Alfred Moore Waddell

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Alfred Moore Waddell.

Alfred Moore Waddell (September 16, 1834 – March 17, 1912) was a Democratic U.S. Congressman from North Carolina between 1871 and 1879 and later (after leading a white supremacist armed revolt) mayor of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Family and education[edit]

He was the great-great-great-grandson of General Hugh Waddell, and great-grandson of both Brigadier General Francis Nash and U. S. Supreme Court Justice Alfred Moore.[1] Born in Hillsboro, North Carolina, Waddell attended Bingham’s School and Caldwell Institute before enrolling in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating in 1853. He was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1855.

Political and military career[edit]

In 1856, he supported the American Party and opposed secession in the years leading up to the Civil War. A delegate to the Constitutional Union National Convention in Baltimore in 1860, Waddell entered the newspaper business in North Carolina; he edited the Wilmington Daily Herald in 1860 and 1861. He fought for the Confederacy in the American Civil War and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Third Cavalry, Forty-first North Carolina Regiment.

In 1870, Waddell was elected to the 42nd United States Congress; he was re-elected three times, serving as the chairman of the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads during his final term in Congress. He was defeated for re-election by Daniel L. Russell in 1878 and returned to law and the newspaper business in North Carolina, serving as editor of the Charlotte Journal-Observer in 1881 and 1882. Waddell remained active in politics and was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1880 and 1896.

In 1898, he helped engineer the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898 and was "elected" mayor of Wilmington by the new city council after the coup d'état forced the resignation of Republican Mayor Silas P. Wright and other members of the city government.

He was quoted by a local newspaper outlining his electoral strategy to a gathered crowd:

You are Anglo-Saxons. You are armed and prepared and you will do your duty…Go to the polls tomorrow, and if you find the negro out voting, tell him to leave the polls and if he refuses, kill him, shoot him down in his tracks. We shall win tomorrow if we have to do it with guns.[2]

Waddell went on to serve as mayor until 1905. He died in Wilmington in 1912.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ North Carolina History Project : Alfred Moore Waddell (1834-1912) at
  2. ^ Catherine Bishir, "Landmarks of Power: Building a Southern Past in Raleigh and Wilmington, North Carolina, 1885-1915", in Where These Memories Grow: History, Memory and Southern Identity. 2000


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Oliver H. Dockery
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Daniel L. Russell