Hon. Thomas Settle, sen'r. born 1791; died 1857; was born in this County. He was distinguished for his ability as a statesman and as a judge, and esteemed for his virtues, learning, and deportment. He entered public life as a member of the House of Commons from Rockingham in 1816 and in 1817 succeeded Bartlett Yancey as Representative in the 15th Congress, and was re-elected to the 16th Congress (1819-21,) when he declined re-election. He was succeeded by Romulus M. Saunders. In 1826 he was again returned to the Legislature, and re-elected in 1827-28. During the latter years he was Speaker of the House. His course as a member of the Legislature was marked by patriotism, consistency, and dignity. When the fiery crusade of party was directed against the banker's institutions of the State, led by the unscrupulous energy of Robert Potter, the bill was carried by one vote to prosecute and crush the banks, as Speaker, Judge Settle voted with the minority and prevented its passage.
In 1832 he was elected one of the Judges of the Supreme Court, which elevated position he held for nearly a quarter of a century with great satisfaction to the country and credit to himself. Increasing years caused his resignation. His health, from the labor of a long life, failed, and, universally lamented, he died in August, 1857.
He married Henrietta, the daughter of Azariah, and the sister of Hon. Calvin Graves.
We give a correct genealogy of this family from reliable and authentic sources. It is seldom that a family less numerous can show more distinguished members. In this table there are the names of two Senators in U. S. Congress, and four members in the House of Representatives, three judges, a governor, and a formidable aspirant for the Presidency, besides others distinguished for their ability integrity and virtues.
(For the genealogy of the Settle family, see after sketch of Gov. Reid, page 391.)
Thomas Settle jr., son of the above, whose sketch has just been presented, was born Jan. 23rd, 1831.
He was liberally educated, and graduated at the University in 1850, in the same class with John Manning, W. C. Kerr, and others. He read law with Judge Pearson, and was licensed to practice in 1854. During the administration of Gov. Reid, who had married his sister, he was for a time the private secretary of the Governor.
This was his first entrance on the stormy sea of political life, which was germane to his tastes, and in which he has had a prosperous voyage. He was elected a member of the Legislature, from 1854 to 1859; the latter year he was chosen Speaker of the House. He was one of the Electors in 1856, and cast with others the vote of the State for Mr. Buchanan.
In 1860 he advocated the claims of Stephen A. Douglas, for the Presidency. How far personal preferences influenced his judgment (for they were closely connected by marriage), is not known, but doubtless the matchless genius and brilliant eloquence of this distinguished statesman greatly moved his supporters.
In February 1861, he was the candidate of the Union party for a seat in the Convention,
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