Edmond Spencer Blackburn
Born near Boone, North Carolina, Blackburn attended common schools and became a lawyer. He was admitted to the bar in 1890 and practiced law in Jefferson, North Carolina. A clerk for the North Carolina Senate in 1894 and 1895, he was elected to the state house in 1896 and 1897, the second year serving as speaker pro tempore.
In 1898, he was named an assistant United States attorney, and two years later, was elected as a Republican to the United States House of Representatives. He ran unsuccessfully for re-election in 1902, but was elected to a second non-consecutive term in 1904 in the 59th U.S. Congress.