Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lovira Wright Leggett (1887-1961)

From the Wake Forest University's "Howler" Yearbook, 1909.

    We continue our stay in North Carolina to profile three term state representative Lovira Wright Leggett, who, coincidentally enough, served in the same legislative session as Monday's "honoree" Veston Colbourne Banks. While he may be in possession of a rather "feminine" sounding first name, Mr. Leggett was a prominent son of Halifax County, being a successful lawyer in addition to his time in state government.
   Although a resident of North Carolina for a good majority of his private and professional life, Lovira Leggett wasn't born in the Tarheel State; his birth instead occurring in Louisville, Kentucky on August 26, 1887. The son of Dr. Kenelm and Augusta Wright Leggett, Lovira moved with his family to North Carolina while still a child and would attend the school at Buies Creek during his youth. Leggett also attended the Oak Ridge Institute and the Trinity School at Chicowinity between 1900 and 1905, and pursued higher education at Wake Forest University beginning in 1905. As a standout football player and secretary of his law class, Leggett's tenure at Wake Forest warranted the following passages in the 1909 Howler yearbook:
"Here is a man of many moods, quiet and composed when occasion demands, yet always in the thick of the contest when danger, or daring, or hardihood is in the game. He has always taken an interest in football and his name will ever be associated with that popular game since in its recent beginning at the college.  Being quiet and independent, but genial and good natured, he has gone in and out among us these many months, never meddling, always attending to his own affairs, with his eyes constantly fixed on terra firma. He is strongly attached to the medical department, and we may expect to hear of him as an espouser of the Emmanuel Movement and other scientific ventures."
   While Leggett may have had an early interest in medicine, he would turn his attention to law while at Wake Forest, receiving his law degree in 1910. He established a law practice in the town of Hobgood and married in 1914 to Sarah Norman Hyman (1886-1971), later having a total of six children: Edward K. (1915-1968), Lovira Wright Jr. (1917-1977), Henry L. (1919-1983), Ralph Morrison (1921-1998), Hyman Spruill (1927-1983) and Frances (birth-date unknown.)
  In November 1924 Lovira Leggett was elected to his first term in the North Carolina House of Representatives. As a Democratic freshman legislator, Leggett officially began his term at the start of the 1925-27 session and would serve on the house committees on Claims, Corporations, Finance, Health, Insane Asylums, the Institution for the Blind, Institutions for the Deaf and Dumb, Judiciary No. 1 and Public Roads and Turnpikes. He would win reelection in 1926 and during the 1927-29 term sat on several different committees, these being the committees on the Constitutional Amendments, Education, Game, the Journal, the Oyster Industry, Printing, and Public Buildings and Grounds.
    Several years after the completion of his second term Legget was elected to a third term in the legislature, again representing Halifax County. During this session (1935-1938, including the special session of 1936) he would serve on the committees on Agriculture, Appropriations, Counties Cities and Towns, Institutions for the Blind, Penal Institutions, Propositions and Grievances' Salaries and Fees and Enrolled Bills. 
   Little else could be located on Lovira W. Leggett's life after his final term in the state house. He was noted by his Rocky Mount Evening Telegraph obituary as having served a term as Mayor of Hobgood, as well as being a member of the Halifax County Board of Education "several times." He died on October 8, 1961 at a Raleigh hospital and was survived by his wife and children. Both Leggett and his wife were interred at the Hobgood Cemetery following their deaths.

From the Rocky Mount Evening Telegraph, October 9, 1961.

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