Richard Dobbs Spaight
|Richard Dobbs Spaight|
|Founding Documents||United States Constitution|
Richard Dobbs Spaight (March 25, 1758 – September 6, 1802) was the eighth Governor of North Carolina. He was also a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and a signer of the United States Constitution.
Spaight was born in New Bern, North Carolina, on March 25, 1758. He attended school in Ireland, and later attended the University of Glasgow in Scotland; returned home in 1778 and joined the Continental Army as aide-de-camp to General Caswell.
In 1778, Spaight returned to America and joined the Continental Army, serving as aide-de-camp to General Richard Caswell until 1781.
Spaight served as a member of the North Carolina House of Commons 1779-1783. Following the war, he was elected a delegate to the Continental Congress, serving from 1783-1785. Spaight was elected eighth governor of North Carolina in 1792, and remained in office until 1795.
Nathan Bryan's death in 1798 left his seat in the United States House of Representatives vacant; Spaight was elected to this seat as a Republican, serving the remainder of Bryan's term. He was again elected to a two-year term in 1799; in 1801, having lost his bid for re-election to John Stanly, he returned to state government as a member of the North Carolina state senate.
Spaight attended the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, where he signed the United States Constitution. Other members of the North Carolina delegation to the Convention were William Blount, William Richardson Davie, Alexander Martin, and Hugh Williamson.
He was also a member of the North Carolina state ratification convention.
Later life and death
In 1795, after his term of governor was complete, he married Mary Leach who was of a prominent family from Holmesburg, Pennsylvania. One of his sons, Richard Dobbs Spaight Jr., grew up to also be a governor for the state of North Carolina from 1835-1836.
Spaight engaged in a duel with John Stanly, the man who had defeated him in his run for Congress in 1801; he was injured in this duel, and died of his wounds on September 6, 1802. He is buried in the family sepulcher near New Bern, North Carolina.
- Sketch of the Life of Richard Dobbs Spaight of North Carolina
- The Founders: The 39 Stories Behind the U.S. Constitution