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



Marker Text:

     Augustus Leazer, serving Iredell County in the North Carolina House of Representatives, coauthored and introduced the 1885 bill to establish the North Carolina Agricultural and Mechanical College (now North Carolina State University) in Raleigh. Although the first bill failed, the second bill, modified and made compatible with federal land grant egislation, became law two years later. When the college opened in 1889, Leazer was appointed to its first board of trustees.

     Augustus Leazer was born in 1843 in Rowan County to John and Isabella Jamison Leazar. He graduated from Davidson College with first honors at age seventeen. Following service in the Confederate Army, Leazer married and began teaching in classical schools. In Mooresville, Leazer was co-principal, with his brother-in-law Stephen Frontis, of a school. He also began teaching at a summer normal school held at the University of North Carolina in 1877. In 1882 Augustus Leazer was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives. He served four consecutive terms, and was elected speaker in 1889. His progressive politics led Leazer in the 1880s to the Farmer’s Alliance movement. He ran for Congress in 1890 on an Alliance backed ticket.

     Leazer led Central Prison, serving as superintendent from 1893 to 1897. The state penitentiary became self-supporting for the first time in its history under Leazer’s management. He continued to serve on the board of the Agricultural and Mechanical College and later sat on the board for the University of North Carolina. For many years, Leazer also sat on the board of trustees for his alma mater, Davidson College. Leazer died February 18, 1905. He is buried at Willow Valley Cemetery in Mooresville. The highway historical marker is placed near the location of Prospect Church Academy, where Leazer taught.

William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, IV, 41-42—sketch by Lala Carr Steelman
Salisbury Post, March 31, 1987
North Carolina State University website:
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north carolina highway historical marker program

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