Samuel Johnston

Here’s a parlor bet you are almost guaranteed to win: Name the man from Edenton elected president after the Revolutionary War and before George Washington.

Not only was he from Edenton, but his homestead still stands and his son’s home on that land was open for the 300th Anniversary Edenton Candlelight Christmas Tour on December 7th and 8th , 2012. Hayes is a private home and is rarely open to the public.

We are talking about Samuel Johnston and his Hayes Plantation.

Johnson lived from 1733 until 1816, was representative in the Continental Congress, a United States Senator and a Governor of North Carolina, in addition to being president for a few minutes. For modern ears, that latter office’s story is a bit strange because he was elected president and immediately turned down the office. Even though it is strange story, which we’ll detail later, the key point is that he was a monumentally important player in earning independence from King George and in establishing the new nation’s government.

Even though Johnston is an American hero, he was born in Scotland. After his admission to the bar he set up practice in Edenton, then the star of the colony, a major port and original Capitol of the Colony.