W. Kerr Scott

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W. Kerr Scott
Scott (left) in 1951, with Harry S. Truman and Gordon Gray .
Portrait as the governor

William Kerr Scott (born April 17, 1896 in Haw River , Alamance County , North Carolina , † April 16, 1958 in Burlington , North Carolina) was an American politician ( Democratic Party ) and from 1949 to 1953 Governor of North Carolina. From 1954 to 1958 he represented this state in the US Senate .

Early years

Kerr Scott attended Hawfield High School and North Carolina State College , where he graduated in 1917. After the United States entered World War I , he became a soldier in a field artillery unit. After the war, he worked as a merchant supplying farms in Alamance County with agricultural supplies. Between 1930 and 1933 he was head of a state-owned farm ( North Carolina State Grange ). From 1934 to 1936 he was the head of a debt rescheduling program for farmers that had been set up to overcome the economic crisis. Between 1937 and 1948 he served as the North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture .

North Carolina Governor

In 1948 he was nominated by his party as a candidate for the upcoming gubernatorial election, which he won with 73.2 percent of the vote against the Republican George M. Pritchard . After winning the election, he took up his new office as the 62nd Governor of North Carolina on January 6, 1949. In the following four years until January 8, 1953, he had the state's road network expanded. In Wilmington and Morehead City , the seaports were expanded and made more accessible to ships with greater depths. A program to improve health, especially in the youth and school sectors, was launched nationwide. Scott is the founder of the "Go Forward" program approved by the state parliament in 1949.

US Senator

After his term in office he was elected to the US Senate. There he served from November 2, 1954 until his death on April 16, 1958. During his tenure in Congress , he was one of 19 US Senators who signed the 1956 Southern Manifesto . This was a letter of protest against the " desegregation " . Its commitment to agriculture is undisputed. As a resident of Alamance County and educated farmer Scott was a lifelong advocate for agricultural issues, so he (in his home state as "the Squire of Haw River" the squire of Haw River ) was known. Kerr Scott was married to Mary Elizabeth White. The couple had three children, including the future Governor Robert W. Scott .


The reservoir W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir in Wilkes County bears his name in honor of the former governor and senator, as he had been instrumental in the approval process of the plant.


  • Robert Sobel and John Raimo (Eds.): Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789–1978. Volume 2, Meckler Books, Westport, Conn. 1978, 4 volumes
  • American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; US Congress. Memorial Addresses. 85 Cong., 2nd sess., 1958. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office , 1958.

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