The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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        General Dockery was always a Union Whig. He deplored the dissolution of that grand old party, which he regarded as the strongest link in the chain which held the States together. With Washington, Hamilton, Webster and Clay, he held the Union to be indissoluble. He, of course, profoundly deprecated secession, and faithfully and earnestly warned the people to the last moment of the awful, far-reaching calamities which must flow from it; yet, when the issue was joined in battle between the two sections, his sympathies were with his native South, and he gave without a murmur six sons to the army, one of whom, John Morehead Dockery, a noble youth, fell a victim to camp disease. After the war, never having lost his ingrained conviction of the necessity of one great common government for all the States, he earnestly advised reconciliation and harmony, and lived to see the Union reconstructed on the basis of the equal rights of all, with no star on its ensign "erased or polluted," and destined, as he fondly hoped, to endure for all time. After the war his participation in public affairs was not so active or constant as it had previously been, yet such was the confidence reposed in his judgment and patriotism by his fellow-citizens of the County of Richmond, that in 1865 they elected him unanimously to the State Convention called under the Provisional Government then in operation. The duties of this position he discharged with his accustomed intelligence and honesty; and in 1866, much against his wish, he was nominated by the original Union men of the State for the office of Governor. There was no prospect whatever of his election. He declined to canvass in the then unsettled condition of the country, as he could not perceive that any good would result from a canvass. The vote he received would have been doubled if he had taken the field and addressed the people in the different sections of the State. He evinced on this occasion his usual disregard of self when a high public duty was to be performed, first, in consenting to the use of his name when his defeat was known to be inevitable, and secondly, in endorsing the so-called Howard amendment, under which he was himself with many of his Union friends, debarred from office.

        Under the new State government General Dockery occupied for a time the position of President of the Board of Directors of the State Penitentiary.

        Much of the success of the Board in its management of the affairs of the Penitentiary, is due to his prudence, honesty, firmness and strong common sense.

        General Dockery was a zealous member of the Baptist Church, and was deservedly influential in its Conventions and Associations, and was for many years a trustee of Wake Forest College. His benevolence was proverbial. The poor and needy of all races always found in him a friend. No one really in need of help was ever turned away empty from his door. His contributions during his lifetime to the churches and to different institutions of learning, aggregate a large sum.

        Oliver H. Dockery, son of the above, was born on August 12th, 1830, reared and resides in Richmond County. He has been carefully educated; graduated at the University in 1848, in the same class with Victor C. Barringer, Seaton Gales, Strange, and others; he then read law, but never practiced it. He was elected a member of the Legislature 1858 and 1859, and an elector on the Bell and Everett ticket in 1860, and made a gallant but unsuccessful canvass; under the force of circumstances he was for a time a captain in the Confederate service, but soon took a decided stand for the re-establishment of the national government, and the re-construction of the State. He was elected to fill an unexpired
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