The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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        Rev. John Starke Ravenscroft succeeded him, who in 1823 was consecrated Bishop of the diocese of North Carolina. Dr. Cameron married Miss Nash in Charlotte, Virginia, by whom he had several children, who inherited his virtues, piety and abilities. Among these was the distinguished subject of our present sketch, who was born in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, in 1777. He studied law with Paul Carrington; came to the bar of North Carolina in 1798 and settled in Hillsboro', and there commenced the practice. By his assiduity and acquirements he soon attained fame and fortune. In 1800 he was appointed Clerk of the Court of Conference, (then the court of last jurisdiction,) and prepared and published the reports of cases decided in that court. It was entitled, "Reports of Cases Determined by the Judges of the Superior Courts of Law and Equity of the State of North Carolina, at their meeting on the 10th June, 1800, held pursuant to an act of Assembly for settling questions of law and equity arising in the circuit, by Duncan Cameron, Attorney-at-Law, Raleigh, from the press of Hodge & Boylan, Printers of the State, 1800." This was an octavo of 108 pages. In 1804 this court, which had been styled the Court of Conference, was made a court of record. The judges were required to reduce their opinions to writing, and file them, and deliver the same viva voce in open court. The following year (1805) the name was changed from the Court of Conference to the Supreme Court, and converted from a temporary to a permanent tribunal. Chief Justice Taylor, "the Mansfield of North Carolina;" Judge Hall, proverbial for integrity, amiability and sound common sense, and Judge Henderson, who in genius, judgment and power of fascination in social intercourse, was without a peer, were, says Governor Swain, the three Judges in 1822. Francis L. Hawks was the reporter, who had not yet attained his 25th year, but gave promise of that distinction he afterward attained in another sphere as a brilliant writer, a learned divine, and eloquent speaker, who enjoyed a higher transatlantic reputation than any other American in the line of his profession. William Drew, of Halifax County, standing on the thin partition which divides great wit and phrensy, was Attorney-General. Of the bar were Wm. Gaston, facile princeps, Archibald Henderson, Joseph Wilson, Judges Murphey, Ruffin and Seawell; Hogg, Mordecai, Badger, Devereux and James F. Taylor. In 1806, 1807, 1812 and 1813 he represented Orange County in the House of Commons. In 1814 he was elected Judge of the Superior Court, vice Edward Harris deceased, which he resigned, after presiding with satisfaction to the bar and the country, in 1816. In 1819, 1822, and 1823 he was in the Senate of the Legislature. In 1819 he was chosen President of the State Bank. His course in the Legislature was marked by dignity, urbanity and patriotism--especially in the exciting period of the war with England; he was a leading and unflinching advocate for its active prosecution. He was the devoted friend of internal improvement, and of all schemes to develop the resources of the State, with which subject no one was more familiar. He was a member of the Board of Internal Improvement, and there was no one in whose judgment and opinion people had more confidence and respect.

        As a financier he was unrivaled, not only by the clearness of his judgment as from the integrity of his character and the proverbial caution of the race from which he came. For years he presided over the largest banking institution of the State, "the Bank of the State of North Carolina," whose affairs he conducted with unparalleled skill and success. He was elected its President in September, 1831, and resigned in January, 1840, and was succeeded by the late George W. Mordecai, who married his daughter. In private life he was a sincere and unshrinking friend, a kind neighbor, just and charitable. But, yet in his younger days at least, he observed the advice of Polonius:

                         "Beware of entrance into quarrel,
                         But being in, so bear thyself that the opposer
                         Will beware of thee."

        About 1804 he had an affair of honor with William Duffey, Esq., in which Judge Cameron was wounded. But in the course of his long life, and especially its close, his career was marked by Christian sincerity and benevolence, and he was a devoted and humble member of the church. He married, in 1803, Rebecca, daughter of Richard Bennehan, by whom he had several children.

        Moses Mordecai was a native of Warren County, and the eldest of the large and talented family. He read law with George Fitts, and settled in Raleigh, and became one of the most able lawyers of the State. He died at Raleigh at an early age. His brothers were:

        Samuel, studied medicine under Dr. Stephen Davis, graduated at Philadelphia and moved to Mobile, where he acquired fame and fortune.

        Alfred, graduated at West Point, was sent
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