Governor Spaight's Coffin
The father of Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight, Jr. was the first native-born governor of North Carolina, educated in Scotland at the University of Glasgow and aide de camp to General Richard Caswell. Spaight the younger was the last North Carolina governor elected by the legislature.
Bernhard Thuersam, Circa1865
Governor Spaight’s Coffin:
Richard Dobbs Spaight, Jr. (1796-1850), son of a Revolutionary War veteran who was also a member of the North Carolina Legislature, United States Congressman and delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, served as governor of The Old North State from 1835 to 1837. He was born in New Bern, and prior to being governor, he served in the State Legislature from 1819 to 1822, and again from 1825 to 1834. Spaight was the last governor to be elected by the legislature, and was a member of the 1837 Constitutional Convention which transferred the gubernatorial election to popular vote.
During the War Between the States, Northern occupation troops used the Stevenson House (corner Pollock & George Streets) in New Bern as a hospital for wounded soldiers. In a truly unbelievable act of barbarism, “the body of Governor Spaight was dug up by Northern soldiers, the skull placed on a gate post, and the metal coffin used to send the body of a federal soldier back North.”
(A New Geography of North Carolina, Bill Sharpe, Sharpe’s Publishing Company 1961, page 1232)