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Home North Carolina Catawba County City of Newton Historical Markers M. L. Mccorkle 1817-1899

M. L. Mccorkle 1817-1899

South Main Street, Newton, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 39' 20.9988", -81° 13' 30.18"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Superior Court judge; a founder of Catawba College; state senator & Confederate colonel. His home stood here."
     Matthew L. McCorkle, judge and community leader, was born in 1817 in a section of Lincoln County that had been annexed to become part of the new Catawba County in 1842. McCorkle’s family had long lived in the region and his grandfather was a distinguished Revolutionary War hero. McCorkle was first educated at home and graduated from Davidson College in 1843. After graduation, McCorkle studied law under Chief Justice Richmond Pearson and was licensed to practice in 1844. He then moved to Catawba as the county’s first lawyer and was elected Clerk of Superior Court from 1846-1850. McCorkle was instrumental in the creation of Newton as the new county seat of Catawba and served as mayor and town commissioner at various times.

     As soon as the Civil War began, McCorkle volunteered and organized a company of troops for the Confederacy, becoming the unit’s captain. They traveled to Virginia to fight in many of the campaigns in that state. His health failed him and he was forced to return home and then organized a local guard, in which he attained the rank of colonel. After the war, he was elected multiple times to represent Catawba County in the legislature as both a representative and senator. He was appointed a Superior Court judge in 1890 and served in that position until his death.

     One of his principal achievements was his involvement in the creation of Catawba College in Newton through his activity within the Reformed Church. He served the school’s chairman of the trustees board until his death. The school had been chartered in 1852. McCorkle is credited as the driving force behind the creation of the school through his fundraising efforts and political connections. The school remained in Newton until 1923 when it moved to its present location in Salisbury. McCorkle died in 1899 and was buried at East View cemetery in Newton.

Gary Freeze, The Catawbans: Crafters of a North Carolina County (1995)
Wilson Warlick, “Speech Given at the Presentation of the Portrait of Judge Matthew Locke McCorkle to the People of Catawba County,” July 8, 1947, privately published pamphlet, marker files, Research Branch, Office of Archives and History
Charles Preslar, A History of Catawba County (1954)
Biographical Sketch and portrait of McCorkle: http://www.rootsweb.com/~nccatawb/McCorkle/d121.htm
Catawba College website: http://www.catawba.edu
Related Themes: C.S.A., Confederate States of America, Confederacy
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M. L. Mccorkle 1817-1899 Historical Marker Location Map, Newton, North Carolina