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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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Crump, Earl Alexander

by Harriette Crump Partin, 1979

4 Sept. 1900–3 Feb. 1960

Earl Alexander Crump, North Carolina state highway engineer and personnel director, was a native of Lumberton and the son of Solomon and Nannie Nance Crump. Orphaned by the death of both parents before he was one year old, he was raised by his father's brother, Columbus Crump. He attended the public schools of Lumberton until 1917 and studied civil engineering at Tri-State College in Indiana from 1923 to 1925 and at North Carolina State College in 1925–26.

Except for two years as repair foreman of the Townson Motor Company in Lumberton (1920–23), Crump's entire working career was spent in the service of the highway commission. This career paralleled the rapid growth of the highway commission, in response to a demand for government agencies to assume expanding responsibility in service to the state. Accordingly, just as the Good Roads Movement was gaining momentum in 1926, he returned to Robeson County and his first job as rodman. He worked in the period of unprecedented construction during the twenties and thirties as rodman and inspector on highway and bridge projects in Robeson, Bladen, and Cumberland counties; in 1929 he was promoted to instrumentman.

In 1931, when the state assumed responsibility of all public roads, Crump was transferred to much-needed projects in the western counties of Yadkin and Surry. In 1932 he became junior resident engineer, planning and directing projects in Wilson, Pitt, Greene, and Wayne counties. Promotion to senior resident engineer came in 1935, with work in Craven, Onslow, and Carteret counties and later Robeson, Vance, Johnston, and Wayne counties. In May 1939 he became senior claims engineer in the new Sixth Highway Division at Asheboro. In this essential position, he had the job of obtaining right-of-way agreements and negotiating settlements of damage claims. Promotion came again in 1941, when he assumed the position of assistant division engineer, headquartered at Wilson.

As he advanced in the highway commission, Crump retained an active interest in highway employees at all levels. He was a primary force in the creation of the North Carolina Highway Employees' Association, serving as its first vice-president in 1947 and as its president in 1948–49. While president of the employees' association, he left the Wilson territory to become highway engineer in the division including Wake County. In 1953, as a tribute to his outstanding work in employee welfare, he was appointed by Governor Kerr Scott as director of the highway commission's first personnel office. Three years later he was transferred to Durham as engineer of the fifth division; returning to Raleigh in 1957, he served in the newly created position of assistant chief engineer until his death.

Crump's career with the highway commission coincided with the modern era of road building in the state, from the Good Roads Movement to the advent of interstate highways. From rodman to engineer, he was a prominent figure in numerous construction projects across many counties. His work with highway personnel provided a valuable service to the employees and the highway commission as a whole. He was professionally active in the North Carolina Society of Engineers and the East Carolina Engineers Club and socially active as a Thirty-second degree Mason and a member of the Sudan Temple. He maintained an abiding loyalty to his home church and often returned to Lumberton to attend services. He married Mary Euphemia Tyson in 1930 and after her death was married in 1952 to Sarah Ann Dillon of Wilson.


History of North Carolina, vol. 3 (1956).

Raleigh News and Observer, 4 Feb. 1960.

Capus Waynick, North Carolina Roads and Their Builders, vol. 1 (1952).

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