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Haywood, William Henry, Jr.

by Beth Crabtree, 1988

23 Oct. 1801–7 Oct. 1852

Portrait of William Henry Haywood, Jr. by Daniel Huntington, circa 1845-1850. Image from Tryon Palace. William Henry Haywood, Jr., U.S. senator, legislator, and lawyer, was born in Raleigh. His father, William Henry Haywood, Sr., planter and banker, was a prominent public figure in the newly established capital of North Carolina. Young Haywood attended the Raleigh Male Academy and in 1819 was graduated from The University of North Carolina. After studying law, he was admitted to the state bar in 1822. He served in the House of Commons of the North Carolina General Assembly in 1831 and 1834–36; in the latter year, he was speaker of the house.

Haywood was active in keeping Raleigh as the state capital when there were efforts to remove it after a fire destroyed the capitol in 1831. He also pushed an appropriation for the construction of a new state house in Raleigh. As a friend and correspondent of David L. Swain (governor and president of The University of North Carolina), Haywood was interested in the North Carolina Historical Society which Swain had founded. He wrote Swain of his hopes that the society would arouse state pride in its citizens and advised him to seek a set of "State Papers" for the university library.

Elected to the U.S. Senate by the Romulus Saunders and Bedford Brown wing of the Democratic party, Haywood served from March 1843 to July 1846. He was a university classmate and lifelong friend of James K. Polk and supported Polk in the presidential election of 1844, offering advice on campaign procedures and rallying the Democratic party in North Carolina. He was critical of the state's lack of interest and non-involvement in national politics. Haywood was active in arrangements for President Polk's return to speak at a university commencement in Chapel Hill.

Haywood also corresponded with President Martin Van Buren. He was offered an appointment as chargé d'affaires to Belgium by Van Buren but declined. In letters to Van Buren, he expressed his views on the national bank, the deposit act, and the subtreasury bill. On the matter of public lands, Haywood protested the instruction of senators to vote against reducing or graduating the price of these lands because it was contrary to the interest of the "Old States." In the U.S. Senate, he was a member of the committee on privileges and elections; he also prepared a sketch on the bill for the annexation of Texas. When the low tariff bill, reflecting the views of Robert J. Walker, was introduced in 1845, Haywood opposed it as an unwise measure which he could not support. Rather than vote against his party, he resigned his seat in the Senate, returning to North Carolina and the practice of law. He was regarded by his contemporaries as the "able and astute Haywood," who achieved "a high position at the bar."

Haywood was a member of the Protestant Episcopal church. In February 1826 he married Jane Graham of New Bern, and they had three sons and six daughters: Edward Graham, Duncan Cameron, William Henry, Elizabeth, Annie, Jane, Minerva, Margaret, and Gertrude. Haywood was buried in City Cemetery, Raleigh.


Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1928).

D. L. Corbitt, Calendar of Manuscript Collections (1926).

Elizabeth G. McPherson, "Unpublished Letters of North Carolinians to Andrew Jackson," North Carolina Historical Review 14 (1938), and "Unpublished Letters of North Carolinians to Polk," North Carolina Historical Review 16 (1939).

A. R. Newsome, "Twelve North Carolina Counties in 1810–1811," North Carolina Historical Review 6 (1929).

W. J. Peele, Lives of Distinguished North Carolinians (1897).

Raleigh Register, 1 Feb. 1826.

U.S. Census, 1850, Wake County.

Additional Resources:

"Haywood, William Henry, Jr., (1801 - 1852)" Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (accessed January 16, 2013).

Haywood, William H. (William Henry). Address of Hon. William H. Haywood, Jr., to the people of North Carolina. Washington: Office of Blair and Rives. 1846. (accessed January 18, 2013).

Haywood, William Henry. Speech of Hon. William H. Haywood, of North Carolina, on the Oregon question. Delivered in the Senate of the United States, March 4 & 5, 1846. Washington: office of Blair & Rives. 1846. (accessed January 18, 2013).

Swain, David L. Early times in Raleigh: addresses delivered... at the dedication of Tucker Hall, and on the occasion of the completion of the monument to Jacob Johnson with maps of the city of Raleigh, for the years 1792, 1834 and 1847. Walters, Hughes & Company. 1867. 32. (accessed January 18, 2013).

Image Credits:

Huntington, Daniel. "Portrait. Picture., Accession #: P.TP.1968.025.001." c. 1845-1850. North Carolina Tryon Palace. (accessed January 28, 2013).

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