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Home North Carolina Edgecombe County City of Rocky Mount Historical Markers Dred Wimberly

Dred Wimberly

Raleigh Street, Rocky Mount, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 56' 40.8552", -77° 44' 23.3052"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Former slave. Voted for better roads, schools, and colleges as State representative, 1879, 1887; and State senator, 1889. His home stands here."
     Born into slavery in 1849, Dred Wimberly served in the State House of Representatives in 1879 and 1887 and in the State Senate in 1889. His family lived on the Battle plantation and he named one of his sons Kemp for Kemp Plummer Battle, Rocky Mount native and president of the University of North Carolina. During his Senate term the elder Wimberly voted for the bill to establish the land grant college now known as North Carolina State University. Wimberly’s association with the Battle family lent some credence to a spurious tradition that he supported UNC in a legislative vote to fund the school in 1881. However, he was not in office at that time.

     Wimberly’s legislative record does indicate other support for education as well as votes to support the rebuilding of railroads. He was widely respected, among both colleagues and constituents, for his humility, sincerity, and generosity. A Republican, Wimberly served as a delegate to the party’s national convention in 1900 where William McKinley was renominated for president. From 1900 to 1902 he served as a janitor in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1902 he returned to live in Rocky Mount with his wife and eighteen children. He died in 1937 at age eighty-eight.

John L. Cheney Jr., comp., North Carolina Government, 1584-1979: A Narrative and Statistical History (1979)
Christopher Crittenden, “In Light of History” column, Associated Press release, June 21, 1967
J. Kelly Turner and John L. Bridgers Jr., History of Edgecombe County, North Carolina (1920)
C. H. Hamlin, Ninety Bits of North Carolina Biography (1946)
(Raleigh) News and Observer, May 2, 1965
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, VI, 237-238—sketch by John MacFie
Dred Wimberly Historical Marker Location Map, Rocky Mount, North Carolina