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Granville County Biographies

ALSTON, Lemuel James (1760-1836), representative, was born in Granville county, N.C., in 1760; son of Solomon Alston, grandson of Solomon and Nancy (Hinton) Alston, and great-grandson of John and Mary (Clark?) Alston. John Alston was traditionally said to have been a native of Bedfordshire, England, however many questions have arisen about that over the years; whatever his origins, the family settled in the Chowan County, North Carolina area about 1711. Lemuel removed to what is now Greenville, S.C., represented that district in the 10th and 11th congresses, serving 1807-11, and removed thence to Clarke county, Ala., in 1816, where he became chief justice, presiding over the Orphans and county courts from 1816 to May 1821. He married Elisabeth, daughter of Col. Joseph John and Elizabeth (Alston) Williams, and a second time Elisabeth, widow of Joseph John Williams. Jr., the half brother of his first wife. He died in Clarke County, Ala., in 1836.
 

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AMIS, Lewis,  of the firm of L. Amis & Bro., dealers in groceries and general merchandise, at Vale Mills, Giles Co., Tenn., was born December 5, 1836, in Pulaski, Tenn. He is a son of John and Martha A. Amis, both natives of North Carolina. John Amis was the son of John and Pollie Amis, natives of Granville County, N. C., and Martha Amis was the daughter of Thomas and Pollie (Robertson) Wilkinson, natives of North Carolina. The parents of our subject were married August 14, 1823, in Williamson County, and to them were born eight children, named Mary A., Nancy, Martha J., John W., James F., Field R., Lewis and Nancy E. J. Our subject was educated in the district schools, and his occupation has been merchandising and farming from early boyhood. In 1866 he was married to Rebecca E. Summerhill, daughter of Horace and Parmelia Summerhill, of Lauderdale County, Ala. To our subject and wife was born one son, John L. The Amis Bros. are Democrats in politics, and our subject is a member of the F. & A. M. and also the A. L. of H. The Amis family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and in high standing. They have been successful men in all their undertakings, and are regarded as prosperous and industrious businessmen. The older members of the family came here at an early date and have been known in this State for nearly a century. They are of Scotch-Irish descent.

(Goodspeed's History of Giles County, 1886)

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BURTON, Hutchins Gordon (1782-1836), was (nephew of Robert Burton), a Representative from North Carolina; born in Virginia in 1782; when three years of age his father died and he was sent to Granville County, where he was reared by his uncle, Col. Robert Burton; moved to Mecklenburg County, N.C., in 1803; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1806 and practiced; member of the State house of commons in 1809; elected attorney general of North Carolina in 1810 and served until his resignation in November 1816; moved to Halifax, N.C., in 1816, and again elected a member of the State house of commons in 1817; elected as a Republican to the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Congresses, as a Crawford Republican to the Eighteenth Congress, and served from December 6, 1819, until March 23, 1824, when he resigned; Governor of North Carolina 1824-1827; resumed the practice of law in Halifax; was the host of General Lafayette when the latter visited Raleigh during his tour of the United States in 1825; died while on a visit to relatives in Iredell County, N.C., April 21, 1836; interment in Unity Churchyard, Beattys Ford, Lincoln County, N.C.

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BURTON, Robert, (1747-1825) was born in Mecklenburg County, Va., on October 20, 1747; planter; moved to Granville County, N. C, in 1775, and served in the Revolutionary army, attaining the rank of colonel; delegate from North Carolina to the Continental Congress 1777-78; member of the commission which established the boundary line between North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, in 1801. He was the son of Hutchins C. Burton  and Tabitha Minge, and the uncle of Hutchins G. Burton.  The other children of Hutchins & Tabitha (Minge)  Burton  were:  John Burton (married Mary Gordon); Hutchins Burton, Noel Hunt Burton, James Minge Burton, Martha Burton, and Mary Burton.  Hutchins Burton (Sr.) was the son of Noel Hunt Burton and Judith Allen.  The other children of Noel Hunt & Judith (Allen) Burton were:  John Burton, Josiah Burton, Robert Burton, Benjamin Burton and Allen Burton.  Robert Burton married in 1775 to  Agatha Keeling, the step-daughter of Judge John Williams, whose surname she had adopted; he died in Granville County, N. C, on May 31,1825 and was buried in Williamsboro, on the old Montpelier Plantation, in current day Vance County, originally owned by his father-in-law.

See also further info on this family under Frances H. Burton-Dickins
 

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HANCOCK, Franklin Wills, Jr.(1894-1969), a Representative from North Carolina; born in Oxford, Granville County, N.C., November 1, 1894; attended the public schools, Horner Military Academy, Oxford, N.C., and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1916 and commenced practice in Oxford, N.C.; also interested in insurance and real estate; during the First World War attended officers' training camp at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.; chairman of the Granville County Democratic Executive committee in 1924; served in the State senate 1926-1928; member of the State house of representatives 1928-1930; trustee of the Colored Orphanage of North Carolina at Oxford 1920-1937; delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1940; elected as a Democrat to the Seventy-first Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Charles M. Stedman and on the same day was elected to the Seventy-second Congress; reelected to the Seventy-third, Seventy-fourth, and Seventy-fifth Congresses and served from November 4, 1930, to January 3, 1939; did not seek renomination, but was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for United States Senator in 1938; member of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board from January 4, 1939, to April 24, 1942; appointed special representative of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and served until June 1943; administrator of the Farm Security Administration from November 1943 to November 1945; president of the Commodity Credit Corporation from December 1944 to August 1945; resumed the general practice of law at Oxford, N.C.; elected judge of Granville County Recorder's Court, 1950 and 1952; died in Oxford, N.C., January 23, 1969; interment in Elmwood Cemetery.
 

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HENDERSON, Archibald, (1768-1822) representative, was born in Williamsborough, Granville county, N.C., Aug. 7, 1768; son of Judge Richard and Elizabeth (Keeling) Henderson. He was educated at  and graduated from Springer College in Warren County, then moved in 1790 to Salisbury where he practiced law. He was a representative in the 6th and 7th U.S. congresses, 1799-1803. He was elected as a Federalist, but in 1800 supported Jefferson. He was a member of the house of commons of North Carolina, 1807-20, and was celebrated throughout the state as an advocate. He was married in August 1801 to Sarah, daughter of Moses Alexander of Mecklenburg county, and a descendant of the Alexanders who came to America from Ireland and settled in Mecklenburg county in 1755. He died in Salisbury, N.C., Oct. 21, 1822 and was buried in the City Cemetery.

See Archibald Henderson Law Office
 

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HENDERSON, Richard, (1735-1785) pioneer, was born in Hanover county, Va., April 20, 1735; son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Williams) Henderson. It is said that his paternal grandparents came from Scotland and his maternal grandparents from Wales. His father was born in Hanover county, Va., March 17, 1700 and died in 1783 in Granville County; his mother Elizabeth Williams (1714-1894) was the daughter of John Williams & Mary, whose surname tradition says was "Keeling" but no actual proof has been found on that. Richard removed with his father to North Carolina about 1745 and acquired his education without instructors, after he had reached manhood. He was constable and under-sheriff in Granville county, N.C., his father being high-sheriff of the same county. He was admitted to the bar, and in 1769 was appointed associate judge of the superior court by Governor Tryon. His persistence in enforcing the law caused the displeasure of the opponents to the tax laws and on one occasion, in September, 1770, the Regulators drove him from the bench. When a state government was organized in 1776 he was reelected, but declined to serve, being interested in the Transylvania Land company. He made the Treaty of Watauga with the Cherokee Indians in 1775, twelve hundred savages being present, by which the company became proprietors of 18,000 acres of territory for £10,000 worth of goods, an extent of territory comprising over half the area of the present state of Kentucky and the adjacent part of Tennessee. A government was organized at Boonesborough and Henderson was made president of the proposed state of Transylvania. The first legislature assembled under an elm tree near the walls of the fort in February, 1775, and of the members, the names of Daniel and Squire Boone, Richard Calloway, Azariah Davis, Isaac Hire, William Coke, Samuel Henderson, John Todd, Richard Moore, John Lythe, James Douglass, Nathan Hammond, Alexander Dandridge, Samuel Wood, Matthew Jewit, Valentine Harmon, Thomas Slayter, John Floyd and James Harrod appeared. A liberal government was instituted, but the purchase made by Henderson was annulled by the state legislature of Virginia and as a compensation the state granted to the company a tract of land twelve miles square on the Ohio below the mouth of the Green river. Judge Henderson was a boundary line commissioner in 1779. He removed to Nashville, Tenn., the same year and practiced law there one year. Afterward he settled on his large plantation near Williamsborough, N.C., where he engaged in farming. The town, village and county of Henderson, N.C., were named in his honor. In 1763, he was married to Elizabeth Keeling, daughter of George Keeling and Agnes Bullock, and sister of Agatha Keeling, who married Robert Burton; their mother later married John Williams (1731-1799), also a cousin of Richard Henderson, and under whom Richard had studied law. He died in Hillsborough, N.C., Jan. 30, 1785, and was buried at his home, Ashland Plantation, in Williamsboro.

See also Act to Vest Certain Lands of Richard Henderson  and  Judge Richard Henderson
 

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HENDERSON, William, (1748-1787) soldier, was born at Nutbush Creek, near Williamsborough, N.C., March 5, 1748; son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Williams) Henderson; he was the brother of Col. Richard Henderson (1735-1785). According to tradition, his paternal ancestry was Scotch, and his maternal, Welsh. Some years before the beginning of the Revolutionary war he removed to Pacolet, S.C., and engaged in business as a merchant. At the outbreak of the war he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of one of the regular regiments of South Carolina and served throughout the war. He participated in every important battle that occurred in South Carolina and commanded a sortie at the siege of Charleston. When that city was captured he was taken prisoner, and after his exchange he joined General Greene at the siege of Ninety-Six, He was also appointed a general of militia and commanded the state troops at the battle of Eutaw Springs, in which he took a conspicuous part and was wounded. He died at Pacolet, S.C., about 1787.
 

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HICKS, James WoodM.D. (1827-1895) Orlando, Fla. was born in Granville County, NC, January 20, 1827. His parents were Dr. John R. and Rebecca (Wood) Hicks, the former also a native of Granville County, born in 1800, and died in 1877. Dr. John R. Hicks' father came to the United States from England in 1777, and was a colonel of Revolutionary fame.  Mrs. Rebecca (Wood) Hicks a daughter of James Wood, a farmer of Virginia.  J. W. Hicks was the only living child of his parents. He attended private schools until sixteen, and then entered the University of North Carolina, graduating in 1847. He read medicine with his father and while most biographies say he  graduated from the University of Virginia in 1851, however, according to a report written in 2011, the Florida Medical Association found that he actually graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1851. After practicing one year in Granville County, NC, he went to Rome, GA, where he remained until 1875, with the exception of the time spent in the army. In May 1862, he was appointed surgeon of the Fifty-fourth NC Regiment and served two years in Virginia.  He was then assigned to hospital duties in Savannah, GA, and being senior surgeon was appointed brigade-surgeon on Gen. Colston's staff, in addition to hospital duties.  In 1864 he asked to be relieved, and went as surgeon of the Fifty-seventh Georgia into the Tennessee campaign, where he remained until the close of the conflict. Subsequently he established a hospital at Thomasville, GA, and remained with the Confederates for some time after the war.  Dr. Hicks was married in 1852 to Miss Minerva, daughter of Daniel R. Mitchell, of Rome, GA.  To this marriage have been born ten children, seven of whom are now living, viz: Mrs. Agnes M. Prince,  Mrs. Irene R. Harrington, Mrs. Viola M. Hammond, Mrs. Emma V. Church, Olive A., Cora V. and Clarence J.  Dr. Hicks was elected president of the Florida Medical Association in 1887, a member of the Medical Board of Examiners, and a member of the Orange County Board of Health. He was also a city physician of Orlando for over six years.  Dr. Hicks and wife were members of the Presbyterian Church, and he was identified with the I.O.O.F. and the Masonic fraternity. He died in Orlando on January 14, 1895 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in  that city.
 

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JONES, Daniel Webster (`1839-1918), governor of Arkansas, was born in Bowie county, Texas, Dec. 15, 1839; son of Dr. Isaac Newton Jones  and Elizabeth Wilson (Littlejohn) Jones, and grandson of Daniel Jones (1743-1819) and Mary Ann Howze of Granville County, N.C., and was a soldier in the Continental army under General Washington. Also of note is that Daniel Jones was the son of Edward Jones & Abigail Sugar/Sugan, one of the earliest families to have settled in what later became the Granville area.. Isaac Jones was educated at the University of North Carolina, practiced medicine in his native county and removed with his family to Texas about 1840, where he was a representative in the Texas congress, and subsequently to Washington, Hempstead county, Ark. Daniel was educated at Washington academy, and commenced the study of law with John R. Eakin. He entered the Confederate army in April, 1861, as 1st lieutenant; became captain in December, 1861; was promoted major, July, 1862; and colonel of the 20th Arkansas infantry, December, 1862, for gallantry on the field, and was in command of a brigade of infantry at the close of the war. He was admitted to the bar in 1865; was elected prosecuting attorney of Arkansas in 1874; was a district presidential elector in 1876, and for the state at large in 1880; attorney-general of Arkansas, in 1884 and again in 1886, and was governor of Arkansas, 1897-1900. He favored expansion, and in February, 1900, announced himself as a candidate for U.S. senator in opposition to Senator James Henderson Berry, anti-expansionist, whose term would expire, March 3, 1901, however, Jones lost.  He died on December 25, 1918, and is buried in Oakland Cemetery, Little Rock, Arkansas.
 

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PENN, John, (1741-1788) signer, was born in Caroline County, Va., May 17, 1741; son of Moses and Catharine (Taylor) Penn. His early education was limited, owing to the neglect of his father, and when his father died in 1759 he began the study of law with his cousin Edmund Pendleton, and in 1762 was admitted to the bar. He was married in 1763 to Susan Lyme. In 1774 he removed to Granville County, N.C., and established himself in practice. He was a delegate to the Continental congress in 1775, succeeding Richard Caswell, who resigned to assume the governorship of North Carolina, and signed the Declaration of Independence in August, 1776. He was again a delegate to the Continental congress, 1777-80, and by request of the North Carolina legislature, took charge of the affairs of the state during its occupation by the British army. He was appointed receiver of taxes for North Carolina by Robert Morris in 1784, but resigned after one month's service, owing to the indifference of the people to support the cause of the colonies by their proportion of the tax levied. He died in Granville county, N.C., in September, 1788.
 

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POTTER, Henry, (1765-1857) jurist, was born in Granville County, N.C., in 1765. He was educated for the law, and settled in Fayetteville, N.C., from which place he was appointed in 1801, by President Jefferson, judge of the U.S. circuit court for the 5th circuit, and in 1802, judge of the U.S. district court of North Carolina, succeeding John Sitgreaves, deceased, which office he held until his death. He charged the jury in the case of Lord Granville's heirs versus the governor of North Carolina in 1806, Chief Justice Marshall from personal considerations refusing to sit upon the trial. He was a commissioner to erect a governor's "palace" at Raleigh in 1813, and to sell lots belonging to the state for the purpose of enlarging the state house in 1819. He was a trustee of the University of North Carolina, 1799-1856; compiled, with John Louis Taylor of Craven county, and Bartlett Yancey of Caswell county, a revision of the "Law of the State of North Carolina" (2 vols., 1821), and is the author of: Duties of a Justice of the Peace (1816).  He died in Fayetteville, N.C., Dec. 20, 1857.
 

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POTTER, ROBERT (1799-1842). Robert Potter, legislator, cabinet member, and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence,qv was born in June 1799 in Granville County, North Carolina. He joined the United States Navy as a midshipman in 1815 and resigned in 1821 to study law. By 1826 he had been admitted to the bar and had begun to practice law in Halifax, North Carolina. He soon transferred his law practice to Oxford, North Carolina, where in 1826 he was elected to the state House of Commons. In April 1828 he married Isabel A. Taylor, with whom he had two children. That same year he was elected as a Jacksonian Democrat to the United States House of Representatives, where he served two terms, from March 4, 1829, to November 1831. He resigned after an incident that occurred on August 28, 1831, in which Potter, in a jealous rage, maimed his wife's cousin and another man. For the attacks he was tried in a Granville County court in September 1831, found guilty, sentenced to six months in prison, and fined $2,000. His wife divorced him in 1834. After his release from prison Potter was again elected to the North Carolina House of Commons; he took his seat in 1834. In January 1835, however, he was expelled from the House for "cheating at cards," but the real motivation was probably the maiming. His domestic, legal, and political troubles in North Carolina caused Potter to decide upon Texas as a place for a new beginning. He arrived in Nacogdoches on July 1, 1835, and almost immediately became embroiled in Texas political and military affairs. On October 9, 1835, he enrolled in Thomas J. Rusk's Nacogdoches Independent Volunteers to assist in equipping men for the siege of Bexar, but he decided to resign on November 21 to offer his services to the fledgling Texas Navy. Also in 1835 Potter was selected as a delegate to the Consultation, which met at San Felipe, but he did not attend. The next year he was elected as one of four delegates to represent Nacogdoches Municipality at the Convention of 1836 There he voted for independence from Mexico, signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, assisted president Richard Ellis when questions of parliamentary procedure were raised, and served on the committee appointed to draft the Constitution of the Republic of Texas. Before being appointed secretary of the Texas Navy and commander of the port of Galveston in 1836, Potter participated in the battle of San Jacinto, refused to sign the treaty afterwards negotiated with Antonio López de Santa Anna, and joined those advocating the execution of the Mexican president. In September 1836 he entered into a marriage of dubious legality with Harriet A. M. Ames. The couple had a daughter and a son. In 1837, after Sam Houston was elected to the Texas presidency, Potter retired first to a residence in Harrison County and then to a home built on his headright grant on Soda (now Caddo) Lake in what is now Marion County. Potter's new neighbors elected him their senator in the Congress of the Republic of Texas; he served from November 2, 1840, until his death. He became involved in the Regulator-Moderator War in Harrison County, where he quickly became a Moderator leader. On March 2, 1842, a Regulator band surrounded his home and in an attempt to escape, he ran to the edge of Lake Soda and dived in, his body sinking to the bottom riddled with bullets. He was initially buried at Potter's Point near his home, but on October 9, 1928, he was reinterred in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. Potter County in the Texas Panhandle, established on August 21, 1876, was named in his honor.
 

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ROCHESTER, Nathaniel (1752-1831), pioneer, was born in Cople parish, Westmoreland County, Va., Feb. 21, 1752; a descendant of Nicholas Rochester, who emigrated from Kent, England, in 1689 and settled in Westmoreland County, Va. He removed to Granville County, N.C., with his mother and step-father, Thomas Critcher, in 1763, and in 1768 obtained employment as a clerk in a mercantile house in Hillsboro, N.C., becoming a partner in 1773. He was a member of the Committee of Safety of Orange County in 1775; a member of the first provincial convention of North Carolina; appointed paymaster, with the rank of major, of the North Carolina line, and deputy commissary-general of the Continental Army, May 10, 1776, but failing health caused his early resignation. He was a delegate to the House of Commons; a commissioner to superintend the manufacture of arms at Hillsboro, and in 1778 engaged in business with Col. Thomas Hart. In 1783 they begun the manufacture of flour, rope and nails at Hagerstown, Md. He was a representative in the Maryland assembly; postmaster of Hagerstown, and judge of the county court. In 1808 he was presidential elector, voting for James Madison; was first president of the Hagerstown bank, and was engaged in important mercantile transactions in Kentucky and Maryland. He made large purchases of land in New York state, and removing to Dansville, N. Y., in May, 1810, established a paper mill there. In 1815 he removed to Bloomfield, N.Y., and in 1818 settled at the falls of the Genesee River, and there founded the city of Rochester. He was secretary of the convention to urge the construction of the Erie canal; the first clerk of Monroe County; member of the state assembly. 1821 and 1822, and one of the organizers of the Bank of Rochester, and its first president. He died in Rochester, N.Y., May 17, 1831.
 

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WILLIAMS, Nathaniel (1741-1805), lawyer and planter, was born in Virginia, Oct. 5, 1741; son of Nathaniel Williams, and grandson of John Williams, a wealthy Welch emigrant to Hanover County, Va., about the beginning of the eighteenth century. Removing from Virginia prior to the Revolutionary war, he located in Guilford county, N.C., in that part which subsequently (1785) became Rockingham county. He was a lawyer by profession, as were also his brothers, Col. John and Robert Williams; another brother being Col. Joseph Williams, a Revolutionary soldier, and a distinguished and public spirited resident of Surry County, N.C. He attained some local distinction in his profession, and was a leader in county affairs. He was chosen one of the delegates from Guilford County to the meeting of the Provincial congress at Hillsboro, Aug. 21, 1775. This was the third meeting of an assembly of the people in North Carolina opposed to the Royal government. In the same body were his brothers Col. John Williams (of Orange County), and Col. Joseph Williams (of Surry County), and also his first cousins Judge John Williams (of Granville County), and Thomas Henderson (of Guilford County). His voice was always raised in behalf of the rights of the people of the colony, and he supported earnestly all proposed measures of defence and relief. Throughout the entire struggle he remained unflinchingly loyal, and living in a part of the state over-run by hostile bands, he encouraged the weak and gave aid to the needy. After the close of the war he continued in the practice of his profession. His wife, Mary Ann Williamson (born Jan. 3, 1745), was the sister of Elizabeth Williamson, wife of Col. John Wiliams, his brother, of Orange County. Gov. Robert and Hon. Marmaduke Williams (q.v.) were his sons. The Williams family, of which Nathaniel Williams is a representative, has been prominent in all parts of the South for generations. In addition to those of the name herein referred to, see supra for the following lineal descendants of the original emigrant, John Williams; James R. and Joseph W. Chalmers; Baylis John Earle, and Harriet Harrison, wife of Samuel Earle; James T. and Thomas P. Harrison; John S., Leonard, Richard and William Henderson; Thomas M. Owen, Richmond Pearson and Hoke Smith, in addition to others mentioned passim. Nathaniel Williams was accidentally drowned on his return home from the "Circuit," while attempting to ford a swollen stream, Jan. 25, 1805.

 

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(Sources on all of above: Biblical Directory of the American Congress; Famous American Biographies; The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans (1904); also supplemented with personal and updated research notes)

© 2013 by   Deloris Williams for the NCGenWeb Project and/or individual contributors.  No portion of  any document appearing on this site is to be used for other than personal research.  Any republication or reposting is expressly forbidden without the written consent of the owner. Last updated 02/05/2013

 

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