Kemp P. Battle

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Kemp P. Battle
Kemp Plummer Battle 2.jpg
Battle pictured in Yackety Yak 1919, UNC yearbook
President of the
University of North Carolina
In office
Preceded by Charles Phillips
Succeeded by George Tayloe Winston
Treasurer of North Carolina
In office
Preceded by William Sloan
Succeeded by David A. Jenkins
Personal details
Born (1831-12-19)December 19, 1831
Louisburg, North Carolina
Died February 4, 1919(1919-02-04) (aged 87)
Raleigh, North Carolina
Alma mater University of North Carolina
Profession Lawyer, Politician, Educator, Historian

Kemp Plummer Battle (December 19, 1831 – February 4, 1919) was an American lawyer, railroad president, university president, educator, and historian. He served as North Carolina State Treasurer and as president of the University of North Carolina in the nineteenth century.

Early years[edit]

Battle spent his early childhood in Louisburg, North Carolina, where his father William Horn Battle practiced law and was active in politics.[1] His grandfather was "the honest lawyer" Kemp Plummer.

University of North Carolina[edit]

He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1849 as the valedictorian of his class. He was also a member of the Dialectic Society while attending UNC. During the next five years he worked at the university, as tutor of Latin and then as tutor of mathematics, while studying law under the tutelage of his father.

Law practice[edit]

He was admitted to the Bar in 1854 and began a practice in Raleigh. In 1857, he was named a director of the rechartered Bank of North Carolina.[2]

Civil War[edit]

In 1861 Battle was a delegate to the Secession Convention and signed the Ordinance of Secession.[3] During the Civil War he served as president of the Chatham Railroad which existed primarily to haul coal from the mines in Chatham County to Confederate armament factories.

In 1862, Battle was elected by the legislature to serve as a trustee of the University and held this position until 1868, when the entire board was thrown out by the Reconstruction General Assembly. He was elected Treasurer by the legislature in 1866 but removed from office in 1868 by the occupying U.S. military authorities because of his service to the Confederacy.

University of North Carolina[edit]

In 1874, Battle was reappointed a trustee to the University. He was named president of the University in 1876 and served ably until 1891, when he resigned to become Alumni Professor of History. He became a distinguished historian and compiled a significant body of scholarly work, the most prominent piece being his two-volume History of the University of North Carolina which is still today considered a significant study. In fact, the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies, the oldest student group on UNC's campus, hosts a lecture every year on University Day named in his honor.[4]

Battle is buried in Historic Oakwood Cemetery.


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
William Sloan
Treasurer of North Carolina
Succeeded by
David A. Jenkins