William Walton Kitchin

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William Walton Kitchin
52nd governor of North Carolina
In office
January 12, 1909 – January 15, 1913
LieutenantWilliam C. Newland
Preceded byRobert Broadnax Glenn
Succeeded byLocke Craig
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1897 – January 11, 1909
Preceded byThomas Settle III
Succeeded byJohn M. Morehead
Personal details
William Walton Kitchin

(1866-10-09)October 9, 1866
Scotland Neck, North Carolina, U.S.
DiedNovember 9, 1924(1924-11-09) (aged 58)
Scotland Neck, North Carolina, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseSue Musette Satterfield
Alma materWake Forest University
University of North Carolina School of Law
ProfessionLawyer, politician

William Walton Kitchin (October 9, 1866 – November 9, 1924) was an American attorney and the 52nd governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina from 1909 to 1913.

Early life and family[edit]

W.W. Kitchin was the son of William H. Kitchin and Maria Figures Arrington. He was born in Scotland Neck, NC.[1] He was the brother of Claude Kitchin and the uncle of Alvin Paul Kitchin, each of whom served in the U.S. Congress. He graduated from Wake Forest College in 1884, studied law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and passed the North Carolina Bar examination in 1887. He practiced law in Roxboro, NC.

On 22 December 1892, W.W. Kitchin married Sue Musette Satterfield of Roxboro, NC.[2] They had six children: Sue Arrington (22 October 1893 – 5 August 1954), William Walton (16 August 1895 – 30 September 1905), Anne Maria (23 October 1897 – 16 January 1995), Elizabeth Gertrude (19 December 1899 – 9 September 1979), Clement Satterfield (19 June 1902 – 21 December 1930), and Musette Satterfield (10 August 1906 – 17 October 1996). The children related stories of how kind he was to the hired help at the Governor's Mansion, going so far as to offer them time off one Christmas. This greatly disappointed the employees as they looked forward to the annual event. The children also enjoyed roller skating through the Governor's Mansion.

Political career[edit]

In 1892, he ran unsuccessfully for the North Carolina Senate but was later elected for six terms in the United States House of Representatives, from 1897 to 1909. In 1898, he helped lead the Wilmington insurrection of 1898, a violent coup d'état by a group of white supremacists. They expelled opposition black and white political leaders from the city, destroyed the property and businesses of black citizens built up since the Civil War, including the only black newspaper in the city, and killed an estimated 60 to more than 300 people.[3] With other members of his family, he was an active participant in leading to the approval of a state constitutional amendment in 1900 placing numerous limitations on the right of black Tar Heels to vote. In January, 1901, George Henry White, an African-American, included Kitchin in his Congressional farewell address. He said that no politician had done more to bring the African-American into disrepute. White also said that Kitchin attempted to disprove African-Americans were worthy of the Fourteenth Amendment.[4]

In 1906 Kitchin proposed an amendment to the Post Office Department's appropriations bill to end the $167,000 subsidy paid to Southern Railway funding the Fast Mail service, which served his constituency directly and was the last fast mail train in the United States that received such a subsidy. The train was discontinued on January 1, 1907, as a result, and Kitchin's amendment was later used as a campaign issue against him.[5][6][7][8][9]

Limited to one term as governor by the state constitution of the time, Kitchin ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate in 1912.[10] His tenure as governor was highly productive: he increased expenditures for public education and public health services, oversaw expansion of railroads and increased stability of the state's banks.[11]

After completing his term, Governor Kitchin practiced law in Raleigh, NC until 1919, when his declining health led him to retire to his home in Scotland Neck, NC. He died in 1924 and is buried in the Scotland Neck Baptist Cemetery.[12]


  1. ^ Hunter, Carey J. (1911). Governor Kitchin: the man and the principles that guide him.
  2. ^ Genealogy of the Bacon, Kitchin, Stack, & Travis at travisfamily.org
  3. ^ "RACE QUESTION IN POLITICS:North Carolina White Men Seek to Wrest Control from the Negroes". New York Times. October 24, 1898.
  4. ^ White, George Henry (1901). Congressional Record, 56th Cong., 2d session, vol. 34, pt. 2. Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office.
  5. ^ "Subsidy for Southern Railway's Fast Mail Train". The Journal and Tribune. Knoxville, TN. March 9, 1906. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  6. ^ Pence, Thomas J. (April 26, 1906). "Rural Delivery Is In Jeopardy". The North Carolinian. Raleigh, NC. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  7. ^ "On The Grid He Pitches Purnell". The Farmer and Mechanic. Raleigh, NC. May 8, 1906. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  8. ^ "The Last of the Special Mail Flyers". New Berne Weekly Journal. New Bern, NC. December 11, 1906. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  9. ^ Charlotte News (June 18, 1908). "Royal Debate Between Craig and Kitchin". The Newton Enterprise. Newton, NC. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  10. ^ OurCampaigns.com
  11. ^ Visit Roxboro, NC
  12. ^ Political Graveyard

External links[edit]

United States Congress. "KITCHIN, William Walton (id: K000252)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of North Carolina
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by United States Representative from North Carolina's 5th congressional district
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of North Carolina
Succeeded by