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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Blount, Thomas

by Armistead Jones Maupin, 1979

10 May 1759–1812

An 1805 portrait of Thomas Blount by Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret Saint-Memin. Image from the North Carolina Museum of History. Thomas Blount, landowner, merchant, congressman, and revolutionary soldier, was born in Craven County, the fourth son of Jacob Blount and Barbara Gray. His father was a prominent landowner, planter, and public officeholder in the colony.

Blount was closely associated with his two brothers, William and John Gray, in business and politics. It has been said that their financial interests were so closely interlocked that it is questionable whether any of the brothers ever knew exactly what was his. The Blount brothers' mercantile business became one of the largest in North Carolina, conducting stores, trading in land, and operating a fleet of ships engaged in European and coastal trade. The principal base of operations was at Washington, N.C., but other establishments were operated, and the one in Tarboro was under the charge of Thomas Blount.

Blount served in the Revolution as a lieutenant in the Fifth Regiment of the North Carolina Continental Line. During a portion of the war he was taken to England as a prisoner of war, and he later became a major general in the North Carolina Militia.

Blount was elected a trustee of The University of North Carolina on 3 Aug. 1792 and served until his death. He was one of the commissioners who laid out the city of Raleigh, and a principal street in that city bears his name. For a while he was a member of the U.S. Congress.

Blount was a member of the Episcopal church, and his wife, Mary Sumner, bequeathed money to Christ Church in Raleigh.

Blount was married first on 4 June 1782, to Martha Baker, daughter of Colonel Benjamin Baker. After his first wife's death, he married Mary ("Jackie") Sumner, in November 1796. She was the daughter of General Jethro Sumner, a distinguished Revolutionary War soldier and founder of the North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati. Both wives died without issue.


A. B. Keith and W. H. Masterson, eds., The John Gray Blount Papers, vols. 1–3 (1952–65).

William L. Saunders and Walter Clark, eds., Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, 30 vols. (1886–1914).

Additional Resources:

"Blount, Thomas, (1759 - 1812)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed May 28, 2013).

"CSR Documents by Blount, Thomas, 1759-1812." Colonial and State Records of North Carolina. Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed May 28, 2013).

"Blount-Bridgers House." Edgecombe County Cultural Arts Council.

Image Credits:

Saint-Memin, Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret. "Portrait, Accession #: H.1933.12.60." 1805. North Carolina Museum of History.

Origin - location: 


"Both wives died without issue"? He had no children?

Thank you for this information. I am a genealogist and may want to use the photo and some of the text. How do I receive authorization to add this to my account? I would cite your article, of course.

Hi Margaret,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and sharing your question.

Generally speaking, NCpedia content is provided for personal and educational use.  Some of the content is under copyright from the content publisher.  In this case, the article you visited is licensed to NCpedia by the University of North Carolina Press who owns copyright in the content.  Any uses beyond personal use, including republication online, would need to be cleared with the publisher.  You’ll find any pertinent copyright notices at the top of any page above the actual page content.  And there will be a link in that notice to the publisher, where applicable.  Here is also the link to UNC Press to inquire with them:  

You are certainly free to add a link to the NCpedia article in your research materials.  And this would be the link to the Thomas Blount article: You could include it with a citation to this article.  If you would like to do more than that, for example copying the text, you will need to consult the publisher of this article, the University of North Carolina Press.  

For the image, NCpedia used a photograph of an item from the collections of the NC Museum of History.  Here is the link:  You are welcome to use the link in the resources you include with an entry in your history.  And here is a citation for the image: 

Saint-Memin, Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret. [Portrait of Thomas Blount].  Accession #: H.1933.12.60." 1805. North Carolina Museum of History.

For any other publication use of the image, it would be best to contact the museum to inquire about any needed permissions. You can find their contact information here:

I hope this helps! Please let me know if I can answer any additional questions.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library

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