William Turner Faircloth

9th NC Supreme Court Chief Justice

Date Born: January 8, 1829

Date Died: December 29, 1900

       
       
       
Place Born: Edgecombe County, NC

Place Buried: Fairview Cemetery in LaGrange, NC

 

Chief Justice 1894-1900
Associate Justice 1875-1878
 

William Turner Faircloth was born on January 8, 1829 in Edgecombe County, NC, the son of William Faircloth and Susan (Edwards) Faircloth. At the age of twenty-one (21), he entered Wake Forest College and taught school during his vacations; he graduated in June of 1854 as class valedictorian. He then entered Richmond Mumford Pearson's law school at Richmond Hill in Yadkin County; he was admitted to the NC bar on January 1, 1856.

Also in 1856, William Turner Faircloth moved to Snow Hill, the county seat of adjacent Greene County, where he served as County Solicitor until May. He then moved to Goldsboro, the county seat of Wayne County, where he maintained his private law practice until June of 1861.

On May 16, 1861, William Turner Faircloth was appointed as a Lieutenant in Wayne County where he helped to raise the Rip Van Winkle Company. On August 21, 1861, this unit was accepted into state service at Camp Mason in Wayne County as Company C of the 2nd NC Regiment of Infantry; it was transferred to the 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac, on September 23, 1861.

After being stationed at Middletown in Hyde County and Garysburgh in Northampton County, the regiment went to Virginia in November or December of 1861 and drilled at Camp Potomac. William Turner Faircloth was promoted to Captain and Assistant Quartermaster on March 14, 1862; he served in that capacity and rank throughout the remainder of the Civil War.

In May of 1862, the 2nd NC Regiment was moved to Camp Wyatt in New Hanover County, NC, to help defend Fort Fisher from the expedition of Union Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside. When General Robert E. Lee was named commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia on June 1st, the 2nd NC Regiment was made part of the 2nd Corps and hurriedly joined Gen. Lee's forces in time for the Seven Days' Battle, which began on June 25th at Oak Grove, VA.

The 2nd NC Regiment of Infantry also participated in the major battles of: South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettsyburg, Spottsylvania, Winchester, and the Siege of Petersburg. Upon his surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, Captain William Turner Faircloth was paroled. He then returned to Goldsboro and resumed his private law practice.

In 1865, William Turner Faircloth was elected to represent Wayne County in the 1865 NC Constitutional Convention. Also in 1865, he was elected as one of two men to represent Wayne County in the NC House of Commons of the:
- 76th General Assembly that met from 1865 to 1866

This legislature then elected William Turner Faircloth as Solicitor of the 3rd Judicial District, a position he held until July of 1868. He again returned to his private law practice.

On January 10, 1869, William Turner Faircloth married Eveline Eliza Wooten, daughter of Council and Eliza Wooten of Mosely Hall (now LaGrange) in Lenoir County; they had no children.

In 1875, William Turner Faircloth was elected to represent Wayne County in the NC Constitutional Convention that met in Raleigh. In November of 1875, Gov. Curtis Hooks Brogden appointed William Turner Faircloth as an Associate Justice on the NC Supreme Court, replacing Associate Justice William Blount Rodman, who had recently retired. His term expired in the Fall of 1878, and he was not re-elected.

William Turner Faircloth ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor in 1884 and unsuccessfully for Associate Justice in 1888.

In the General Election of 1894, the Populists party in North Carolina fused their ticket with the Republican party. Without his knowledge or approval, the Populists nominated William Turner Faircloth for Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court, and, almost simultaneously, a conference of Republican leaders asked him to run for the same post on the Republican ticket. Having accepted one party's nomination, he then accepted the other's and was elected to an eight-year term, and he served until his death.

William Turner Faircloth was a major stockholder and onetime director of the Bank of Wayne in Goldsboro and was on the directing boards of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad (W&W RR) and the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad (A&NC RR). Other major investments included one-third ownership of Goldsboro's Hotel Gregory, stock in the Goldsboro Furniture Factory, and real estate in Goldsboro and in Wayne County.

William Turner Faircloth served on the board of trustees of Wake Forest College (1891–1900), the Baptist Orphanage at Thomasville (1889–95), and Meredith College (1891–1900). He was also an attorney for the Baptist Orphanage (1885–1900). Buildings constructed partly from his legacy at the orphanage and at Meredith College now bear his name. His law library was given to Wake Forest's law school. He served North Carolina as a trustee for the state insane asylum and for the University of North Carolina (1874–1895). In 1895, The University of North Carolina conferred upon him the honorary degree of doctor of laws.

On December 29, 1900, William Turner Faircloth died of a stroke in his Goldsboro home, and he was buried in the Fairview Cemetery in LaGrange, NC.


Elected as Chief Justice in the general elections of 1894.

William Turner Faircloth (died 1900) was the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court from 1895 until his death on December 29, 1900.

According to his New York Times obituary, Faircloth had become one of the wealthiest men in his hometown, Goldsboro, North Carolina, where he served on the board of directors of the Bank of Wayne. He was also described as "one of the most prominent Republicans in Eastern North Carolina."

Faircloth was born in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. He practiced law before serving in the Second North Carolina Infantry during the American Civil War. In 1867, he married Eviline Wooten.

Faircloth was elected to represent Wayne County in the North Carolina House of Commons and at a state constitutional convention, both in 1865. As of 1867, he was solicitor (district attorney) for the state's Second Circuit.

He was appointed to the NC Supreme Court in 1875 by Gov. Curtis Hooks Brogden, and served until 1879.

He was the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina in 1884, losing to Charles M. Stedman.

He was nominated by the Republicans for the state Supreme Court in 1890, but lost.

In the 1894 election, as the "fusion" nominee of Republicans and Populists, Faircloth defeated incumbent Chief Justice James E. Shepherd.


William T. Faircloth was born in Edgecombe County in January of 1829, and graduated at Wake Forest College in 1854. His means were limited and he taught school in vacation to pay his expenses in college. He studied law with Justice Richmond Pearson and was admitted to the practice in 1856 and located in Goldsboro, NC.

He served during the War as a quartermaster, and he was at the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.

He was a member of the Convention of 1865, and of the succeeding Legislature, by which he was elected Solicitor. He was a member of the State Convention of 1875, as were Judges Avery and Shepherd.

In November of 1876, he was appointed by Governor Curtis H. Brogden to the NC Supreme Court to fill the vacancy caused by the second resignation of Justice Thomas Settle. His term expired on January 1, 1879, and he returned to private practice in Goldsboro.

He was defeated in 1884 for Lt. Governor on the Republicn ticket, and in 1890 he was the candidate of the same party for justice of the Supreme Court against Justice Walter Clark, and was again defeated.

In 1894, he was nominated by the Republicans and Populists and elected Chief Justice. He died suddenly at his home in Goldsboro on December 30, 1900.


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