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

 
 
 

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Essay:
     Edmund Deberry, United States congressman, was born on August 14, 1781, near Mount Gilead, the first of Henry and Sarah Deberry’s three children. Head of a middle class family, Edmund’s father owned a mill along Clark’s Creek and represented Montgomery County several times in the General Assembly. Nevertheless, young Deberry never received formal schooling. Still, he developed a strong knack for both agricultural enterprises and real estate ventures. At the age of twenty-four he won election to the state senate, a post he held for thirteen consecutive terms, until 1828.

     When Congressman John Culpepper refused to run for reelection from the Fayetteville district in 1829, he publicly stated that he wished for Deberry to take the seat. Deberry took the challenge and ran a close and controversial campaign against John Cameron, editor of the North Carolina Journal. Deberry won the election by a margin of only 200 votes. In 1831, he lost the seat to Democrat Lauchlin Bethune; however, he retook the seat two years later by ironically the exact same margin. Deberry held the seat until 1845.
     
      After his Congressional service, Deberry organized the Swift Island Manufacturing Company, producing a variety of goods, including silk, wool, hemp, and iron. The draw of politics was too strong, however, and in 1849 his constituents convinced him to run for Congress again. Deberry served out his final term, and then returned to his businesses. He died on December 12, 1859, leaving a widow and eight children. He and his wife are buried in the family cemetery near their plantation grounds.


References:
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, II, 46-47—sketch by Daniel R. McFarland
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-1989 (1989)
Edmund Deberry Papers, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, online finding aid at: http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/d/Deberry,Edmund.html
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