The September ESU program will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 9, in the North Carolina History Center’s Cullman Hall, 529 South Front Street. in downtown New Bern. The program, jointly sponsored by the ESU and Tryon Palace, is open to the public.
In celebration of *Constitution Week, the program Preservation and Restoration of the Richard Dobbs Spaight Gravesite, is being presented by the Richard Dobbs Spaight Gravesite Preservation Committee who are members of the local Richard Dobbs Spaight Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. They will discuss their mission and leadership role over many years to maintain and preserve this badly deteriorated historic site and celebrate their current partnership with the state and Tryon Palace and completion of Phase I improvements. The gravesite (identified by a state historic marker) is located on state property known as Clermont, adjacent to Madam Moore’s Lane, just three miles from downtown.
Richard Dobbs Spaight, the first native-born governor of North Carolina, was at age 29, one of the original 55 delegates that attended every session of the Constitutional Convention and one of the 41 delegates who signed the proposed Constitution on September 17, 1787. His life abruptly ended in 1802, at the age of 44, when he was mortally wounded in a duel behind the Masonic Temple with rival politician John Stanly who dishonored him while competing for a seat in the House of Representatives. Following his funeral at Christ Episcopal Church, Richard Dobbs Spaight was interred in the family sepulcher on the family plantation known as Clermont.
*Of note: National Constitution Week, September 17 – 23, is a week that commemorates the United States Constitution, America’s most important document, thanks to the efforts of Gertrude Sprague Carraway, a famous New Bernian. In 1953, as the National President General of the Daughters of the Revolution and member of the local Richard Dobbs Spaight Chapter, she inspired President Dwight Eisenhower to dedicate September 17 – 23 annually as National Constitution Week