Born in Virginia in 1887, Willis Smith studied law at Trinity College, and he served as a inheritance tax lawyer from 1915 until 1920. After serving in the state legislature, Smith ran for the U.S. Senate in 1950 after the death of Senator J. Melville Broughton. Smith defeated Frank P. Graham in the Democrat Party runoff, and he thereafter served in the Senate until his death in 1953.
Subject: Political History
Alton A. Lennon was a Democratic U.S. Senator from North Carolina between 1953 and 1954. Prior to that from 1957 to 1973, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Alton was known as one of North Carolina’s most conservative politicians.
Joseph Carter Abbott was a United States Senator from North Carolina between 1868 and 1871. Carter was also a Union Army colonel during the American Civil War. As a successful newspaperman contributing to many magazines, he had a particular interest in history.
Born in Raleigh in 1801, William H. Haywood, Jr., served as a U.S. Senator from 1843 until 1846. He studied at the University of North Carolina, was admitted to the bar in 1822, and he later practiced in Raleigh. As a Democrat, Haywood served in the state legislature until moving to the U.S. Senate. Haywood resigned from office in 1846 and he practiced law until his death in 1852.
Willis Smith and Frank P. Graham endured a pivotal Democratic primary election in 1950. Both candidates contented for the U.S. Senate seat left open by Senator J. Melville Broughton’s death. During the race, Smith and Graham divided on social issues, particularly racial integration. Smith’s calculated attack of Graham’s liberal social views proved successful as he won the primary and eventually the 1950 Senate election.
Frank Porter Graham was President of UNC Chapel Hill, United Nations arbiter and US Senator (1949 to 1950).
Incumbent Joseph Abbott lost the U.S. Senate election to political veteran Zebulon Vance in 1870. Abbott filed a complaint concerning Vance’s eligibility to serve in the Senate, relying on the 14th Amendment and its provision that Confederate supporters could not hold office in the U.S. Congress. After a year of deliberations, the Senate Elections Committee ruled in Vance’s favor, but Vance resigned before the committee issued its verdict. Matt Ransom was elected to replace Vance in 1872.
Born in Transylvania County, Augustus Merrimon served as a U.S. Senator from 1873 to 1879 and as Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court from 1889 until 1892. After his service in the Confederate Army, Merrimon became a state superior court judge and he was involved in the impeachment of Governor William Holden. Chief Justice Merrimon died in office on November 14, 1892.
Willie Mangum, born in 1792 in Durham County, served as a North Carolina Senator for nearly 20 years. Mangum studied at the University of North Carolina in 1815, and was admitted to the state bar in 1817. In 1823, Mangum was elected to the national House of Representatives, and in 1830 he became a N.C. Senator. During President John Tyler’s tenure, Mangum served as the Senate president pro tempore.
The first popularly elected Senator of North Carolina, Lee S. Overman served in the U.S. Senate for almost thirty years. Overman, born in Salisbury, graduated from Trinity College in 1874, and later served as secretary to both Governor Vance and Jarvis. Elected to the Senate in 1903, Overman remained an ardent Democrat, supporting President Wilson during the height of World War I and supporting the creation of the Department of Labor.