Alston, Willis (1769-1837)

Born in an area that many of North Carolina’s early republic and antebellum statesmen called home—Warren, Halifax, and Edgecombe counties—Willis Alston entered into the political arena with established familial and political connections. He served as a state legislator and senator, and as a U.S. Congressman for 21 years.  Although he was Nathaniel Macon’s nephew, Willis Alston disagreed with his influential uncle on various political issues during Thomas Jefferson’s administration (1801-1809)


Hill, William Henry (1767-1808)

A Brunswick County native, William Henry Hill was the state’s district attorney, a state senator, a University of North Carolina Trustee, and a U.S. Congressman.  Unlike many of his North Carolina contemporaries in Congress, Hill was a staunch Federalist who, according to Lawrence F. London, “believed in a strong central government.”  


Holland, James (1754-1823)

James Holland or “Big Jim” Holland was a North Carolina Militiaman and politician from Anson County, North Carolina. He served in the Revolutionary War and was elected to the North Carolina State Senate (1783, 1797) and the North Carolina House of Commons (1786, 1789). He also served in the United States House of Representatives (1795-1797, 1800-1810). Later in life Holland moved to Tennessee and served as the Justice of the Peace (1812-1818). He died in Maury County, Tennessee in 1823.


Five Things You Need To Know About James Madison (Jeff Broadwater)

The historian Irving Brant, who wrote a six-volume biography of James Madison, once complained about his subject’s modest place in America’s historical memory. “Among all the men who shaped the present government of the United States of America, the one who did the most is known the least.”  In a modest effort to redress this Madisonian neglect, here are five things we should all know about America’s fourth president.



In 1794, a Granville County slave, Quillo, was accused of plotting a slave rebellion. 



  The Occaneechi is a small tribe of American Indians residing in the Piedmont North Carolina and southern Virginia. Today, the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation numbers seven hundred and is the smallest tribe recognized by North Carolina.


State v. Negro Will; State v. Manuel; Whig; North Carolina Supreme Court; William Gaston

During the Whig Era of North Carolina politics in the 1830s, several groups, politicians, and citizens promoted anti-slavery sentiment. One such politician was North Carolina Supreme Court Justice William J. Gaston who wrote two opinions that favored both slaves and black freedmen in the 1830s. The two cases, State v. Will (1834) and State v. Manuel (1838), became hallmarks of the antebellum anti-slavery movement.