North Carolina-Sampson County-October 8

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-October 8

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

In 1784 Sampson County was carved out of Duplin County. The county seat is Clinton, NC and the county boasts a population of around 63,000. Map of Sampson County is found below outlined in red.


Sampson County was named after John Sampson, an early political figure who served in neighboring Duplin County. Scotch-Irish immigrants were the first Europeans to settle the region in the 1740s and 1750s.

Sampson County Courthouse shown below:


Earlier in the year I wrote a post about the Hollerin’ Contest that was held for many years in Spivey’s Corner but was not held this past year.


Sampson County has been the birthplace to various politicians, soldiers, and other important North Carolinians. William R. King (1786-1853), perhaps Sampson’s most prominent native, became Ambassador to England and France, and King served as Vice President of the United States for a brief time until his death in 1853.


On July 10, 1850, Zachary Taylor’s death placed Millard Fillmore in the White House and left the vice-presidency vacant. On July 11, the solemn Senate set aside the practice of having each party offer a nomination for the president pro tempore’s post and unanimously selected King for the vacancy.

In November 1952 , King began to suffer from a worsening cough. A month later, he described himself as looking like a skeleton and told friends he doubted that he would ever recover.

On December 20, two weeks into the short December-March congressional session, King resigned his Senate seat and made plans to regain his health away from wintertime Washington.

On January 17, 1853, King left for the more salutary climate of Cuba, by way of Key West, Florida; he reached Havana in early February. Soon realizing that he would be unable to return to Washington in time for the March 4, 1853, inauguration, King requested that Congress permit him to take his oath in Cuba. Consequently, for the only time in this nation’s history, Congress passed legislation allowing the vice-president-elect to be sworn in outside the country.

On March 24, 1853, near Matanzas, a seaport town sixty miles east of Havana, the gravely ill statesman, too feeble to stand unaided, became the nation’s thirteenth vice president.

Deciding that he would make every effort to return to the United States, King set sail for Mobile on April 6. He reached his Alabama plantation on April 17, but his struggle was at an end. The sixty-seven-year-old King died there the following day.






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