Ransom, Matt W. (Matt Whitaker), 1826-1904

Alternative names
Birth 1826-10-08
Death 1904-10-08

Biographical notes:

Matthew Whitaker Ransom (1826-1904) was a lawyer, planter, state official, Confederate general, Redeemer, Democratic United States senator from North Carolina, and minister to Mexico. Born on 8 October 1826 in Warren County, N.C., to Robert and Priscilla Whitaker Ransom, Ransom was brother to General Robert Ransom and cousin to fellow Confederate officer Wharton J. Green. After graduating from the University of North Carolina in 1847, Ransom went on to serve as the North Carolina Attorney General and as a member of the North Carolina General Assembly. He married Martha Pattie Anne Exum in 1853 and moved to her family's plantation, Verona, on the Roanoke River near Weldon, N.C. In 1861, he served as one of the three commissioners selected by the North Carolina state legislature to visit the Confederate convention at Montgomery, Ala. Ransom was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 1st North Carolina Infantry, later served as colonel of the 35th North Carolina Infantry, and was ultimately promoted to brigadier general in 1863. Ransom fought in the battles of Seven Pines, the Seven Days, Antietam, Fredricksburg, Plymouth, Weldon, Suffolk, and the siege of Petersburg, finally surrendering at Appomattox. In 1866, Ransom moved back to Weldon, N.C., and resumed work as a planter and lawyer. He was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1872, succeeding Zebulon B. Vance, and served until 1895. He was then appointed United States Ambassador to Mexico and served from 1895-1897. Ransom retired in 1897 and returned to private life and farming at his estate, where he died on 8 October 1904.

From the guide to the Matt W. Ransom Papers, 1845-1914, (bulk 1868-1904), (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.)

Matt W. Ransom (1826-1904) was a lawyer; planter; state official; Confederate general; Redeemer; Democratic United States senator from North Carolina, 1872-1895; and United States minister to Mexico, 1895-1897.

From the description of Matt W. Ransom papers, 1845-1914 (bulk 1868-1904). (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 25678017

Confederate soldier, U.S. Senator, 1872-1895, and minister to Mexico; from Northampton Co., N.C.

From the description of Letters, 1853-1887. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 154270867

From the description of Letters, 1853-1887. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 20115399


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  • Cotton growing--History--19th century
  • Women--Suffrage--History--19th century
  • Diplomatic and consular service, American
  • Silver question
  • Plantation owners
  • African Americans
  • Politicians
  • Agriculture and politics--History--19th century
  • Agriculture--History--19th century
  • African Americans--Politics and government--19th century
  • Legislators--History--19th century
  • Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)
  • Plantations
  • Tariff--History--19th century


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  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Mexico (as recorded)
  • North Carolina (as recorded)