The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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McDowell County, where he died in the fall of 1862.

        But the most distinguished of this family was Samuel P. Carson.

        Samuel Price Carson was the eldest son of Colonel John Carson by his last wife, who was the widow of Colonel Joseph McDowell, of the Pleasant Gardens.

        He was born in the county of Burke, on the 22d day of January, 1798.

        His life, although short, was an eventful one. He entered political life early, and was elected to the State Senate in 1822, and again in 1824. But this was a field much too small for his aspirations. In 1825, he became a candidate for a seat in the United States Congress. His competitors were the Hon. Felix Walker, Hon. Robert B. Vance, and Hon. James Graham.

        Mr. Walker was an old man, and had been the member from 1817 to 1823. He seemed highly amused at the idea of Carson's aspiring to such a position. In his final speech he announced Vance and Graham as his competitors, and added, "and I'm told there's a boy from Burke, who wants to be a candidate."

        In their speeches, Vance, who was then Congressman, and Graham made the usual excuses for being candidates. Each had had so many, and such strong solicitations, that he was unable to resist the pressure upon him, and had at last, as a matter of duty, consented to present himself. Carson was not looked upon as being in the way by either, and all their batteries were turned upon Walker. They told the people that at Washington City he boarded out of town, and walked in; and ridiculed the old man without stint or mercy.

        Carson, when he took the stand, told the people that all his friends had solicited him not to run, and he was a candidate because he wanted to go to Congress. He treated Mr. Walker with the greatest respect; spoke of him as a Revolutionary soldier, and delivered a handsome eulogy upon him.

        As the canvass progressed, it became evident to Vance and Graham, that Carson, although so young, was not only a candidate, but that he possessed talents of a high order, and was winning hosts of friends. The contest became warm, and before the time for the election, Walker, who had been completely won by Carson's kind and considerate treatment, withdrew from the contest and gave him the whole weight of his influence.

        This decided the contest, and Carson was elected.

        The contest in 1827, between Carson and Vance, terminated in an unhappy manner.

        Samuel P. Carson's temperament was such that he could not bear confinement; therefore, slow, plodding study, was out of the question, and regular systematic learning he did not possess. Yet his inquiring mind caused him to read with avidity whatever came to hand, and with powerful perceptive faculties, and a remarkably tenacious memory, he understood his subject at a glance, and whatever he read he retained, consequently he was a well-informed man.

        Fond of merriment, with a genial, social disposition, and possessing great wit, he was a delightful companion, and "the soul" of every social circle which he entered.

        A great judge of human nature, he could adapt himself to every one; and with the most captivating manners he won all whom he met. Generous to a fault, a man so endowed could not be otherwise than immensely popular with the people. And, with a superior intellect, fine conversational powers, a chivalrous sense of honor, and devoted attachment to his friends, he was as much sought by the great as by the more humble.

        Perhaps no man ever possessed warmer or more devoted friends.

        As a speaker he was argumentative, and his
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