Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Person County

Time for a look at another one of North Carolina’s great counties. Person County was formed in 1791, and named for Gen. Robert Person of Revolutionary War fame. The county seat of Roxboro was chartered in 1855 and named after Roxborough, Scotland.

In 1860, Person County had a population of 11,221, people, including 5,195 slaves and 313 free persons of color. In the 1860 presidential election, Person County cast 420 votes for Breckinridge and 483 for Bell, with only 9 for Douglas. In early 1862, Person County cast 593 votes in favor of calling a convention to consider the question of secession, while 167 people voted against the measure. John W. Cunningham, a local planter, merchant, state senator and member of the Council of State, was the county’s representative.

A local historian writes that Person County supplied between 800 and 1000 men to the Confederate army. Some of these men served in Company F, 17th NCST; Companies A and H, 24th NCT; Company E, 35th NCT; and Company A, 50th NCT.

Not much can be found about the role of the county during the war. One recent local historian writes that “Person County was a well-established plantation center before the Civil War. Crops included tobacco, cotton, corn, wheat, oats, fruits, vegetables, cattle, hogs and sheep…” A search of my standard sources – Johnson, Bennett, Trotter, Cromie, and others, did not turn up much.

Person County is the birthplace of Edwin G. Reade, a lawyer in Roxboro, a representative in the House of Representatives from 1855 until 1857, and a North Carolina Senator in the Confederate Congress (appointed by Vance). Reade was one of the Confederate senators who in 1863 advocated state commissioners from North Carolina meeting with representatives to reestablish North Carolina in the Union. Reade had the “unenviable job “ of opening that fall 1865 meeting of the Constitutional Convention in Raleigh. He is reported to have opened the meeting with “Fellow-citizens, we are going home…” Reade would go on to become a North Carolina Supreme Court justice. Reade was born in 1812 and died in 1894. He is interred in Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh.

Person County has a Confederate monument, located on the grounds of the court house in Roxboro. The monument was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1922. On top of the monument is a statue of Capt. E. Fletcher Satterfield, who was killed on July 3, 1863, while bearing the flag of his regiment, the 55th NCT, at Gettysburg. Not sure why he is holding a rifle, and not a sword.

1 comment:

Mark Hargis said...

A seperate marker on the courthouse lawn explains more on Capt. Fletcher Satterfield.. He and 2 others from NC were furthest at Gettysburg.. They died well past the breastworks of the Union.. Mark