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Bennett, Risden Tyler

by Mary L. Medley, 1979

18 June 1840–21 July 1913

Bennett in Anson guards, Company C, Fourteenth Regiment, North Carolina Volunteers, 1861-1865. Courtesy of NC Digital Collections. Risden Tyler Bennett, Confederate colonel, congressman, and superior court judge, was born in Anson County, the son of Nevil and Catherine Harris Bennett. He attended Gouldsfork Academy near his home and was graduated from Anson Institute, Wadesboro. He enrolled briefly at The University of North Carolina but withdrew and went to the West, where he lived a varied life, including some time spent with Indians. He wanted to remain in the West, but his guardian, George Little, sent him fare and insisted that he return. He attended Davidson College in 1859 and afterward studied at Cumberland University and Lebanon Law School. His law study was completed under Judge Richmond M. Pearson, and he began practice in 1860. He was an ardent believer in states' rights and enrolled in the Anson Guards in 1861, attaining the rank of colonel of the Fourteenth Regiment, N.C. troops. He was wounded at Gettysburg.

After the war Bennett became a law partner of Judge Thomas S. Ashe. In 1872–74 he OIl Portrait of Risden Tyler Bennett. Courtesy of the NC Museum of History. represented Anson County in the General Assembly, and in 1875 he was a delegate to the constitutional convention. Appointed in 1880 to fill an unexpired term as superior court judge, he was afterward elected in his own right, serving until he resigned in 1882. He was a member of Congress from 1883 to 1887. He was interested in cultural and educational affairs and made available a collection of a thousand books to start a library in Wadesboro.

Bennett is said to have been reared a Primitive Baptist, but during the Civil War he was baptized by a Methodist chaplain. Later he joined the Episcopal church. While at home on leave recuperating from wounds, he was married to Kate Shepherd; they became the parents of Mary, who married Eugene Little; Effie Nevil, who married John D. Leak; and Kate. Twin sons died as infants. Bennett was a popular orator and writer and contributed to Charlotte and Wadesboro newspapers. He died in Wadesboro and was buried near his birthplace a few miles from town.



Bio. Dir. Am. Cong. (1961).

Jerome Dowd, Sketches of Prominent Living North Carolinians (1888).

Greensboro Daily News, 20 Apr. 1944, 28 Oct. 1962.

John A. Livingston, Risden Tyler Bennett (1933?).

Mary L. Medley, History of Anson County, North Carolina (1976).

Raleigh News and Observer, 23 Nov. 1933.

North Carolina Bar Association, Proceedings 22 (1920).

205 N.C. Reports (1933).

Additional Resources:

"Bennett, Risden Tyler, (1840 - 1913)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed April 9, 2013).

Bennett, Risden T. (Risden Tyler) 1840-1913 in WorldCat:

N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. North Carolina historical review. Raleigh [N.C.]: North Carolina Historical Commission. 1945. (accessed April 9, 2013).

United States. Work Projects Administration. Historical Records Survey of North Carolina. Anson County Cemetery Survey Records. 1937. (accessed April 9, 2013).

North Carolina. Laws and resolutions of the State of North Carolina, passed by the General Assembly at its session [1881]. Raleigh [N.C.]: J. Turner, Jr.,1881. (accessed April 9, 2013).

Smith, William A. (William Alexander), 1843-. Anson guards, Company C, Fourteenth Regiment, North Carolina Volunteers, 1861-1865. Stone Publishing Co. 1914. (accessed April 9, 2013).

Image Credits:

Smith, William A. (William Alexander), 1843-. Anson guards, Company C, Fourteenth Regiment, North Carolina Volunteers, 1861-1865. Stone Publishing Co. 1914. (accessed April 9, 2013).

"Portrait, Accession #: H.1964.123.69." . North Carolina Museum of History.

Origin - location: 


The "George Little" in this article is linked to the wrong person. Risden Tyler Bennett's uncle and legal guardian after his father died was "George Washington Little" of Wadesboro, Anson County NC - not a Revolutionary period George Little living in Hertford County as the linked document would suggest. George Washington Little was the eldest son of William Little, the cabinet maker, who emigrated from England in 1800. G W Little's wife was Susan Bennett Little, the sister of his deceased father Nevil Bennett. I hope this reference can be corrected.

Hi Walter,

Thanks for catching this incorrect link for us!  I've just removed it.  We appreciate it when readers can help us correct errors and make improvements to NCpedia.

Thanks for visiting and please come back!

Kelly Agan, NCpedia Digital Media Librarian

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