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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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Pool, Stephen Decatur, Jr.

by B. Culpepper Jennette, Jr., 1994

11 Nov. 1847–8 Feb. 1892

Stephen Decatur Pool, Jr., Confederate soldier, lawyer, and journalist, was born in Elizabeth City, the son of Stephen D. and Caroline S. Lockwood Pool. Educated in a local private school, perhaps for at least some of the time in one operated by members of his family, including his father, he was at work as a printer at age thirteen, helping his father publish a newspaper. In October 1864 in Wayne County, where his family then lived and shortly before his seventeenth birthday, he enlisted in the Tenth Regiment of North Carolina Troops, commanded by his father, a colonel. He was appointed acting sergeant-major in January or February 1865.

At the end of the war Pool moved to New Bern, where he assisted his father in the publication of the New Bern Journal of Commerce until 1869. In January 1870 he went to New Orleans to work in the composition room of the Picayune, but in 1873 he returned to New Bern to purchase the newspaper on which he had formerly worked. At the same time he studied law under Major John Hughes and practiced until 1876, when he returned to New Orleans. There he set type on the Bulletin and the Democrat and served as telegraph editor of the latter until the two were consolidated as the Times-Democrat in 1881. Pool then became news editor of the new paper, and after two years he became night editor and deputy manager. On occasion, during the absence of the editor-in-chief, Pool was manager of the paper.

Pool was known for his understanding of state and national politics and for his excellent taste in typography. He was described by a fellow journalist as "calm in his judgments and prompt in his decisions." The New York Times considered him to be "one of the ablest newspaper men in the South."

In 1878 Pool married Jeanne B. Guireud of New Orleans and they became the parents of six children. Unlike many of his relatives, he was a Democrat. He died in New Orleans of pneumonia after returning from Atlanta, where he became ill while attending a meeting of the Southern Press Association.


Louis H. Manarin, comp., North Carolina Troops, 1861–1865: A Roster, vol. 3 (1966).

New York Times, 9 Feb. 1892.

Stephen B. Weeks Scrapbook, vol. 8 (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).

Additional Resources:

Federal Writers' Project; Pennsylvania Historical Comission. Harrisburg, Penn.: Telegraph Press, Philadelphia. 1937. (accessed September 23, 2014).