Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More trivia about Gov. W.W. Holden

Sunday's column on Gov. W.W. Holden -- the first governor in the United States to be impeached, convicted and removed from office, reminded several folks that his 19th century  home in Raleigh stood at the corner of Hargett and McDowell Streets, hardly a stone's toss from my office in the building of the News & Observer.

 Holden began his career as a Democrat, supporting the same things many Southerners did including slavery, and wound up helping found the Republican Party, which opposed slavery.  The founder of the News & Observer was Josephus Daniels, who at the end of the 20th 19th century (Thanks to reader Marc Barnes for pointing out this 100-year mistake) worked in consort with Democrats and other newspapers, especially the Charlotte Observer, in the White Supremacy Movement that overthrew a legally elected government in Wilmington that had included black Republicans. The Daniels' family view of black people would change dramatically over the years and his descendants strongly supported reforms in the Civil Rights Era. 

One other historical note that will make good trivia: that house that Holden lived in in downtown Raleigh contained, according to biographer Horace Raper, "one of the first bathtubs" in the Capital City.  He also had a sunken garden, said to be unique at the time. Holden died in 1892 and is buried in old Oakwood Cemetery on the northeast side of downtown.

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