north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
 

 
 
 

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     The political career of Weldon Nathaniel Edwards extended from the close of the War of 1812 to the Reconstruction era. Though not as ambitious or well-known as many contemporaries, the “venerable Democrat” was a major player on the stage of nineteenth century North Carolina politics. Born in Northampton County and educated at Warrenton Academy, twenty-eight-year old Edwards succeeded his kinsman Nathaniel Macon in his U.S. House seat. This followed two terms in the state House (1814, 1815). After his retirement from the Congress in 1827, Edwards represented Warren in the state Senate for ten terms (1833-1852). In 1835 he served in the state Constitutional Convention.

     An outspoken advocate of Southern nationalism, Edwards was elected over William A. Graham of Orange County as president of the Secession Convention meeting in Raleigh in May 1861. He presided over that body four times, through May 1862. Edwards “hailed with delight the prospect of separation from the Northern people, whom he despised,” according to historian Samuel A. Ashe.

     Edward’s “consuming passion” was his plantation in Warren County, known as “Poplar Mount.” There he experimented with scientific agriculture, breeding livestock and cultivating tobacco. There he welcomed Pres. James Buchanan on his visit to the state in 1859. There he wrote his Memoir of Nathaniel Macon, published in 1862. And, it was there that he died and was buried at age eighty-five. Today, his house is gone but outbuildings, trees, and the grave remain.


References:
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, II, 141 – sketch by Daniel M. McFarland
Samuel A. Ashe, ed., Biographical History of North Carolina, I, 285-269 – sketch by Samuel A. Ashe
Weldon N. Edwards Papers, North Carolina State Archives
Joseph Carlyle Sitterson, The Secession Movement in North Carolina (1939)
Manly Wade Wellman, The County of Warren, North Carolina, 1586-1917 (1959)
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Weldon Edwards

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources