John Wilbur Atwater

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John Wilbur Atwater (27 December 1840 – 4 July 1910) was a U.S. Congressman from North Carolina between 1899 and 1901.

Atwater, born near Fearrington, North Carolina in 1840, attended common schools and the William Closs Academy. A farmer, he enlisted in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, serving in Company D, First Regiment, of the North Carolina Volunteer Infantry; he was with the army of Gen. Robert E. Lee until the Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

Atwater joined the Farmers' Alliance in 1887, and was the first president of the Chatham County Alliance. He was elected to the North Carolina Senate in 1890 as an Alliance Democrat; he was subsequently elected in 1892 and 1896 as a Populist. In 1898, as an Independent Populist, Atwater was sent to the 56th U.S. Congress, serving from March 4, 1899 to March 3, 1901. He unsuccessfully ran for re-election in 1900 and returned to farming. He died in Fearington in 1910 and is buried in the Mount Pleasant Church Cemetery near Pittsboro.


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