“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Williamston in Martin County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Asa Biggs House

Home to a Politician & Jurist

Asa Briggs House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, August 13, 2014
1. Asa Briggs House Marker
Inscription.  Asa Biggs (1811-1878), a prominent North Carolina politician and jurist, and his wife, Martha, built this Federal and Greek Revival—style house and lived here from 1835 to 1862. Biggs practiced law from his office just across Smithwick Street.

Biggs served in the state legislature from 1840 to 1847 and in the U.S. Senate from 1854 to 1858. President James Buchanan appointed him a federal district judge in 1858; he resigned in 1861 when North Carolina seceded, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis then appointed him a district judge. Biggs moved his family west to Tarboro in 1862, when the Union army approached Williamston. Federal soldiers slept and cooked in the parlor here and kept their horses on the rear verandah.

Two of Biggs’s sons, William and Henry, joined the Confederate army as teenagers in 1861 and 1864 respectively. William Biggs survived the war, but Henry was wounded at Appomattox Station, Virginia, on April 8, 1865, the day before Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, and died four days later.

After the war, Asa Biggs resumed his law practice in Tarboro, where he
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joined other North Carolina lawyers protesting the state supreme court’s alleged partisanship during the 1869 presidential campaign. Rather than face contempt charges or apologize, Biggs moved his family to Norfolk, Virginia, where his brother lived. Biggs died there in 1878.

This house remained in the Biggs family until 1928. In 1978, the Martin County Historical Society purchased it. During restoration, workers found evidence that shells from Federal gunboats on the Roanoke River, less than a mile from here, had struck the house.

(lower left) Asa Biggs and Martha Biggs.
(lower right) Asa Biggs law office, circa 1900.
Erected by North carolina Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & PoliticsWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #15 James Buchanan, and the North Carolina Civil War Trails series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1808.
Location. 35° 51.384′ N, 77° 3.348′ W. Marker is in Williamston, North Carolina, in Martin County. Marker is at the intersection of East Church Street and North Smithwick Street, on the left when traveling east on East Church Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 East Church Street, Williamston NC 27892, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers.
Asa Briggs House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, August 13, 2014
2. Asa Briggs House
At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Memorial Baptist Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Asa Biggs (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Martin County Courthouse (approx. 0.2 miles away); Martin County Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Freedom Rallies (approx. 0.4 miles away); Camp Williamston (approx. 0.8 miles away); Roanoke River (approx. one mile away); Skewarkee Primitive Baptist Church (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Williamston.
Asa Briggs House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, August 13, 2014
3. Asa Briggs House
Asa Briggs House-Circa 1831 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, August 13, 2014
4. Asa Briggs House-Circa 1831
Has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior. The plaque is mounted on the exterior wall of the house on the right side of the entrance door.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 4, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 3, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 733 times since then and 54 times this year. Last updated on July 15, 2020, by Ray Gurganus of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 3, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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May. 23, 2024