North Carolina-Eliza Jane Pratt-November 15

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-November 15

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.

Last week a number of people were anticipating history being made if Hillary Clinton had been elected president. I got wondering who was the first female from North Carolina to serve in congress. I found out it was Eliza Jane Pratt.


In 1946 Eliza Jane Pratt a Democrat was elected to Seventy-ninth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William O. Burgin and served from May 25, 1946, to January 3, 1947; was not a candidate for re-nomination in 1946.

Prior to being elected Eliza served as a longtime legislative aide for four North Carolina Congressmen rom the 8th Congressional District.

Pratt developed a rapport with voters and an extensive knowledge of their legislative interests. When Burgin died during his fourth term in the House on April 11, 1946, the North Carolina Democratic executive committee debated only 30 minutes before nominating Pratt over six other candidates to run for the vacant congressional seat. Campaigning for the special election and paying all her own expenses, Pratt won a lopsided victory over Republican H. Frank Hulin.

Eliza was born in Morven, Anson County, N.C., on March 5, 1902. She attended the public schools of Morven and Raeford, N.C., and Queens College at Charlotte, N.C.

She was a newspaper editor at a weekly paper called the Montgomerian in Troy, N.C., in 1923 and 1924 before beginning a 22 year career of serving as secretary to Members of Congress from the Eighth Congressional District of North Carolina from 1924-1946.


After leaving Congress, Pratt served in a number of federal positions before returning to North Carolina. She lived in Wadesboro, North Carolina, until her death in Charlotte on May 13, 1981.




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