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Waddell, Hugh

by Mary R. Keating, 1996

21 Mar. 1799–2 Nov. 1878

Unidentified artist of the American School, about 1809. "Hugh Waddell, 1799-1879." North Carolina Portrait Index, 1700-1860. Chapel Hill: UNC Press. p. 234. (Digital page 248).Hugh Waddell, lawyer and legislator, was born at his father's plantation, Newfield, in Bladen County. He was the son of John W. and Sarah Nash Waddell and the grandson of General Hugh Waddell, colonial military officer and hero of the War of the Regulators, and of General Francis Nash, who was killed in the Battle of German-town, Pa., in October 1777. Waddell was graduated in 1818 from The University of North Carolina, where he was a classmate of James K. Polk, who became the eleventh president of the United States.

Waddell planned to study medicine, but his interests changed and he read law instead. In 1823 he began to practice in Hillsborough and Orange County, where he quickly gained an excellent reputation in his profession. Elected to the House of Commons from Orange County, he served in the 1828–29 and 1835 sessions. From there he was sent to the state senate for the sessions of 1836–37, 1840–41, 1844–45, 1846–47, and 1848. In 1836 he was president of the senate. At that time there was no office of lieutenant governor, and the senate president acted in that capacity. In politics he was a Whig.

In 1842 in Hillsborough Waddell opened a school to prepare young men for the bar. He maintained his law practice in Hillsborough until 1867, when he went to live with his son Alfred in Wilmington. He died there, and his funeral was held at St. James's Episcopal Church.

Waddell married Susan Moore, the daughter of Alfred Moore, in 1824. They had four sons: Hugh, Cameron, Douglas, and Alfred Moore, who was also a well-known lawyer and congressman.

A man of much charm and ability, Waddell was esteemed by his peers. He was described by one of his contemporaries as "an admirable specimen of refined manners, unrivalled address, and a nice sense of humor" and by another as "an excellent debator and speaker, and a jurist of much renown."

Additional information from NCpedia editors at the State Library of North Carolina: 

Hugh Waddell also had a daughter named Maria. She is listed in his household on the 1850 Census and her obituary appeared in the Raleigh Register on March 26, 1853. She died in New York City on March 5, 1853 at age 21 and was at the time married to John C. Badham. Maria Waddell attended the Burwell School in Hillsborough. Following her death, Badham later became a member of the North Carolina General Assembly and was a delegate to the North Carolina secession convention. He died at the Battle of Williamsburg (Virginia) on May 5, 1862.

--Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


Ruth Blackwelder, The Age of Orange: Political and Intellectual Leadership in North Carolina, 1752–1861 (1961). (accessed December 30, 2013).

DAB, vols. 2, 10 (1936).

Daniel L. Grant, Alumni History of the University of North Carolina (1924). (accessed December 30, 2013).

Hugh T. Lefler and Paul W. Wager, eds., Orange County, 1752–1952 (1953). (accessed December 30, 2013).

Griffith J. McRee, ed., Life and Correspondence of James Iredell, vol. 2 (1857). (accessed December 30, 2013).

Alfred M. Waddell, Some Memories of My Life (1908). (accessed December 30, 2013).

John H. Wheeler, ed., Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians (1884). (accessed December 30, 2013).

Wilmington Daily Review, 2 Nov. 1878.

Additional Resources:

Battle, Kemp P. (Kemp Plummer). History of the University of North Carolina. Raleigh, N.C.: Printed for the author by Edwards & Broughton Printing Company. 1907. (accessed December 30, 2013).

Waddell, Alfred M. (Alfred Moore). Some memories of my life. Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton. 1908. (accessed December 30, 2013).

Wheeler, John H. (John Hill). Reminiscences and memoirs of North Carolina and eminent North Carolinians. Columbus, OH: Columbus Printworks. 1884. (accessed December 30, 2013).

Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).

Raleigh Register (Raleigh, N.C.), March 26, 1853.

Image Credits:

Unidentified artist of the American School, about 1809. "Hugh Waddell, 1799-1879." North Carolina Portrait Index, 1700-1860. Chapel Hill: UNC Press. p. 234. (Digital page 248). Accessed 10/16/2014.


Is there a way NC Historical Society can confirm my link to Mr. Hugh Waddell?
Thank you so much for your assistance.
Warm regards,

Hi Cheryl!

Thank you for your comment! Please note that you have reached the Government & Heritage Library, part of the State Library of North Carolina. We are not the Historical Society of North Carolina. If you would like to contact them, you can reach them here: Note however, that they do not provide research assistance. 

I am forwarding your inquiry to our library's Reference Team. We unfortunately cannot make connections or prove relationships for patrons as that requires extensive research, but we do have some information and recommendations on how you can go about proving family relationships that might be helpful to you. A member of our staff will be reaching out to you via e-mail soon.

Taylor Thompson, Government & Heritage Library

Hugh Waddell also had a daughter, Maria (1834-1853) who married John C. Badham of Edenton. Maria was a student at the Burwell School in Hillsborough 1848-1851. Her husband was a student at Pennsylvania College in Gettysburg PA 1845-1849 and studied law at Ballston Spa. They married in Wilmington in January, 1853, and embarked for New York City. Maria died in New York in March, 1853. He returned to Edenton and engaged in politics, serving in the NC House and Senate. He joined the CSA as a member of the NC 5th Regiment with a rank of Lt. Col. He was killed in action at the Battle of Williamsburg May, 1861.

Dear Ms. Eidenier,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking the time to share information about Henry Waddell’s daughter and her husband, John C. Badham. 

I see that she was listed on the 1850 and I have located her obituary.  And I have made an update to the entry.  If you have any additional resources that you could share, I would be glad to add them to the resources.

Thank you again and very best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government and Heritage Library

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