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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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Kornegay, Wade Hampton

by Charles W. Eagles, 1988

17 Apr. 1865–19 Nov. 1939

Wade Hampton Kornegay, lawyer and judge, was born near Outlaw's Bridge in Duplin County while his father was serving in the Confederate Army. He was the son of Henry Robert Kornegay, a Baptist minister, lawyer, and clerk of Superior Court, and his wife Jeanette Williams, a native of Wayne County. Shortly after the Civil War, the family moved to Kenansville where Kornegay attended the Grove Academy and the Millard Seminary. At age fifteen he enrolled at Wake Forest College; he received the Silcox Greek medal in 1883 and was valedictorian when he was graduated in 1884 with the master of arts degree.

After teaching school for four years in Richmond, Kornegay attended law school at the University of Virginia during the summer of 1889 and then studied law at Vanderbilt University. He completed a two-year course in one year and received an LL.B. from Vanderbilt in 1890.

In 1891 Kornegay opened a law office in Vanita, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), where he practiced law for forty-eight years until his death. He issued the call to Democrats in the Indian Territory to meet and choose delegates to the national convention in 1892. A leading citizen of the territory, Kornegay later helped lead the movement to form the new state of Oklahoma and served as a member of the constitutional convention of 1907, which drafted the state's constitution. He was a supporter and friend of William H. ("Alfalfa Bill") Murray. In 1931 Governor Murray appointed him to an unexpired term on the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Kornegay served for less than two years and did not seek reelection.

In November 1892 he married Nannie Louise Stafford of the Indian Territory. They had four children: Jeanette, Clarence Stafford, Wade Hampton, Jr., and Fay Louise. Kornegay, a member of the Presbyterian church, died of a heart attack and was buried in the Fairview Cemetery at Vanita. His pallbearers included former Governor Murray and Governor Leon C. Phillips.


Chronicles of Oklahoma, vol. 18 (1940).

Raleigh News and Observer, 6 Feb. 1949.

Who Was Who in America, vol. 1 (1981).

Additional Resources:

"Judge Wade Hamptom Kornegay 1865-1936." Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol. 18: No. 1 (March 1940). [Portrait.]

Oral History Interview with Wade Hampton Kornegay,March 21, 1938.  Interviewed by James H. Carselowey. Interview 13111, Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries Western History Collections. (accessed June 3, 2014).


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