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North Carolina Thit. Come.
This volume was compiled for the most part by Mr. Santford Martin, Private Secretary to Governor Bickett, in fulfillment of the duty of the Governor's secretary to keep an official letter-book. Mr. Martin, however, resigned his office before the expiration of Governor Bickett's term. The North Carolina Historical Commission was then requested by Governor Bickett to complete the compilation, editing, and publishing of his letter-book. Authority was granted by the Council of State and funds for printing were provided by the Printing Commission. This work, in addition to preserving the official papers of Governor Bickett, fulfills part of the task of publishing records of North Carolina in the World War.
The editor is indebted to Mrs. T. W. Bickett, Mrs. George W. Alston, Mr. Lawrence E. Nichols, Mr. Frank Smethurst, and Mr. T. B. Eldridge for invaluable assistance.
R. B. HOUSE. RALEIGH, N. C., December 4, 1923.
THOMAS WALTER BICKETT
Thomas Walter Bickett, War Governor of North Carolina, was born in Monroe, N. C., February 28, 1869, the son of Thomas Winchester and Mary Covington Bickett from whom he inherited the wit and sentiment of the Irish and the sturdy stability of the English.
He spent four years at Wake Forest, receiving the A.B. degree in 1890. After two years of teaching in Winston-Salem, he entered the law school of the University of North Carolina and in February, 1893, received his license to practice law. Two years later, he settled in Louisburg and in 1898 married Miss Fannie Yarborough, daughter of Col. William H. Yarborough. Three children were born to them and of these one, William Yarborough Bickett, survives.
Serving his first public office as a representative from Franklin County in the General Assembly of 1907, he introduced and piloted to passage a bill appropriating a half million dollars for the care of the insane. It was the largest appropriation made by North Carolina for such a cause up to that time and was the beginning of an increasing interest on the part of the State in behalf of its defectives.
The Democratic State Convention, meeting in Charlotte, nominated him for Attorney General in 1907 after his brilliant speech offering Col. Ashley Horne, of Clayton, for the gubernatorial nomination. During his eight years in this office, he won all the five cases for the State in the United States Supreme Court and made sure his elevation to the Governorship.
He was nominated for Governor in the first Statewide Primary in 1916 and in 1917 was inaugurated. The World War, though it shattered many of his plans for domestic reform, gave opportunity for new tasks of leadership which brought to him and the State unqualified commendation and praise. At the close of his term he gave this estimate of his administration:
Lest we forget, I write it down in this last chapter and certify to all the generations that the one stupendous, immortal thing connected with this
administration is the part North Carolina played in the World War. Yet, the record of two regular sessions and a special session of the General Assembly show forty measures enacted into law out of forty-eight he recommended. They embrace provisions for six-months school and increased salaries for teachers; for broader agricultural education and a richer rural life; for expansion of public health and the creation of a public welfare system; for more liberal support of all State institutions; for a humane prison administration; for the foundation of an elaborate chain of State highways; for tax reforms including revaluation, the income tax, and a start on the segregation of State and local taxation.
Extending beyond the limitations of his office, his moral influence turned con-
Recognized and honored at home and abroad as a thinker whose judgment was
On December 27, 1921, less than a year after he had returned to the practice of
He served his day and generation according to God's will and fell on sleep.