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Garland Eugene Midyette
(January 17, 1874 - September 20, 1932)
Born Jan. 17, 1874 in Fairfield, he was the son of Thomas Garland "Top" Midyette and Mrs. Margaret Gray Spencer Simmons Midyette. He was educated in the public schools of Fairfield and Martin County; went to Business School in Baltimore, Md.; Old Trinity College, Durham and Wake Forest Law School. He was married on May 7, 1902 to Mary Buxton, daughter of Samuel N. and Elizabeth Peele Buxton of Jackson, N.C. To this union were born: Samuel Buxton Midyette (1903-1965), Mildred Carter Midyette (1907-1977), Garland Eugene Midyette, Jr. (born c 1912) and Thomas G. Midyette. He was licensed to practice Law in 1900; was a member of the firm Gay & Midyette, Lawyers; Chairman Northampton Co. Democratic Executive Committee 1904; a member of the General Assembly in 1907; County Attorney from 1910 to 1924; Solicitor of Third Judicial District of N.C.; resident Superior Court Judge for the Third Judicial District of N.C. from 1924 to 1932. He joined the Methodist Episcopal Church when quite young and was a loyal and devoted member; served as Supt. of Sunday School and Church Steward. He was also a member of the Masonic Order, Junior Order and Knights Templar. He died of a heart attack Sept. 20, 1932 while holding Court in Elizabeth City. His father died when he was 5 years old and his mother when he was 14. He and his sister, Margaret Gray "Maggie" Midyette, went to live with their half-brother, Daniel Simmons, in Williamston. After finishing school he worked as confidential clerk and bookkeeper for William Slade, saved his money and sent himself to old Trinity College. Following college he worked for the mercantile firm of Buxton & Baugham in Rich Square, N.C. In 1899 he entered law school at Wake Forest College, where, while still a freshman, he was a member of the debating team for debate with Trinity College, an unheard of honor. On receiving his law license, he went to Jackson, N.C. and joined Benjamin Stancell Gay in practice. Gay died in 1916, and Midyette and W. H. S. Burgwyn practiced together for 3 years. In 1919 Archibald Cree Gay, son of B. S. Gay, joined him in practice. He was appointed Solicitor of the Third Judicial District and served until 1924 when he was appointed Judge of the Superior Court by Gov. Cameron Morrison. In 1927 Samuel Buxton Midyette joined A. C. Gay to continue the firm of Gay & Midyette. Judge Midyette was known to have a brilliant mind which, combined with his devotion to duty, his willingness to work, and his honesty and integrity, won him respect among the people, the Bar and the Bench. It was as a Judge, however, that his talents bloomed. His reputation for fairness and knowledge spread throughout the state. He was known in the press and among the Bar as a model, not only of the law, but of how the law could be explained in everyday language so that it could be understood by the jury. He possessed a dry sense of humor. George Green of the Halifax Bar, is quoted as having said the first time he saw Midyette, he was heatedly arguing with a telegraph clerk over who was the ugliest man to come to Martin City, Midyette or the telegraph clerk. His friend and adversary, C. G. Peebles, pronounced the following eulogy: "He came to this country in his young manhood, unknown, without wealth, without pull, without influence or help of kin, and by the weight of his own ability, by his sterling integrity, by his indomitable courage, by his faithfulness to every trust imposed upon him, and by his unselfish, sunny and lovable disposition, he won for himself in the hearts of the people of this country, a place unsurpassed by any man within its limits."
(Photo and informtion from Hyde County History published by the Hyde County Historical Society in 1976.)
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