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SPAIGHT, Richard Dobbs

1758–1802

Biography

SPAIGHT, Richard Dobbs, (father of Richard Dobbs Spaight, Jr., and grandfather of Richard Spaight Donnell), a Delegate and a Representative from North Carolina; born in New Bern, N.C., March 25, 1758; received his early schooling in Ireland and attended the University of Glasgow in Scotland; returned home in 1778 and joined the Continental Army as aide-de-camp to General Caswell; member of the North Carolina House of Commons 1779-1783; Member of the Continental Congress 1783-1785; delegate to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787, and signed the Constitution; delegate to the state ratification convention in 1788; governor of North Carolina 1792-1795; elected as a Republican to the Fifth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Nathan Bryan; reelected as a Republican to the Sixth Congress and served from December 10, 1798, to March 3, 1801; member of the state senate in 1801 and 1802; was wounded in a duel with John Stanly, his successor in Congress, from the effects of which he died on September 6, 1802, in New Bern, N.C.; interment in the family sepulcher at "Clermont," near New Bern, N.C.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Duke University
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collection Library

Durham, NC
Papers: 1757-1853, 14 items. The letters and papers of Richard Dobbs Spaight and of his son, establishing the claim of the elder Spaight to a large tract of land in Craven County; and a paper endorsing a political appointment, 1785. There are also papers of his son, Richard Dobbs Spaight, Jr., including a certificate of William Hill's appointment as secretary of state, 1836, and a letter from William Gaston, concerning a meeting of the trustees of a New Bern theater.

Huntington Library
Manuscript Department

San Marino, CA
Papers: In the John Francis Mercer Papers, 1783-1814, 10 pieces. Correspondents include Richard Dobbs Spaight.

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: July 2, 1794. 1 letter. Official correspondence. Finding aid in repository.

North Carolina State Department of Archives and History

Raleigh, NC
Papers: ca. 1783-1912, 5 items. The papers of Richard Dobbs Spaight contain an account of his expenses as delegate to Continental Congress (1783), a letter from Richard Spaight in Washington, D.C., to John S. West of New Bern, giving his views on the Judiciary Act, Sedition Act, and bill concerning trade with France (1801). Also included is a report on a search for Richard Spaight's name in University of Glasgow records; and discussion of Richard Spaight's genealogy. A finding aid is available in the repository.
Papers: In the John Gray Blount Papers, 1706-1900, 19 feet. Persons represented include Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr.
Microfilm: In the Refford Cate Collection, 1784, 1 letter. The collection contains a letter from Richard Dobbs Spaight to Jacob Read with personal and political news (1784).
Papers: In the Walter Clark Papers, 1783-1920, 4600 items. Persons represented include Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr.
Papers: In the Thomas Addison Emmet Collection, 1757-1847, 1 volume. Persons represented include Richard Dobbs Spaight.
Papers: In the Frederick Gregg Collection, 1721-1867, 76 items. Persons represented include Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr.
Microfilm: In the Francis Lister Hawks Collection, 1679-1819, 1 microfilm reel. Persons represented include Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr.
Microfilm: In the William Hooper Memorandum Book, 1780-1783, 1 microfilm reel. Persons represented include Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr.
Papers: In the Charles E. Johnson Collection, 1685-1875, 7.75 cubic feet. Persons represented include Richard Dobbs Spaight.
Papers: In the Calvin Jones Papers, ca. 1802-1963, 18 items. Persons represented include Richard Dobbs Spaight.
Microfilm: In the John Oliver Account Book, 1797-1803, 1 microfilm reel. Persons represented include Richard Dobbs Spaight.
Papers: In the John Steele Papers, 1777-1831, 400 items. Persons represented include Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr.
Papers: In the George Washington Papers, ca. 1781-1927, 8 items. Persons represented include Richard Dobbs Spaight.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library
Southern Historical Collection

Chapel Hill, NC
Papers: In the William S. Bryan Papers, ca. 1818-1879, 0.5 linear foot. Persons represented include Richard Dobbs Spaight.
Papers: In the Ernest Haywood Collection of Haywood Family Papers, ca. 1750-1880, 24 linear feet. Correspondents include Richard Dobbs Spaight.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Andrews, Alexander B. Richard Dobbs Spaight: Governor of North Carolina, 1792-1795. Raleigh, N.C.: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, 1924.

Spaight, Richard Dobbs. Correspondence, etc. To the Public. [Newbern?, N.C.: N.p., 1802].

Watson, Alan D. Richard Dobbs Spaight. With notes on Spaight Collection by Gertrude S. Carraway. New Bern, N.C.: Griffin & Tilghman, 1987.

Wheeler, John Hill. Sketch of the Life of Richard Dobbs Spaight of North Carolina. Baltimore: William K. Boyle, Printer, 1880.

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