of the defects of his early education, by his enterprise and force of character, he arose to high distinction. He entered public life as a Member of Legislature from his native county, Onslow, in 1811-13; he then moved to Wilmington, and was elected from the town in 1816-17 and again in 1834. He was the last representative from this ancient town, for the Convention of 1835 abolished the borough representations.
His course was distinguished in the public coucils as one devoted to the cause of the internal improvement of the State; he was liberal and patriotic; he subscribed $25,000 to construct the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, and became its first President.
In 1829, he was elected a Member of the twenty-first Congress; after one Congress he declined a re-election, for the reason, as he stated himself, that Congress was no place for an honest man.
The amended constitution of 1835, gave the election of the Governor, to the vote of the people; and without any action or solicitation on his part, he was nominated and elected the first Governor of North Carolina elected by the people. At the expiration of the second term, Governor Dudley retired from public life, and returned to his home in Wilmington, where he died, October 30, 1855.
Governor Dudley was in person of the first type of our race; of large, commanding presence; of genial manners and pleasant address. He was a statesman of enlarged and liberal views, of generous impulses, and of unspotted integrity; true to party and friends, in which his zeal at times carried him beyond the bounds of prudence; his speeches and addresses evince no superior ability, but are marked by good sense and patriotism; his ample fortune enabled him to give expression to the generosity of his nature--he was a charitable and obliging neighbor; a devoted husband, an indulgent father, and a sincere friend.
He married Elizabeth, the daughter of William H. Haywood, of Raleigh; the sister of William H. Haywood, Jr., Senator in Congress (1843-46) and sister of the wife of Governor Charles Manly, by whom he had several children, among them:
- I. Christopher.
- II. Eliza, married Purnell.
- III. William H., married Baker.
- IV. Margaret, married McIlhenny.
- V. Jane, married Johnson.
Rev. Adam Empie, who lived and died in Wilmington, was Rector of the Parish of St. James, for a long time discharging his sacred duty with great fidelity. He married a daughter of Judge Wright.
On his election to the Presidency of William and Mary College in Virginia, in 1827, he removed to Williamsburg with his family; he resigned this position in 1835, and accepted the Rectorship of St. James Church in Richmond, which had been built expressly for him, and named in compliment of his old parish in Wilmington, and here he officiated, until increasing years and declining health compelled his resignation. He then returned to the scene of his early labors to die among the people with whom he had passed so many years, having finished his course on earth he calmly passed away; leaving behind him a record of a well spent life.
Rt. Rev. William M. Green resided for a long time in Wilmington.
"The venerable Bishop of Mississippi is still living; distinguished for his wisdom, the kindness of his nature, the earnestness of his piety, and the almost saintly purity of his life. The soldier of the Cross from early manhood, he has ever walked in an atmosphere of love; lavishing upon all around him the bounties of his goodness, and the warmth of his affections. Holding the most exalted position in the Church, he is always the devoted, unaffected, humble man of God--so gentle, yet so wise; so loving, yet so firm; so modest, yet so influential, long may he be spared to the people of his diocese, his hosts of friends,
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