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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Ransom, Edward [J.?]

by Joseph Edmund Deaton, 1994

12 Feb. 1833–14 July 1877

Edward [J.?] Ransom, physician, farmer, and legislator, was born in Gloucester County, Va. He attended the University of Virginia and is said to have graduated from Hampden-Sydney College, although the 1867 Catalogue, General and Annual, of Hampden Sydney College does not list him among the graduates. In the 1850s he moved to Tyrrell County, N.C., and began farming and practicing medicine. In 1859 he married thirteen-year-old Josephine Alexander; they became the parents of five children: Caroline, Fanny, Abner, Mary, and Tammi.

Ransom was named assistant surgeon of the Thirty-second North Carolina Infantry Regiment on or about 3 Oct. 1861 but was absent with leave in November–December 1861. At the end of the war he resumed his medical practice and farming. He also was active politically from 1872 until his death five years later. In 1872 he was an elector on the Republican state ticket and in 1873–74 he served in the state senate. In 1875 he was elected as an independent from Tyrrell County to the state constitutional convention. At the outset of the 1875 convention Republicans and Democrats were deadlocked, the balance of power being held by three independents of whom Ransom was one. The Democrats nominated Ransom for president of the convention, and after thirteen ballots he broke the deadlock by voting for himself. Republicans thereafter lacked the strength to adjourn the convention, which resulted in a further loss of their power in the state. In the following year Ransom was elected to the state senate as a Democrat, serving during the 1876–77 session.

He died at his home in Columbia, Tyrrell County. His estate was sold to pay for the care of his two youngest children, Mary and Tammi.


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

Compiled Service Records (U.S. National Archives Microfilm, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

Constitutional Convention Journal (1875).

J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, History of North Carolina, vol. 3 (1919), and Reconstruction in North Carolina (1914).

Weymouth T. Jordan, comp., North Carolina Troops, 1861–1865: A Roster, vol. 9 (1983).

John W. Moore, Roster of North Carolina Troops in the War Between the States, vol. 1 (1882).

North Carolina Business Directory (1867–68, 1869).

Raleigh Register, 17 July 1877.

Tyrrell County estate papers, marriage bonds, and tax lists (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

John H. Wheeler, ed., Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians (1884).

R. A. Shotwell and Natt Atkinson, Legislative Record 1877 (1877).

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