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Hackett, Richard Nathaniel

by George T. Blackburn II, 1988

4 Dec. 1866–22 Nov. 1923

Richard Nathaniel Hackett, attorney and congressman, was born in Wilkesboro, the son of Dr. Robert Franklin and Caroline Gordon Hackett. His mother was a sister of Brigadier General James B. Gordon. Hackett received his early education in the local schools and was graduated from The University of North Carolina in 1887. He studied law under Colonel George N. Folk in Caldwell County and was admitted to the bar in 1888. He established a practice in Wilkesboro and became a prominent figure in the local Democratic party, serving as chairman of the Wilkes County Democratic Executive Committee from 1890 to 1923. In 1889 he represented North Carolina at the centennial of Washington's inauguration in New York City. He served as mayor of Wilkesboro from 1894 to 1896, when he was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress. In 1906, however, he was elected to the Sixtieth Congress but was defeated for reelection by the Republican candidate, C. H. Cowles, in 1908.

Following his defeat, Hackett became active in the Masonic order and served two terms as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina in 1910 and 1911. It was during his administration that the movement to establish the Masonic and Eastern Star Home crystallized; the cornerstone of the home was laid before his retirement from office.

Hackett married Lois Long, daughter of B. F. Long of Statesville, on 31 Jan. 1907 and they were the parents of Lois Long. He died in Statesville and was buried in St. Paul's Episcopal churchyard, Wilkesboro. The Dialectic Society at The University of North Carolina owns an oil portrait of him.


Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1961).

John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1974 (1975).

Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons of North Carolina, Proceedings (1924).

North Carolina Bar Association, Proceedings 26 (1924).

Oxford, Orphan's Friend and Masonic Journal, 9 Dec. 1910, 20 Jan. 1911.

C. Beauregard Poland, Twentieth Century Statesmen, North Carolina's Political Leaders, 1900–1901 (n.d.).

Additional Resources:

"Hackett, Richard Nathaniel, (1866 - 1923)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed August 15, 2013).

Gordon and Hackett Family Papers, 1752-1942 (bulk 1847-1860) (collection no. 01040). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed August 15, 2013).

Hackett Family Papers, 1806-1950, (Manuscript Collection #176), East Carolina University:

Richard Nathaniel Hackett, portrait record, Smithsonian Institute:

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