again, 
165-6 ; results of, 166-7 ; and 
Murphey, Caldwell, Fisher, 
Morehead, et al.. as designers 
and Gaston and others as 
constructors, 168; ratification 
and promulgation, 169. 

"Constitution and Union," 

Continental Congress, and 
North Carolina, 57. 



Convention, Constitutional (see 
Constitution, revision of), 

Convention, Greensboro, In- 
ternal Improvement or Trans- 
portation, 185 ; Raleigh, do., 

Convention, constitutional, un- 
official, 119; limited, 121; ad- 
dress of, 121-2 ; Transpor- 
tation, or Internal Improve- 
ment, 122-123 ; members of, 
123; 124; address of, 125; 
Transportation Convention 
of November, 1833, at Ra- 
leigh, 127; report of, to As- 
sembly, 129; (see Constitu- 
tion, revision of). 

Convention, "Old Line Whig," 
at Baltimore, 325-35. 

Convention, Whig National, 
1848, 281; (see Philadelphia 
Whig National Convention). 

Cornwallis, Lord, at Guilford 
Court House, 13; campaign 
of, 38-39. 

Cotton (see manufactures). 

Cotton Manufacture (see man- 

Counties, early, of North Caro- 
lina. 54-5. 

Counties, equal organization of 
(see West vs. East). 

Counties vs. Districts, 155. 

Countv representation, equality 
of, 57. 

"Court of Conference" (see 
Supreme Court). 

Courts, Equity, 86-7-8-9-90- 

Courts, of northern part of the 
state, 79. 

Cox, General, 405-6. 

Crawford, Presidential candi- 
date, 80. 

Crittenden or Kentucky Plan, 

Daniel, Judge, 34. 

Daniels. Secretary of Navy, on 
Morehead City, 421. 

Dan river (and Banister), 1- 
2; 8; poem on "Hills of 
Dan." 9. 

Dan River Railroad Company, 
354: (see Danville link). 

Danville "link" or "connec- 
tion," inception of, 294-5 ; 

296; 298; 300; 317-18; 320 
347; 348; 349; 350; 354 
355; 359-60; 368; 372-3 
395-6 : 397 ; 398 ; 400, 404. 

Davie, General, 22. 

Davis, George, 372. 

Davis, Gen. Jefferson, 279-280; 
as President of the Confed- 
erate States, 373 \ 392; and 
the Danville link, 395-7-8; 
400; 405-6; 409. 

Deaf and Dumb School, Ra- 
leigh, 279. 

Democrats, 174 (see Political 
Parties); organ of, 182; 
185; 280; 281; 308; and the 
North Carolina Central Rail- 
road, 319; 324; of the north. 
338; 363; 365; 368; 369; 

"Dialectic" and "Philanthropic" 
Societies, 27. 

Disunionists (see Secession). 

Dix, Miss Dorothy, and North 
Carolina politics, and care 
for the insane, 296. 

Dockerv, Gen. Alfred. 227; 324. 

Dorr's "Rebellion, 255-6. 

Dortch, Mr., of Wayne, 351. 

Douglas, Stephen A., 302; for 
Union, 310; visits North 
Carolina, 369. 

Dudley, Edward P., 101; 145; 
171 ; 173 ; 174 ; inauguration 
of as Governor. 175 ; char- 
acter of. 176; 182; 183; 185; 
187; 213; 217; 221. 

Durham, 320; 404. 

Dustin, Hannah, 6. 

East vs. West (see West vs. 
East), 58. 

Edgeworth, Maria, 178; 300. 

Edgeworth School (see Edge- 
worth Seminary). 

Edgeworth Seminary, 178-9 ; 
first announcement of open- 
ing by Mr. Morehead, 196-7; 
description of, 197; 208; 
277; 310; reminiscences of, 
345-6 ; 367 ; and the Guilford 
Grays, 367-8; 391. 

Education, 42; problems of, 
and school system, 66; 84; 
86; 95; 128; 178; 187; (see 
Edgeworth Seminary); 196; 
222; literacv, 235, foot-note; 
246; 275-6; 277; 280-81; 314. 



Edwards, Weldon N., 369. 
Electoral College, of North 

Carolina, 101. 
Ellis, Governor, 369. 
Emancipation, Pennsylvania 

and Ohio plans, 86. 
English and Welsh Quakers, 

in Guilford county, 38; 39. 
Evans, Col. and Mrs. Peter G., 

Evelin, George, 3. 
Evins, Rev. Henry, negro 

preacher, 29. 
Executive, the, in Constitu- 
tional Convention, 162-3-4 ; 

218: 267. 
"Experimental Railroad," in 

Raleigh, 111-12; 120; 131; 


Fauquier county, Va., 2. 

"Father of Modern North 
Carolina," "The," 399; 413; 

Fayetteville, and railroads, 183. 

Federalism, in University of 
North Carolina, 24; 25. 

Federal Reserve System, 180. 

Federal-National ratio, 59. 

"Fillmore & Donelson," 325; 

Fillmore & Graham, nomina- 
tions of in Guilford Co., 

Fillmore, Millard, 285 : 289-90 ; 
(see Fillmore & Graham). 

"Fillmore & Morehead," 321. 

Finance, in North Carolina. 43; 
44: system, 84-5; 122; 128; 
175-6; panic of 1837, 179- 
180; 181; 185; 212; 219; 223; 
231-2-3-4; 246; 254-5; 256- 
7-8; 344. 

Fisher, Charles, 64-5; 66; 68; 
quoted on finance, 84; influ- 
ence of report of on wool, 
103 ; and Constitutional Con- 
vention, 151 ; as President of 
N. C. C. R. R., 321 ; 344. 

Flodden Field, 5. 

Franklin, Governor, 65. 

Freehold vote for State Sen- 
ate, 293. 

Free negroes, 58 ; 64 ; 81 ; 87 ; 
91; 107; and the vote, 154, 
et seq.: 165-6; (see Quakers 
and Slave Trade) ; 209. 

Fremont, John C, 325. 

Free Trade, 259-60. 

Gales, Editor, 182. 

Gaston, Hon. William, 22; 28; 
32; 33; sketch of, 94-5; 110; 
124; 127-8; and Constitu- 
tional Convention, 153 et 
seq.: 156-7; 159; as a Catho- 
lic, 160, et seq.; and free 
negroes, 165-6; mentioned 
as successor to Chief Justice 
John Marshall, 167; 174; as 
Chief Justice, 143, foot-note; 

Gaston- Weldon "link" (see 
Weldon-Gaston "link"). 

Georgia, and railroads, 310. 

German settlements, 38; 56. 

Gilmer, John A., 208 ; 325 ; 363 ; 
364; 365. 

Goldsboro, and railroad track- 
laving, 316. 

Gorrell, Ralph, 208. 

"Government House," execu- 
tive mansion, after the Capi- 
tol fire, 108; 123; 175. 

"Governor Morehead," steam- 
boat, 211. 

Governorship, of North Caro- 
lina, 65. 

"Gradual emancipation" (see 
Anti-Slavery movements). 

Graham, William A., 77; 145; 
146; 174; 176; 180-1; and 
Governor Morehead, 273-4; 
276; 279-80; 294-5; and Ja- 
pan, 313; Whig State Presi- 
dential nominee, 365 ; 409. 

Graves. Calvin. 37 ; 296-7 ; 302- 
3; 312-13; 319. 

Gray, President and Mrs. Julius 
A., 399. 

"Great j\iail Route," 183. 

Greene, General, campaign of, 

Greene ]\Ionument Association, 

Greensboro, 39; 40; schools in, 
178; a poem on, by Miss 
Hoye, 235 ; as county seat, 
236; High School, 275; 
Female College, 275 ; closing 
war scenes at, 404, et seq. 

"Greensboro-Leaksville bludg- 
eon," 359-60. 

Greensboro Patriot, 39 ; editor's 
large plans, 178; 182. 

Greensboro Railroad Conven- 
tion, 1849, 302. 

Greensville and Roanoke Rail- 
road, 169. 



Guilford Court House, Zl . 

Guilford County, 37-8; Gover- 
nor Tryon on, 38; and the 
Constitutional Convention. 
149-50; and Whigs, 182; and 
Morehead for Governor, 183 ; 
189; "Thunder" of, 238. 

Guilford Court House Battle, 
13; 38-9. 

Guilford Guards, 208; Grays, 
367; 387. 

Gulf Stream (see "Lost At- 

Gwvnne, Walter, engineer, 308; 
311; 318; 319. 

Hamilton, Alexander, 180. 
Hamilton, of Bothwellhaugh, 

"Hard Cider and Log Cabin" 
campaign, 208. 

Harding, President, 180. 

Harpers Ferry (see Brown, 

Harrison, Gen. W. H., 168; 
death of, 220. 

Harrison & Tyler campaign, 

Hatteras, Cape (See "Lost At- 
lantis"), poem on, 52. 

Haywood, Wm. H., Jr., 146. 

Hawks, of Newbern, 68. 

Helper, Hinton Rowan, 364. 

Henrv, Louis D., 223 ; 228 ; 233 ; 

"Henrv, O." (see O. Henrv). 

Henry" VIII, 5. 

Hill, Gen. D. H., 409. 

"Hills of Dan," poem, by Abra- 
ham Forrest Morehead, 9. 

History, of North Carolina, 
proposed, 91. 

Holmes, Governor, 65. 

Hooper, Wm., tutor, 28. 

House of Commons (Repre- 
sentatives), 64. 

Hove, Mary Ann, teacher, 178; 

Impending Crisis, Helper's, 

Indiana (see Quakers and In- 

Indians, in U. S., 106. 

Industrial Convention, 309; 
(State Fair, etc.). 

Insurrections, slave. 111. 

Internal Improvements, 42-3 ; 
44-5-6-7-8; 75; 83; (see 

"Carlton Papers") ; 98-9-100; 

Greensboro Convention, 185 ; 

252: (see Railroads) ; 299. 
Iredell, James I, 60. 
Iredell, General James II, 86; 

94; 98-9-100. 

"Jacksonism," North Carolina 
against, 80; 110; and "Anti- 
Jacksonism," 127; 142-3; 
179; 180; 196. 

Jackson, General Andrew, 24; 
80; 81; 100; 101; 112; 179; 

James IV, 5. 

Johnston, Gen., in North Caro- 
lina, 404, et seq. 

Joyner, Speaker Andrew, 297. 

Judicial districts, or circuits, 
32; 34. 

Judiciar}', reorganization of, 

Kecoughtan (Hampton), Va., 2. 
Kent Island, Va. (later Md.),3. 
Kerr, Hon. John, 281. 
King George county, Va., 2. 
"Know Nothing," or "Ameri- 
can" party, 325. 

"Laird of Muirhead," ballad by 
Scott, 4-5. 

"Land of Eden," in North 
Carolina, described by Wm. 
Byrd of Westover, 8-9. 

Lane, Lunsford, 221. 

Lauchope House, 5 ; 6. 

Lawyers, notable, of North 
Carolina, 30. 

Leaksville, Z7 ; 103; 355; 356. 

L'Ouverture, Toussaint, and 
Hayti, 40. 

Lee, Commander, 405. 

Legal Reports, of North Caro- 
lina, 30. 

Lincoln, President, 195-6; as 
candidate, 368; 381-2; on 
secession, 392. 

Lindsav, Ann Eliza, 41 ; (see 
Morehead, Mrs. John Mot- 
ley I). 

Lindsay family, origin and 
members of, 40-41. 

Literary and School Fund (see 

"Loco Focos," 181. 

"Locomotive," 93; 105. 



"Lost Atlantis," 50; cause of 
problems to North Carolina, 

Macon, Nathaniel, 151, et seq.; 

159: 166. 
"Magnetic Telegraph," in North 

Carolina, 279; 280. 
Mangum, Priestly H., tutor, 29. 
JMangum, Senator, 276. 
IManufactures, cotton, in North 

Carolina, 102-3; 184-5; 313. 
Manumission (see Quakers and 

Marshall, Chief Justice John, 

Martin. Governor Alexander, 

39; 218. 
Martinsville (see Guilford 

Court House), 37. 
Mason, John Y., 25; 276; 279. 
Mebane, B. Frank, on New 

York and North Carolina, 

Mebane, James, 97. 
Memphis Railroad Conven- 
tion, 301-2. 
Mexican War, 277; 279; 281. 
Minority protection, 155 ; 158. 
Minstrelsy of the Scottish Bor- 
der, by Scott, ballad from on 

John Muirhead of Lauchope 

and Bullis, 4-5. 
"Minute Men," 369. 
Alitchell, Professor Elisha, 28. 
Mordecai, President of Raleigh 

& Gaston R. R., 300. 
Morehead, Abraham Forrest, 

jMorehead, Ann Eliza I (see 

Morehead, Mrs. John Motley 

Morehead, Ann Eliza II, 177; 

Morehead, Charles I (also 
Muirhead), 2; 4; 6. 

Morehead, Charles II, 6. 

Morehead City, 321 (see Shep- 
pard's Point ; also Beaufort) ; 
322; 323; 324; 338; 339-40; 
progress of, 340-41 ; an edi- 
torial letter on, 341-2-3-4; 
345; 349; 359; description of, 
360-1-2; 400; 410; 418; Sec'y 
Daniels on, 421. 

Morehead, Corinna, 80. 

Morehead, David (see Muir- 
head, David). 

Morehead, Emma Victoria, 
177; 220. 

Morehead, Eugene Lindsay, 
282; 399; 402. 

Morehead family of Va., 4. 

Morehead, Gov. James Turner, 

Morehead, James Turner I, 10; 
19; 29; 37; 104; 174; 187. 

Morehead, James Turner II, 
209; 221; Major, career of, 

Morehead, John I. 2; 4. 

Morehead, John II, 2; birth 
and marriage of, 6; charac- 
teristics, 7-8; his and his 
wife's ideas on education of 
their children, 10; cause of 
failure of, 103. 

Morehead, Mrs. John II (Mot- 
ley Obedience), 6; remark- 
able experiences of, in the 
Revolution, 7; home of, 8; 
14: death of, 401. 

Morehead, John Lindsay, 178; 
220; Col., 399. 

Morehead. John Motley I, 2; 
birth of, 4; 8; 9; brothers 
and sisters of, 10; education, 
plans for, 10; under Dr. 
David Caldwell, 12-13-14 ; 
Caldwell described by, in let- 
ter bv, 14-15 ; his Greek and 
Latin, 15-16-17-18-19; enter- 
ing the Universit}', 19-20; 
under Dr. Joseph Caldwell, 
21-2 ; influence on, 23 ; fel- 
low-students of, 24; in the 
Dialectic Society, 25 ; course 
of, in student difficulties, 26; 
graduation, 28; tutor, 29; to 
study law under Senator 
Murphey, 29 ; 31 ; settles in 
practice at Wentworth, 35 ; 
and future wife, 37 ; 41 ; law 
books and book plate of, 41 
and 49 ; motto of, 49 ; disciple 
of Murphey, 49; becomes a 
Representative in Assembly, 
50; charactertistics of, 50-1; 
marriage of, 63 ; lieutenant 
to Charles Fisher, in As- 
sembly, 65 ; on committees, 
65-6 ; first speech of, 68-9- 
70-1-2-3-4; devoted to pro- 
fession of personal affairs, 
76; an incident in practice 
of, 77; anecdotes of, as law- 
yer, 78-9; fellow lawyers of, 



79; "Blandwood," home of, 
80; two children of, 80; elec- 
tion to Assembly, second 
time, 80; favors General 
Jackson, 81 ; prestige of, po- 
litically, 82; and railroad be- 
ginnings, 83 ; on educational 
committees, 86 ; presents 
Quaker proposal for emanci- 
pation, 86; other proposals, 
86; on his profession, 86; on 
Equity Courts, 86-7 ; speech 
by, on Equity Courts, 87-8- 
9-90-1 ; emancipation bill 
presented, lost, 91 ; and his- 
tory, 91-2 ; re-election, 92 ; re- 
ceives M.A. degree, 92 ; no 
longer a lieutenant in As- 
sembh', 94 ; on Educational 
Committee, etc., 95-6 ; known 
as defender of schools, re- 
ligious bodies, widows and 
orphans, defectives and in- 
sane, slaves, free negroes, 
the West, state history, ju- 
dicial justice and exact legal 
procedure, and the ''Carl- 
ton" railroad, sea to Tennes- 
see, 96; an elector for Gen- 
eral Andrew Jackson, 100 ; 
101 ; 102; legal opinion of on 
a duel, 102; operations of at 
Leaksville, 103 ; occasion of 
retirement from public life 
in 1828, 103-4; trustee of the 
University, 104 ; a Jackson 
elector again, 112; issues a 
circular on candidacy for 
Senate, 113-118; 119; and 
finance, 122; and the unof- 
ficial railroad convention, 
124; and the N. C. R. R. and 
Beaufort harbor, 126; varied 
interests of, 127-8; and the 
"Clinton" letters, 132-4-5-6; 
definite railway leadership, 
speech of, 136-7-8-9-40 ; 
methods of, 143; against 
Jackson convention, 149 ; 
candidate for Constitutional 
Convention, 149; address of 
his committee, 149-50 ; mem- 
ber of convention, 150, ct 
seq.; and free negroes, 154; 
and the East in convention, 
156; and Gaston, compared, 
158; chairman of Com- 
mittee of the Whole, 159; 
and Non-Protestant test, 

160-1 ; and Christian profes- 
sion, 161 ; and the 4th of 
July, 164; and Gaston, 167-8; 
as a designer of the Consti- 
tution, 168; a Whig leader, 
170; 172; as a Whig elector, 
173; family of, 177-8; educa- 
tion of, 178; and Edgeworth 
Seminary, 178-9; as candi- 
date for Governor, 183; cot- 
ton mill of, 184; at the 
Greensboro transportation 
convention, 185; not at 
Raleigh convention of 1838. 
186 ; and attacks because of 
Quakers and brother, 188; 
nomination for Governor by 
home county, et al., 189-90; 
formal notification by State 
Convention, and reply, 191- 
2-3-4-5 ; and slavery, 195-6 ; 
and the national bank, 196 ; 
and state issues, 196 ; and 
Edgeworth Seminary open- 
ing, 197-8; Democratic op- 
ponent, 199 ; canvas by, 201- 
2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 ; and free 
negroes, 209; election as Gov- 
ernor and rejoicings, 209-10; 
steamboat said to be named 
for him, 211; and Harrison's 
election, 212; at "Govern- 
ment House," 212-13; in- 
auguration and address of, 
213-14-15-16-17; character 
of leadership of, national, 
217-18; and Governor Mc- 
Nutt of Mississippi, 218-19; 
mentioned for National 
President, 219; and other 
notable Moreheads, 219-20; 
and family at "Government 
House," 220-21 ; in office, 221 ; 
and Swamp Land reclama- 
tion, 221 ; as President of U. 
of N. C. trustees, 222 ; stimu- 
lus of, to various state pro- 
jects, 222; renomination of 
on Clay ticket, 223 ; called 
"John Moonshine Morehead" 
by Democratic editor, 223 ; 
again called to canvass, 224 ; 
address of acceptance, 225- 
27; his itinerary, 227-8; ac- 
count of debate, 228-9-30-1- 
2-3-4 ; reception at home, 
236-7 ; characteristics of his 
campaign, 237-8; re-inaugur- 
ation, 238-9; characteristics 



of his administration, 239; 
state policies of in famous 
message of, 239-63; Ala- 
bama Times on, 264; London 
Sun on, 264 ; other papers on, 
264-5 ; installation, 266 ; men- 
tioned for Vice-President, 
267; host of Henry Clay, 
268-9 : abstract of message 
of, 270-71; and his Whig 
Assembly's results. 271 ; his 
departure from Raleigh, 271- 
2; comments on, 273; and 
Graham, 273-4; his home re- 
ception, 274 ; a County Judge, 
274; suggested for Congress, 
275 ; various activities of, 
275; and the Bank of North 
Carolina, 276; Hon. Edward 
Stanly on, 276; and his phil- 
anthropic projects, 277; and 
the University, 277-8; pro- 
posed for National Senate, 
278 : and the Common School 
or Literary Board, and Deaf 
and Dumb School, 279 ; 
recommends Calvin H. Wiley 
as head of School system, 
281 ; and the Whig National 
Convention, 281 ; chosen 
President of convention. 282; 
address of, 283-4; closing 
address of, 285-6-7-8; vote 
of, 286; notification of candi- 
dates, by, 288-292; prestige 
of, 293; at a railroad meet- 
ing. 299 ; and the Danville 
link, 300; varying activities 
of, 300 ; at the Salisbury rail- 
road convention, 300-1 ; as 
Murphey and Caldwell incar- 
nate, 301 ; in New York, 302 ; 
and Greensboro Railroad 
Convention, 302-3-4 ; and 
railroad canvass, 304-5 ; letter 
of, 305-6 ; 307 ; success of, 
307; becomes President of 
the N. C. Central R. R., 
308; President of the In- 
dustrial Association, 309 ; 
asking for geological, min- 
eralogical and agricultural 
surveys, 309 ; and break- 
ing ground for N. C. R. R. 
at Greensboro, 311-12-13; 
surveys the Atlantic & North 
Carolina R. R. and the North 
Carolina & Western R. R., 
314; his visions of trade. 314; 

and Sheppard's Point at 
Beaufort, 315-16; re-election 
of as Pres. of R. R., 316; and 
political directors, 316; po- 
litical and other comments 
on, 317; account of railway 
progress. 318-19; and poli- 
tics, 319; re-election, 319; 
resignation as President of 
N. C. C. R. R., 321 ; contrac- 
tor for A. & N. C. R. R., 321 ; 
steamer named in honor of, 
321 ; mentioned for Vice- 
president, with Fillmore, 321 ; 
progress of, on A. & N. C. 
R. R. contract, 2)22 ; and the 
dreams of Murphey and 
Caldwell. 323; and Whig 
leadership again, 324-5 ; at 
the Baltimore "Old Line 
Whig" Convention, 326 ; great 
speech of, 326-7-8-9-30-31- 
Z2-Zi-3^2,S \ address in Vir- 
ginia, 22>S-6-7 ; letter of, on 
Morehead City, 338-39; as 
President of Sheppard's 
Point Land Company, 339- 
40; adroit diplomacy of, 343- 
4 ; succeeds while others 
fail; 344; incidents with chil- 
dren, 345-6 ; elected to lower 
house to promote railroad 
development, 347-8 ; attacks 
on, 349-50; and the "great 
debate," 351-53; comments 
and estimates on. 355-62; 
portraits of, 362; defends the 
Union, 363 ; at National Con- 
stitutional Union Conven- 
tion, Baltimore, 366, et seq.; 
leader in, 366-7 ; elected 
State Senator as a "Union- 
ist." 368; in the Senate. 370; 
address of, 371 ; a commis- 
sioner to ihe Peace Confer- 
ence at Washington, 2)72 ; 
374 ; why chosen, 374-5 ; ad- 
dress of, 277 ; and David 
Dudley Field in, 378; ad- 
dresses of, 378-9-80; vote of, 
in Conference, 380-1 ; limita- 
tion of, 382; return of, and 
address by, 382-3-4; letter 
of to Chief Justice ■ Ruffin, 
384-5; and Confederate Pro- 
visional Congress, 386, et 
seq.; elected to Confeder- 
ate Provisional Congress, 
392; goes to Richmond, 392, 



et seq.; letter of, 393-4; on 
Financial and Commercial 
Committee, 394 ; and the 
Danville link and President 
Davis, 395-6-7; letter of, 
397-8; at age of 66, closes 
his public career, 399 ; family 
of, 399; death of mother of, 
401 ; letters of to Gen. Bragg, 
402-4 ; and the currency, 402 ; 
at Blandwood in war's clos- 
ing scenes, 404, et seq.; offer 
to President Davis, 405 ; 
striking scenes in home of, 
described by daughter, Mrs. 
W. R. Walker, 401-8; con- 
sulted by Governor Worth, 
410; engine named for him, 
410; and his railway inter- 
ests, 411; efforts to consoli- 
date state's railroads, 411- 
12; his hopes, 411; illness of, 
412; plans of, 413; vision of, 
413 ; after influence of, 413 ; 
religious belief of, 413; 
wishes as to burial, 413-14; 
a railway memorial proposed, 
414; tributes to, 414, et seq.; 
funeral of, 414 ; great de- 
fense by recalled, 414-15; 
station on Danville link 
named for him, 416; and 
"Modern North Carolina," 
417-18-19 ; characterization 
by Col. G. S. Bradshaw in 
1921, 419; called 'The 
Father of M'odern North 
Carolina," 420-21 ; and North 
Carolina's future, 421. 

Morehead, Mrs. John Motley 
I, as a young lady, 41 ; mar- 
riage, 63; as Mrs. Governor- 
elect Morehead, 211. 

Morehead, Joseph, 2. 

Morehead, Letitia Harper, 80. 

Morehead, Letitia Harper, 
daughter of John Motley 
Morehead I, 177 ; 220. 

Morehead, Major Joseph Mot- 
ley (and Mrs. Morehead) 
poem by, 39 ; statue of, 39. 

Morehead, Mary Corrina, 177; 
208; 220; 367. 

Morehead, Mary Louise, 177. 

Morehead, Samuel, 10; 104. 

Morris, Robert, 179-180. 

Motley, Capt. Joseph, 6-7. 

Motley, Obedience (see More- 
head, Mrs. John II). 

Moseley, Wm. D., tutor, 28 ; 29. 

Mt. Mitchell, poem on, by Al- 
fred S. Waugh, 52. 

Mt. Tina, Hayti, 51. 

Muirhead, Charles (see More- 
head, Charles). 

Muirhead clan, origin of, in 
Clydesdale. 5. 

Muirhead, David I, 6. 

Muirhead, David III (also 

. Morehead), 2; 3; 4. 

Muirhead, James II. 

Muirhead, James III, last of 
the line to own Lauchope 
House, 6. 

Muirhead, John I, of Lau- 
chope and Bullis, 4-5. 

Muirhead, John II, 6. 

Muirhead, Dr. Richard, Sec- 
retary of State of Scotland, 

Muirhead, Sir William, of Lau- 
chope I, 5. 

Muirhead, Sir William, of Lau- 
chope II, 5. 

Murphey, Archibald De Bow, 
23 ; his statesmanlike plans, 
27; sketch of, 30-31; called 
"Father of Public Improve- 
ment," 30; Governor Gra- 
ham, on, 31 ; a teacher of 
the law, students of, 31; 32; 
chosen Judge, 33-4; reporter 
for Supreme Court, 34 ; fa- 
mous reports of, 41-2 ; Niles 
Register on, 43 ; on finance, 
43-44; most famous report 
of, 44-5-6-7-8 ; Jared Sparks 
on, 443 ; characteristics of, 
50 ; description of, 77-8 ; 
failure of, 82 ; and state his- 
tory, 91-2; 323. 

Nash, Judge Frederick, 33. 
National Constitutional Union 

Convention, Baltimore, 366, 

ct seq. 
National currency system (see 

Negro, colonization of, 27-8; 

40 ; 41-2 ; 81 ; valuation in 

New Berne, and railroads, 306. 
Newspapers (see Press). 
Non-Protestant Christians and 

the Constitution of North 

Carolina, 160. 
Norfolk, wishes to join North 

Carolina, 300. 



North Carolina, structural con- 
ditions of, 44-5-6-7-8; prob- 
lems of, 50, ct seq.; first set- 
tlements in, 54; eastern falls 
and rapids of, 55-6; Pied- 
mont, 55 ; Yadkin-Catawba 
triangle of, 56; mountains of 
and plains of, 56; settlers, in, 
56; population of, 56-7; and 
Continental Congress, 57 ; 
and political theory, 60-61 ; 
cities of, 64; history of, pro- 
posed, 91; (See "Carlton 
Papers") ; 98-9; manufac- 
tures in, 102; 103; balance of 
trade in, 103 ; influence on by 
Virginia, 106; various ideas 
in, 107; Assembly analysis, 
131 ; press of described, 141- 
2; political power in, 144; 
emigration from, 155 ; long 
Assembly of, 176; 194; and 
literacy, 235 ; and Presidents, 
269; 286; growth of, by 1856, 
338; and railroad debt, 347; 
and powder mills, 363 ; and 
the mails, 366; in the Nat. 
Const. Union Convention, 
366, ct seq.; statistics of 
1860, 374 ; vote on State Con- 
vention in 1861, 386; a song 
of in 1861, 387-8; and the 
"Stars and Stripes," 388-9- 
90-91 ; in transition, 389- 
90-91 ; prepares for war, 
391-2; part of the Confed- 
eracy, 391 ; closing war 
scenes, 400, et seq.; as "mod- 
ern," 417-19; Western N. C. 
and New York, 419 ; cities 
of, 419-20; rank of, 419-20; 
and hydro-electric power, 

North Carolina Railroad, 97; 
98; Governor James Iredell 
on, 98-9-100; 108; 110; 111; 
112; 119; 120; 125; (see 
Railroads); 126; 132-4-5-6; 
138-9-40; 144-5; 146; 169; 
177; 183; 184; 185: 186-7; 
213; 277: and the Danville 
idea, 294; 295; 296; 300-4- 
5-6-7; organization of, 308; 
309; 310; 311; breaking 
ground at Greensboro, 311- 
12-13; progress of, 316; 318; 
and native labor, 318; open 
to Durham, 320; first freight 
tariff, 320; progress of, 320- 

21; last rail laid, 322; 359; 

consolidation urged, 410; 

411-12; 418. 
North Carolina & Western R. 

R., surveyed, 314; 322; 347; 

348; 357; 366; 411; 418. 
"North and South," 181; 195; 

"Northern Neck," Va., 2; 4. 
Northumberland county, Va., 

2; 4. 
Nullification, 107-8. 
"Numbers of Carlton" (see 

"Carlton Papers"). 

"O. Henry," 179. 

"Old Line Whigs," 325. 

Old North State Forever, The, 
authorship of, 210-11. 

Olmsted, Professor Denison, 

^ 28 ; 75. 

"Opposition" party, 363; con- 
vention of, 365-6, et seq.: 

Paxton, Judge John, H. 

Peace Conference, proposed, 
2)72; in session, 374, ct seq.; 
sectional aims in, 376; dele- 
gates to, 376; sentiments of 
Mr. Rives of Va., 377-8; 
Amendment to Constitution 
proposed to Congress, 381 ; 
remarks on, 382-3. 

"Pello," first locomotive at 
Greensboro, 321. 

Pennsylvania railroad pro- 
posed, 83. 

Penitentiarj^ 253-4. 

Petersburg and Roanoke rail- 
road, 112; (see Railroads); 
120: 126; 171. 

Philadelphia Whig National 
Convention of 1848, 281-2-3- 

"Philanthropic" and "Dialectic" 
Societies, 27. 

"Piedmont," definition, 1; 2; 
plateau, 55; railway, 348; 
355; 398. 

Pitcher, Molly, 6. 

Pittsylvania county, Va., 2. 

Political science, as discovered 
and formulated in America, 
59 ; "independence and union" 
discussed, 60; and the Con- 
vention of 1835, 157; in 
North Carolina, 163. 



Political parties, feeling in, 
102; Whigs and Jacksonians, 
144; 170; 173; 174; (see 
Whigs) ; (see Democrats) ; 
175; 180; 239; 241; 281; 281- 
8 ; 295-6 ; breaking up, 325 ; 
and railroads, in N. C., 347 ; 
349; 363; 364; 365; 368; 

Polk, Gen., of Rowan, 170. 

Polk, President, 25; 29; 276; 

Population, of North Carolina, 
56-7; 58; of cities in 1821, 
64; 68; negro, 88-9; 106-7; 

Port, for North Carolina, 45 ; 
50; 53-4; (see Beaufort); 
(see Wilmington) ; 185. 

Portsmouth and Norfolk lines, 
177; (see Railroads). 

Presbyterians, in Guilford 
county, 38. 

Presidential Candidates, Whig, 
1^8, 284. 

Presidential nominations, mode 
of, 81. 

Press, of North Carolina, 141- 

Prince William county, Va., 2. 

Principle or Power, in Con- 
stitutional Convention, 156. 

Property representation, 155-6. 

Public school system (see Edu- 

Quakers and Indiana, 81. 

Quakers, in politics, 32; 35; 36; 
37; 46; 47; 48; 49; 50; 51; 
56; 67; (See Quaker, Revo- 
lution, etc.) ; 92; 105; 118; 
126; and slavery, 164; 257; 

Quakers, and slavery, 40; 42- 
3; 80-1; 87; 187; 188. 

Quarry railroad (see Experi- 
mental Railroad). 

Queen Mary Stuart, 5. 

"Rachel," a remarkable negro 
slave, 7. 

Railroads, beginning of, 82-3 ; 
Piedmont trans-state line 
proposed, 92 ; and the "Carl- 
ton Papers" of President 
Joseph Caldweli; 92-3-4 ; 96 ; 
97; various projects, 97; "ad- 
dress" on, 97; "Experi- 
mental" at Fayetteville pro- 

posed, 97 ; a remedy, 103 ; 
105-106; 108-9; (see Experi- 
mental Railroad) ; 119; 121; 
vs. water routes, 124 ; 126- 
7; 128; 129; 130; 131-132; 
and Guilford county, 132; 
"Clinton" letters on, 132-4- 
5-6; Guilford meeting, 137- 
8; Wilmington and Raleigh 
line, 144-5; 168; other lines, 
169; promotion of, 170; Wil- 
mington & Raleigh or Wel- 
don road, 171 ; stocks of, 
171-2; 172; 173; 176-177; 
181-2; 183; westward, 184; 
first railways completed, 199- 
20O-201; 213; 243-4; 244; 
245; of 1846, 277; 280; 294; 
295; 296; 298; 299; Gaston- 
Wcldon link, 300, 301; 302; 
303 ; 304 ; 305 ; 306 ; 307 ; 308- 
10; (see N.C.R. R.) ; 314; 
statistics of, 314; progress of, 
316; political directors, 316- 
17; 318; 319; statistics, 319; 
322 ; failures of, 344 ; suc- 
cess of, in N. C, 344; 347; 
348; 350; 408; (see Danville 
Link) ; 411. 

Raleigh,- 64; and Railroads, 
145; (see Railroads) ; 186. 

Raleigh and Gaston Railroad, 
169; 170; 171; 172; 177; 
trains on, 183-4; 186; 187; 
first train of, in Raleigh, 200- 
201; 213; 242-3; 244; 278; 
294- 314. 

Ransom, M. W., 372. 

"Regulators," 13; 38. 

Reid, David Settle, 37; 308; 

Republican party, 337 ; (see Re- 
publican-Abolitionist) ; (see 
"Black Republican"). 

"RepubHcan," principles, 186; 
name used by both parties, 

Repudiation, 254-5. 

Revolution, The (see Conti- 
nental Congress). 

Richmond & Danville R. R., 
completion of, 322; (see 
Danville link). 

"Rip Van Winkle," epithet, 

Roanoke, Danville & Junction 
R. R., 172. 

Roanoke Valley, 1 ; 2 ; and 
Norfolk trade, 43; and Dan 



population, 57; and federal 
leaders, 60 ; 98-9 ; as railroad 
objection, 105; canal at 
rapids of, 106; 110-11; 124; 
169; 183. 

Rockingham county, name and 
character, 36. 

Ruffin, Thomas, 31; 33; 372; 

Rush, Dr. Benjamin, 13. 

Salisbury Convention (rail- 
road),' 300. 

San Domingo and free negroes, 

Saunders, Romulus M., 186; 
199 ; canvas by, 201-2-3-4-5- 
6-7-8-9; 303; 309. 

Sauro Indians, 8. 

Schools, common, 187 (see 

Scotch and Scotch-Irish, in 
Guilford county, 37. 

Scott & Graham, nomination 
of, 314. 

Sea-to-Tennessee railroad, 93. 

Seawell, Judge Henry, 33 ; 34. 

Secession. 309; 310; 311; 313; 
(see "Old Line Whig" Con- 
vention. Baltimore) ; 364; 
368; 369; 370; 387; 389-90. 

Senate and Commons ratio, 

Settle, Thomas, 10-11; 36. 

Settlers, in North Carolina, 56. 

Sheppard's Point, 133 ; 315 ; 
(see Morehead City) ; Shep- 
pard's Point Land Company, 

Sherman, John, 364. 

Slavery, in Guilford county, 39. 

Slaves, trade in North Caro- 
lina, 91 ; status of di