College Hill Connections to Cary, N.C.

This year – 2014 – marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of a man without whom Cary, North Carolina would not be named Cary.  Samuel Fenton Cary is the man for whom this town was named because of his strong prohibitionist views.

Samuel Fenton Cary grew up in College Hill when it was a farming community near Cincinnati.  He graduated from Miami University in 1835 and Cincinnati Law School in 1837.   He became known for his legal and oratorical skills and was appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court at the age of 26, an appointment he turned down.

Samuel Fenton Cary

Samuel Fenton Cary

He used his skills instead to work for the common man, advocating strongly for the 8 hour work day and other labor laws.  During the Mexican War, he was bestowed the rank of general and served in various military and quasi–military roles. His personal cause was temperance and after the Civil War traveled the county leading the Sons of Temperance organization.

He became Chief of Staff to 3 Ohio Governors and later served in Congress as an “Independent Republican.” He was a strong advocate against slavery and became good friends with and advisor to Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay and others.

adapted from an article in the Cary Citizen, April 16th,


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