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Long, John, Jr.

by L. Barron Mills, Jr., 1991

26 Feb. 1785–11 Aug. 1857

John Long, Jr., congressman, legislator, and farmer, was born in Loudoun County, Va., and moved with his parents to the northeastern corner of Randolph County. The family settled at what later became Long's Mill, where a post office was established, and engaged in agricultural pursuits, including a gristmill, flour mill, and tannery. John Long, Jr., attended private and subscription schools.

He served in the legislature in 1811 and 1812 and in the state senate in 1814 and 1815. In 1820 he was elected as a Whig to the Seventeenth Congress. Reelected three times, he occupied a seat in the House for eight years (1821–29). An unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1828, he returned home to Long's Mill. After his defeat, he received a federal contract for a mail route from Hills-borough by Rock Creek to Asheboro.

A prolific letter writer, Long exhibited some of his political savvy and doctrine in his correspondence. In 1832 he wrote to Senator Willie P. Mangum advocating a high protective tariff on "any product not made or produced in this country." "Tax them well," he declared. In 1841 he again wrote to Mangum in an effort to get a post office established at the home of Squire Eli Cobb and to appoint Cobb postmaster. In the same letter he added: "If Congress don't adjourn soon, do more and do it better I candidly believe the honest position of the Whigs will soon begin to despair." Long himself had been a National Republican before becoming a Whig.

Long was reared a Quaker, but he was turned out of the meeting for marrying Sabra Ramsay who was not a Quaker. The Friends later offered to take him back if he would say he was sorry. To this, Long retorted: "I am not sorry and I won't say so." It was a very happy marriage. Long was buried in the graveyard at Richland Lutheran Church, less than a mile from his home.

The congressman had an illustrious family. Four of his sons were graduates of The University of North Carolina: James, an attorney as well as editor of the Greensboro patriot; William J., also an attorney, who lived in a house which is still standing about one-half mile from his father's home; John Wesley, a physician, whose son of the same name is honored by the Long Hospital in Greensboro; and Osmond Long, a merchant. A fifth son, Edwin, was graduated from West Point.

A granddaughter was Mary Alves Long, who wrote High Time to Tell It, a family chronicle. In it, she says that her grandparents" maintained a home where there was freehanded hospitality for all who came and charity for the poor. How many people they fed, only the recording angel knows. It was so easy to write an order to the miller calling for a bushel of cornmeal or flour. No wonder they were respected and even loved by the whole community."


Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1989).

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

J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, ed., Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, 2 vols. (1909).

Mary Alves Long, High Time to Tell It (1950).

Henry T. Shanks, ed., Papers of Willie Person Mangum, vols. 1–4 (1950–55).

Additional Resources:

"Long, John, (1785 - 1857)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed June 24, 2014).


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