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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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Sampson, Oscar R.

by William S. Powell, 1994

17 Jan. 1866–9 Jan. 1928

Oscar R. Sampson, minister and educator, was born in the Deep Branch community of Robeson County, the son of Image of Oscar R. Sampson, from the Cherokee Indian Normal School: Bulletin and outline course of study, [p.2], published 1900 by University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Presented on University of North Carolina at Pembroke.William, a farmer and Baptist minister, and Mary Dial Sampson, both identified as mulattoes in the 1860 and 1870 census returns. The 1928 death certificate of Oscar Sampson, however, records his race as Indian. In 1889 he was among the earliest graduates of the Indian Normal School at Pembroke. He began teaching school in 1890 and in time became principal of the Pembroke graded school. Sampson also owned a farm and a large tract of land within the bounds of the town of Pembroke. Named to the board of trustees of Pembroke Normal School in 1896, he served until his death thirty-two years later.

Sampson was long in fellowship with the Plymouth Brethren and preached twice a month for many years. A strong supporter of the Pembroke Normal School, he was a leader among the local people who contributed to and planned its growth and expansion into Pembroke State University. The administration building, in which an oil portrait of him hangs, was named for Sampson.

In 1893 he married Susie J. Oxendine, and they became the parents of fifteen children, ten of whom survived to adulthood: Mary E., Ruth, Charity, Nettie B., James Albert, Katie Lee, John Paul, Lucy, Joseph, and Martha. He was buried in the Harpers Ferry cemetery, Robeson County.


Death certificate (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

North Carolina Biography, vol. 3 (1928).

Paths Toward Freedom (1976).

Raleigh News and Observer, 17 Feb. 1957.

Additional Resources:

Cherokee Indian Normal School (Pembroke, N.C.). 1900. Bulletin and outlined course of study. Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton. (accessed July 10, 2014).

Sams, E. E. 1917. Report of Superintendent of State Colored Normal Schools and Chereokee INdian Normal School of Robeson County for the years 1914-1915 and 1915-1916. Raleigh, N.C.: State Board of Education. (accessed July 10, 2014).

Image Credits:

Cherokee Indian Normal School (Pembroke, N.C.). 1900. Bulletin and outlined course of study. Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton. (accessed July 10, 2014).