Name: James Mebane 1 2 3
Reference Number: 3486
Birth: 05 SEP 1774 in Orange County, North Carolina 2
Burial: Hawfields Presbyterian Church (Alamance County, North Carolina)
Death: 12 DEC 1857 in Caswell County, North Carolina 2
James Mebane (1774-1857)
(for larger image, click on photograph, then click "Actions/View all Sizes")
James Mebane (5 Sept. 1774-12 Dec. 1857), legislator, was probably born at Hawfields, Orange County, one of four sons of Alexander, Jr., and Mary Armstrong Mebane. His father and uncles William, James, John, and Robert were active in the American Revolution, most of them serving as colonels in the North Carolina militia.
Nothing is known of Mebane's early education, though it is likely that he studied under the Reverend Henry Patillo. In 1795 he was one of the first students to enter The University of North Carolina, where he served as the first president of the Dialectic Literary Society; for over a century the society displayed his portrait in a prominent location in its hall. However, he left the university in 1797 without a diploma.
Mebane married Elizabeth Kinchen (1778/79 - 7 Aug. 1832), and the couple had five sons, including Giles Mebane, and one daughter.
His political career began with his election to the House of Commons in 1798; he was reelected in 1801, 1803, 1818, 1820, 1822, 1823, and 1831. During the 1820-21 term he was speaker. In addition, he served in the state senate from 1808 to 1811 and in 1828. In the senate Mebane sponsored the Electoral Act of 1811, which would have given the choice of presidential electors to the state legislature.
Mebane served on the board of trustees of The University of North Carolina from 1811 until his death. He was buried beside his wife in the second graveyard of Hawfields Presbyterian Church in Alamance County.
Roger N. Kirkman
See: An Alphabetical List of Those Identifiable Graves in the Second Hawfields Burying Ground, 1783-1975 (1975); Kemp P. Battle, History of the University of North Carolina, vol. 1 (1907); Ruth Blackwelder, The Age of Orange (1961); Daniel L. Grant, Alumni History of the University of North Carolina, 1795-1924 (1924); Hugh T. Lefler and Paul Wager, Orange County, 1752-1952 (1953); North Carolina Biography, vol. 5 (1941); Herbert S. Turner, comp., The Scott Family of Hawfields (1971); Stephen B. Weeks Scrapbook: History and Biography of North Carolina, vol. 10 (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill); John H. Wheeler, ed., Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians (1884).
Source: Dictionary of North Carolina Biography edited by William S. Powell. Copyright (c) 1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. www.uncpress.unc.edu.
James Mebane, the second generation of Mebanes born in Orange County, North Carolina and father of Giles Mebane, was one of the early students of the University of North Carolina when its doors were opened to Carolina's bright sons. He was first president of the Dialectic Society. He was a member of the general assembly for four different terms, 1798-1803, 1808-1811 (son Giles was born in 1809), and 1821-1823 (he was speaker of the house that term). He was elected the last time to the House of Commons in 1828. He died in 1857 at the age of 83.
Source: Daily Times-News (Burlington, North Carolina), 17 October 1957 (pages C-1 and C-3).
University of North Carolina Board of Trustees 1840: James Mebane (Caswell County, North Carolina).
The first President of the Society in 1795 was still living, the venerable James Mebane, who had occupied the high office of Speaker of the Senate. His father, Alexander Mebane, one of the early members of Congress under the constitution of 1789, had been one of our early Trustees, was one of the committee who selected the site of the University and assisted in laying the corner stone. As James Mebane had a distinguished father, so he has a distinguished son, likewise Speaker of the Senate, one of the best of men, Giles Mebane, of Caswell. I had the eminent honor of sitting by the side of this noble father of the Dialectic Society, and presiding jointly with him over its deliberations.
The above was An Address on the History of the Buildings of the University of North Carolina, by Kemp P. Battle, LL. D., Delivered on University Day, 1883, in Gerrard Hall.
Death of James Mebane: Our exchanges bring us tidings of the sudden death of James Mebane, a distinguished citizen of the State, who expired at his residence in Caswell County, on the 12th instant, at the age of 84 years.He had represented the County of Orange in both branches of the Legislature, and been Speaker in one of them, and had been a Magistrate and Elder of the Presbyterian Church. In all the transactions of life he maintained a character pure and unsullied.
Source: Sat. Dec. 26, 1857 North Carolina Argus
Owned a flour mill in Caswell County, North Carolina, in 1850. He also was one of the founders of the Dan River Institute in Yanceyville in 1847.
Caswell County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions (April 1843): "Elijah Graves, foreman grand jury. Among jurors: Owen McAleer, Abner Stanfield, Samuel Hinton, Thomas Bigelow, James Mebane, Hosea McNeill, Daniel W. Swan, Ransom Boswell, Devereux Hightower, Geo. W. Johnston."
Source: Historical Abstracts of Minutes of Caswell County, North Carolina 1777-1877, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1976) at 67.
Note that some researchers state that James Mebane was married only twice, and that the James Mebane who married Mary (Polly) Graves pursuant to a Caswell County marriage bond dated 17 January 1833 was actually James Mebane, Jr. (1812-1857), son of James Mebane (1774-1857).
No children with Polly Graves, purportedly his second wife, or with Mary Catherine Watts, purportedly his third wife.The 1850 census record set forth below provides support for the marriage of James Mebane (1774-1857) to Mary Catherine Watts.
From The Political Graveyard: Mebane, James - of Yanceyville, Caswell County, N.C. Whig. Delegate to Whig National Convention from North Carolina, 1839. Burial location unknown.
U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970
Name: James Mebane
SAR Membership: 97672
Birth Date: 1774
Death Date: 1850
Father: Alexander Mebane
Mother: Mary Armstrong
Spouse: Elizabeth Kitchen
Children: Giles Mebane
1850 United States Federal Census
Name: James Mebane
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1774
Birth Place: Orange
Home in 1850 (City,County,State): Caswell, North Carolina
Family Number: 595
Household Members: Name Age
James Mebane 76
Mary C Mebane 50
William K Mebane 16
Charles P Mebane 14
James W Montgomery 24
Father: Alexander Mebane II b: 26 NOV 1744 in Hawfields, Orange County, North Carolina
Mother: Mary Armstrong b: 1749
Elizabeth Kinchen b: 06 JUL 1780
- William Kinchen Mebane b: 31 DEC 1801 in Orange County, North Carolina
- Eliza Harriett Mebane b: 24 DEC 1803 in Orange County, North Carolina
- Alexander Allen Mebane b: 01 SEP 1806 in Orange County, North Carolina
- Giles Mebane b: 25 JAN 1809 in Orange County, North Carolina
- James Mebane Jr. b: 22 NOV 1812
- Lemuel H. Mebane b: 01 AUG 1816 in Orange County, North Carolina
Mary Graves b: 15 JAN 1792 in Caswell County, North Carolina
17 JAN 1833
in Caswell County, North Carolina 4 3
Source: Graves: Twelve Generations, Some Descendants and Kin, Louise Graves (1977)
Marriage Bond Record
Groom: James Mebane
Bride: Mary Graves
Bond Date: 17 January 1833
Bondsman/Witness: William Graves
Location: Caswell County, North Carolina
Source: Caswell County, North Carolina Marriage Bonds, 1778-1868, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1981) at 69.
Bride: Polly Graves
Bond Date: 17 Jan 1833
Bond #: 000016913
Level Info: North Carolina Marriage Bonds, 1741-1868
Record #: 01 199
Bondsman: William Graves
Source: Ancestry.Com North Carolina Marriage Bonds, 1741-1868
Mary Catherine Watts b: 01 FEB 1800
22 SEP 1847
in Rockingham County, North Carolina 4
- Details: Biographical History of North Carolina from Colonial Times to the Present, Samuel A. Ashe (1908) at 332.
- Details: Fox and Graham Family Website
- Details: Caswell County, North Carolina Marriage Bonds, 1778-1868, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1981) at 69.
- Details: Sally's Family Place.