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Senator and Jurist A.S. Merrimon

A portrait of Merrimon from the N.C. Museum of HistoryOn November 14, 1892, U.S. Senator and Chief Justice of North Carolina A.S. Merrimon died. Born in 1830 in Transylvania County, Merrimon studied law alongside Zebulon B. Vance in Asheville. Before the Civil War, he held a variety of public offices in Asheville, serving as a solicitor for Buncombe County and in the legislature in 1860 and 1861.

Though an opponent of secession, Merrimon enlisted in the Confederate Army at the outset of the Civil War. Soon after, he was appointed solicitor for the Eighth Confederate Congressional district. For the remainder of the war, he used that position to try to quell violence in the western part of the state between pro-Confederate and Unionist factions.

A prominent lawyer throughout the late 1860s and early 1870s, Merrimon ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1872, but was elected to the U.S. Senate the following year. While in the Senate he spoke against a civil rights bill and attacked Republicans and their causes in general. He returned to private practice after one term until Governor Thomas J. Jarvis appointed him to the state supreme court. He was elevated to chief justice six years later.

He died in November 1892 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh.

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