Noted Politician W. Kerr Scott

Governor R. Gregg Cherry and Governor W. Kerr Scott and their wives on reviewing stand during Scott’s inauguration, January 1949. Image from the State Archives

On April 16, 1958, Governor, United States senator and state commissioner of agriculture W. Kerr Scott died. He was born in the Haw River community of Alamance County. Scott remained a farmer and dairyman with close ties to his home and church for all of his life.

After working as an agricultural agent in Alamance County and serving as master of the North Carolina State Grange, Scott fulfilled a promise made to his father by successfully running for state agriculture commissioner in 1936. As commissioner, Scott was a leading proponent of rural electrification and led the successful fight to rid the state of Bangs disease among cattle. He forced manufacturers of feed and fertilizer to eliminate sawdust and sand from their products.

Scott was elected governor in 1948.  During his four-year administration, the state paved more roads than had been paved up to 1949. Scott also directed the utilities commission to extend electricity and telephone service to rural areas.

In 1953, Scott left Raleigh to return to his farm at Haw River. The following year he was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served on the Agriculture Committee and helped frame legislation to finance the Interstate Highway System.

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