The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

Bookmark and Share

Oregon. General Lane immediately collected a force, composed of settlers, miners and a few officers and soldiers of the regular army, attacked the Indians near Table Rock, and after a desperate conflict, in which he was severely wounded, drove them from their position. Following up this success with great vigor, he administered such chastisement that they soon gave up the contest, and were glad to accede to any terms of peace.

        He continued in Congress till the admission of Oregon as a State, when he was chosen Senator in Congress until 1861.

        In 1860 he was nominated as Vice-President with Mr. Breckenridge, but defeated. He has since retired from public life, but his gallant son, Lafayette Lane, born 1842, elected a member to the 44th Congress, 1875-77, worthily bears his name and his honors--the worthy son of a gallant father.

        William Woods Holden resides in Raleigh, a native of Orange County, where he was born November 24, 1818. His early education was at an "old field school" until he was sixteen years old, when he was employed at Dennis Heartt's printing office, in Hillsboro', N. C. At the age of eighteen he went to Raleigh and was employed in the office of Thomas J. Lemay, Esq. He read law and was admitted to the bar in 1841. But his appropriate element was the press. In June, 1843, he purchased of Thomas Loring the Raleigh Standard, which he conducted for twenty-five years with unparalleled ability and success. No paper in the State ever wielded a more powerful influence in North Carolina. It killed and made alive. Although it was thought at the time to be an unmeaning and empty boast, yet history records that its favor did make the political fortunes of many, while its frowns withered, with upas-like influence, the hopes of others. In 1846 Mr. Holden was elected a member of the House of Commons from Wake County, but this was not the arena suited to his character or his tastes, and he declined a re-election. He served several years as a member of the Literary Board, under the administrations of Governors Bragg and Ellis. He was also one of the commissioners of the Deaf and Dumb Institution and of the Insane Asylum. He was a member of the Secession Convention in 1861, and signed the ordinance separating North Carolina from the Union. During the war Mr. Holden was a sufferer, and his office was ravaged by violence. On May 29, 1865, he was appointed by the President Provisional Governor of North Carolina under the reconstruction plan of President Johnson. In 1866 he was offered the mission to San Salvador, which he declined.*

        * His defeat by Governor Worth in 1865 is recited in the sketch of that gentleman under head of Randolph County.

        In April, 1868, he was elected Governor of the State for four years by popular vote over Judge Thomas S. Ashe, which stood 92,235 for Holden and 73,594 for Ashe. Parties were now arrayed in angry antagonism, and madness and misrule marks this era. Matters came to such a crisis that the House of Representatives on December 20, 1870, presented eight articles of impeachment against Governor Holden "for high crimes and misdemeanors" to the Senate, which as a high court of impeachment proceeded to try the same. Chief Justice Pearson presided; the managers appointed by the House were Thomas Sparrow, chairman; James G. Scott, of Onslow; Wm. G. Welch, of Haywood; T. D. Johnston, of Buncombe; G. A. Gregory, of Martin; Jno. W. Dunham, of Wilson; C. W. Broadfoot, of Cumberland. Governors W. A. Graham and Thomas Bragg and Judge A. S. Merrimon were counsel for the managers. Nor were the counsel for the respondent obscure or less able. They were Hon. W. N. H. Smith, now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; Nathaniel Boyden, J. M. McCorkle, Edward Conigland and Richard Badger, Esquires. After a patient examination of the testimony and arguments by both sides, the Senate did, March 22, 1871, by a vote of two-thirds of the members, pronounce W. W. Holden guilty of the charges contained in six of the eight articles, and pronounced the sentence that "he be removed from the office of Governor and disqualified to hold any office of trust, honor or profit under the State of North Carolina"--the first of the United States to get rid of a Governor in this way. After this event Governor Holden, (succeeded by Todd R Caldwell as Governor,) came to Washington, and for a time was the editor of the National Republican. After being for a time in this position he returned to Raleigh and was appointed Postmaster of that place. Gov. Holden is now in "the sear and yellow leaf of life." He has been twice married: first to Miss A. Young in 1841, and second to Louisa Virginia Harrison, by whom he has an interesting family. In this sketch we have tried to state only acknowledged facts, without extenuation or "setting down aught in malice." History will
Page 441 of 471
Index - Contents
Featured Books & CD-ROMS