Richard Dobbs Spaight, North Carolina

Richard Dobbs Spaight, North Carolina

Richard Dobbs Spaight was a federalist who was born on 25th March 1758 at New Bern, North Carolina in the United State of America. He died on 6th November 1802 after serving his people in many different capacities. One of the most fulfilling positions in which he served during his life was when he was the governor of North Carolina. He held this position for three years from 1792.

Spaight was son to a colony's Crown secretary who died while he was only eight years old. He was schooled in Ireland from where he pursued his university education. He was a graduate of University of Glasgow. After graduating from the university, Richard Dobbs acted as Richard Caswell's aid in North Carolina. This was at a time when America was in the revolutionary war that lasted until 1781. In 1779, Dobbs was elected as a member of the General Assembly of North Carolina but the position was denied to him following an election challenge. Nevertheless, in 1781, Dobbs was elected to the assembly where he served till 1783.


While serving in the General assembly, Dobbs was elected as a Continental Congress' delegate. He held this position from 1782 to 1785. Later, Dobbs served in the House of Commons in North Caroline between 1785 and 1787. It was while serving in this house that Dobbs was named the house speaker. Later in 1787, Dobbs was part of the delegates that drafted the Constitution of the United States under the Philadelphia Convention. Dobbs was just 29 years of age when he signed this document.

Dobbs married Marry Leach and together they had a son who later became North Carolina's governor in 1835. Leach was given a distinction for being the first lady to engage George Washington in a dance in 1791 at a Washington's honor ball in Tryon Palace held in New Bern.

In 1787, Dobbs was nominated for governorship under a new constitution of North Carolina. However, he lost in the General Assembly's majority vote. In 1789, Dobbs was nominated as a senator in the senate of the United States, but he lost again. Despite supporting ratifications on the constitution of the United States in 1788 as a state's convention member, Dobbs voted against them. Ill health forced Dobbs to retire from politics for a number of years. He resurfaced in 1792 as a member in the representatives' house. During that same year, Dobbs was elected as a governor and later was re-elected to serve as a General Assembly member for two terms. It was during these terms while serving as a governor that both the Raleigh and North Carolina University sites were selected. Dobbs acted as the trustees' board chairman in the running of the university. He stepped down from his governor's position after serving for the time stipulated by the constitution.

Later in 1798, Dobbs elected for a term lasting for two years to the House of Representatives in the United State. He served until 1801 when he became a Federalist following his perception towards states rights. He was associated with Thomas Jefferson and his Democratic-Republican Party. He died on September 6th 1802 after sustaining injuries in a duel that involved a federalist congressman, John Stanly. He was buried in New Bern where his home was situated. There is a street named after him in the Central Madison.

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