with McClellan to Europe to report upon the improvements in warfare. On the commencement of the Civil War he resigned his commission.
George W., who was a lawyer, President of the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad, and also of the Bank of the State of North Carolina. He died a few years ago universally respected and regretted.
Edmund B. Freeman, was born at Falmouth, in the State of Massachusetts, in 1795, and died in 1848. In 1805 he was brought to this State by his father, the Rev. Jonathan Otis Freeman, who for many years was at the head of many classical schools of a high character--as Murfreesboro', Salisbury, and elsewhere The son, after completing his education, devoted himself to the study of the law, and after due preparation was admitted to practice. He, however, never attended much to the profession. In early life he became editor of the Halifax Compiler, a paper published in the town of Halifax. About the year 1830 he was elected reading clerk of the House of Commons, and continued to fill that office by successive elections for several years. In 1835 he was chosen principal clerk to the Convention which was then called to amend the Constitution of the State. About the same time he was appointed deputy clerk of the Supreme Court, and continued to act as such, with a short intermission, until the death of his principal, John L. Henderson, Esq., in 1845. He was then appointed by the judges principal clerk of the court, and continued in the office until his death, which occurred on July 3, 1848, the very day on which the court itself expired, being abolished by the adoption of the new Constitution. As clerk of their court, the judges had the most exalted opinion of Mr. Freeman's eminent integrity and capacity, and the members of the bar with whom he was brought into contact and close relations had not only the most implicit confidence in him, and regard for him, as an officer, but also affection for him as a man. Indeed, it has been truly said of him that he was honest, competent and faithful in every public duty which he was ever called upon to discharge, and that in all the relations of private life he was kind-hearted, generous and true. He was twice married: first to Miss Mary McK. Stith, of Halifax, by whom he had one child, and then to Mrs. Foreman, the widow of Wm. Foreman, of Pitt County, who died many years before him, without leaving any children by him. His only child, a daughter, married Hamden S. Smith, Esq., of Raleigh, who died a few years ago, leaving his widow and three sons, who are still living.
We should do injustice to merit and to long and faithful public service were we not to record the character and services of a servant of the State, William Hill, who for nearly forty years was Secretary of State, and died in this responsible position.
William Hill was born in Surry (now Stokes) County, N. C., on the 23d of September, 1773, and died in Raleigh on the 29th of October, 1857, being eighty-four years, one month and six days old.
Of his early life little is known beyond the few brief reminiscences occasionally narrated by himself. His father, who removed from Caroline County, Va., was a Baptist minister, a sterling patriot and an honest man. During the war of the Revolution his stirring appeals stimulated the Whigs of this section. He was Chaplain in the American army at the battle of Guilford Court-house. His son William was then about eight years old, and he well recollected hearing the roar of the artillery, being only four miles distant from the field of battle. He has been heard to relate that a short time prior to this battle a band of Tories called at his father's house, where he and his mother were, and inquired for his father. On being told that he was not at home they departed, avowing their intention to hang him if they found him. He had incurred their hate by his devotion to the patriot cause. He was a member of the convention that met at Hillsboro' in August, 1775, to improvise a system of government for the State. The maiden name of his wife, the mother of the subject of this memoir, was Eliza Halbert. She was a native of Caroline County, Va.
The late Secretary had in youth but limited educational facilities. He followed the plow for several months during the year to obtain money sufficient to pay his tuition at school the remainder of the year. At the early age of sixteen he taught school, thus improving his mind while he earned a livelihood.
In the month of July, 1795, having obtained a letter of introduction from Major Mark Hardin, of Chapel Hill, to James Glasgow, then Secretary of State, he came to Raleigh and entered his (Glasgow's) office as a clerk. Associated with him in the like capacity was William White, Esq., who succeeded Glasgow in office in 1798. He continued in the same position under Secretary White until about January,
Index - Contents