Elias Carr

43rd Governor of the State of North Carolina - 1893 to 1897

Date Born: February 25, 1839

Date Died: July 22, 1900

Place Born: Edgecombe County, NC

Place Buried: Edgecombe County, NC

Residence: Edgecombe County, NC

Occupation: Farmer


Elias Carr was born on February 25, 1839 at Bracebridge Hall, the family plantation near Old Sparta in Edgecombe County, NC, the son of Jonas Johnston Carr and Elizabeth Jane (Hilliard) Carr. Left an orphan at four years of age, Elias Carr was reared by his aunt and uncle, Temperance Boddie and John Buxton Williams of Warren County, NC.

One source asserts that he had a middle name - Elias Johnston Carr - but no other source has this info.

Carr attended school in Warren County and also the famous William James Bingham School at the Oaks in Orange County. His higher education was acquired at the University of North Carolina (1855–57) and later at the University of Virginia.

On May 24, 1859, Elias Carr married Eleanor Kearney the youngest daughter of William Kinchen Kearney and Maria (Alston) Kearney; they had six children.

Carr purchased his brother William's share of the family plantation and with his bride settled at Bracebridge Hall. Hardly had he commenced his farming activities when the Civil War began. On September 3, 1861 he enlisted as a Private in Company G of the 41st NC Regiment, 3rd Cavalry. A few months after his enlistment he was ordered to return home and operate his farm for the use of the Confederacy, but toward the war's end he saw active military service.

In 1869, Elias Carr was elected to the school committee for Sparta Township. He also served for about fifteen years on the Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners.

In 1886, Elias Carr was commissioned Gov. Alfred Moore Scales as a state delegate to the National Farmer's Congress in St. Paul, MN.

In 1887, Elias Carr was the first president of the North Carolina Farmer's Association, established in Raleigh. The primary purpose of the organization was to secure the establishment of an agricultural and mechanical college, an objective achieved in 1888. Carr became a member of the first board of trustees of the North Carolina Agricultural and Mechanic College (later NC State University).

From 1889 to 1892, Elias Carr became prominent as head of the state Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union. He was part of a more moderate or conservative faction of an alliance that opposed splitting from Democrats to form a third party.

From 1891 to 1893, Elias Carr served as a member of the board of managers of the North Carolina Geological Survey.

In the 1892 general election, Elias Carr was elected by the people as the next Governor of North Carolina, and he served from January 18, 1893 to January 12, 1897. During his term in office, Gov. Carr promoted better school facilities and regulation of railroads. The most controversial action of his administration was the lease in August 1895 of the North Carolina Railroad to the Southern Railway for ninety-nine years.

While serving as Governor, Elias Carr was a charter member and first President of the North Carolina Society of the Sons of the Revolution in 1893.

Elias Carr died of a "thyroid condition" on July 22, 1900 and was buried in the Carr Cemetery at Bracebridge Hall in Edgecombe County, NC.


Elias Carr (25 February 1839 -- 22 July 1900) was the Democratic governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina from 1893 to 1897.

The son of Jonas and Elizabeth Hilliard Carr, he was born at Bracebridge Hall, the 2,000 acre family plantation in Edgecombe County, NC. Orphaned at the age of four, Carr grew up in the home of his aunt and uncle in Warren County. There he attended a local school before going to the Bingham School in Orange County. He completed his education at UNC (1855-1857) and the University of Virginia. He married Eleanor Kearny in 1859 and they had six children.

Carr bought his brother's interest in Bracebridge Hall and prepared for the life of a planter, but the Civil War intervened. He enlisted in the 41st Regiment (3rd Cavalry) in 1861. Nine months later he received a planter's exemption and returned home. There, he implemented progressive farming techniques and sound business practices - suffering fewer losses than most of his contemporaries during the war.

Carr served as the first president of the Farmer's Institute of Edgecombe County, and in 1888 he was elected as the first president of the NC Farmer's Association. He also served on the first board of trustees of the NC College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts - present-day NC State University.

Considering the lack of political experience and the polarized factions within the State, Carr had a fairly successful administration. He recommended legislation to improve the state's bad road system, supported a geological survey, and campaigned for better schools - urging the passage of a compulsory school attendance law and advocated a tax increase during a slow economic era.

Carr retired to his plantation home, where he died on July 22, 1900. He was buried in the family cemetery there.


Elias Carr, governor of North Carolina, was born in Edgecombe County, NC on February 25, 1839. His education was attained at Oaks School, and at the University of Virginia. After serving in the Civil War, Carr became a successful farmer. He also became involved in the 1886 National Farmers’ Congress, as well as participating in the 1887 State Farmers Convention. Carr first entered politics as the 1892 Democratic gubernatorial nominee. He went on to win the general election, and was sworn into office on January 18, 1893. During his tenure, funding for state universities was increased; prison reform measures were initiated; and the state road system was advanced. After completing his term, Carr retired from political life. He continued to stay active in his various farming interests. Elias Carr passed away on July 22, 1900, and was buried in the family graveyard in Edgecombe County, NC.

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