The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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of this by the late war, but by unconquerable energy he retrieved his fortunes, and died possessed of a fine property.

        General Dockery made his first appearance in public life as a member of the House of Commons from the County of Richmond, in 1822. He was then twenty-five years of age. Having devoted some thirteen years to laying the foundations of his fortune, during which time he had made much progress in the acquisition of useful knowledge, he consented to serve the people of Richmond in the Convention of 1835, which was called to remodel the old Constitution adopted by the Congress at Halifax in 1776. In this body, of which he was an industrious and faithful member, he was governed by liberal and generous views, and no doubt gathered rich lessons of knowledge and experience from such men, his associates, as Gaston, Macon, Toomer, Seawell, Meares, Edwards and others. The Whig party, which was formed in 1833, carried the elections in North Carolina in 1836. A strong Whig influence, based on a demand for a general reform in federal affairs and for a system of internal improvements by the State government, swept the old Jackson Democratic party from power, and Edward B. Dudley, of New Hanover, was elected Governor. General Dockery was elected to the Senate of the State Legislature from Richmond, in 1836, as a Whig, and he continued to serve the County in the Senate up to 1844 inclusive, making a continuous service of ten years in that body. In 1845 he was an independent Whig candidate for Congress in the Randolph District, against the regular nominee, Hon. Jonathan Worth, and was elected by more than nine hundred majority. In 1847 he declined a re-election; but, in 1851, impelled by a strong love for the Union, which he believed to be in peril, he boldly bore the Whig Union flag against the organized power of secession led by Hon. Green W. Caldwell, of Mecklenburg, and after one of the most animated canvasses that ever occurred in the State, he was elected to Congress by twelve hundred majority. At the peril of his life in this canvass, (for his District ran along the South Carolina line,) he boldly proclaimed everywhere his undying attachment to the Union, even declaring that, if elected, he "would vote men and money to whip South Carolina back into the Union, if she attempted to secede." The excitement was intense, and he was in constant personal danger, yet nothing could deter him from a stern and fearless performance of duty. In 1854 he was the Whig candidate for Governor of the State against Governor Bragg, and was defeated by only about 2,000 majority. The State, which had gone Whig in 1836 by 6,000 majority, in 1840 13,000, in 1842 by 5,000 in 1844 by 3,000, in 1846 by 8,000, began to pass into the hands of the Democrats in 1848, the Whig majority that year being only 875, on account of the strength with the people of the Free Suffrage issue broached by Governor Reid. In 1850 the State went Democratic by nearly 3,000 majority, and in 1852 by nearly 6,000. It was under these circumstances, with this large majority against him, that General Dockery took the field as the Whig candidate. The exhibition of mental power and physical endurance on the part of both candidates, Bragg and Dockery, mark this as the campaign of campaigns in this State.

        The people of Western North Carolina cherish his memory with much affection. They owe no small debt of gratitude to the man who did so much in 1854 to coerce the reluctant Democracy of the east and centre into a more active support of internal improvements, without which the Western portion of the State are shut in from the world and deprived of the means and advantages which are indispensible to their progress and prosperity.

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