David Settle Reid

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David Settle Reid
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1843 – March 4, 1847
Preceded byWilliam Henry Washington
Succeeded byDaniel Moreau Barringer
32nd Governor of North Carolina
In office
January 1, 1851 – December 6, 1854
Preceded byCharles Manly
Succeeded byWarren Winslow
United States Senator
from North Carolina
In office
December 6, 1854 – March 4, 1859
Preceded byWillie P. Mangum
Succeeded byThomas Bragg
Member of the North Carolina Senate
In office
Personal details
Born(1813-04-19)April 19, 1813
Rockingham County, North Carolina
DiedJune 19, 1891(1891-06-19) (aged 78)
Reidsville, North Carolina
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseHenrietta Settle
RelationsReuben Reid (Father)
Elizabeth Settle Reid (Mother)

David Settle Reid (April 19, 1813 – June 19, 1891) was the 32nd governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina from 1851 to 1854 and a U.S. Senator from December 1854 to March 1859. His uncle was Congressman Thomas Settle.

He was born in what would later be Reidsville, North Carolina, an unincorporated town named for his father, Reuben Reid. He had a brother, Hugh Kearns Reid. At age 16, David Reid became the first postmaster for the town. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1833. From 1835 to 1842, Reid served in the North Carolina Senate. He was a U.S. Representative from 1843 to 1847. Reid ran for governor in 1848 as a long-shot candidate. In his campaign, Reid promoted the now-obscure cause of "free suffrage," i.e. that there should not be different standards for who could vote for members of the North Carolina House of Commons and of the North Carolina Senate. It was assumed that more voters would only increase the Whig domination of the state, but the Whigs denounced suffrage reform as "a system of communism unjust and Jacobinical." To everyone's surprise, Reid lost to Charles Manly by only 854 votes. In 1850, Reid defeated Manly by 2,853 votes, becoming the first elected Democratic governor of North Carolina.[1]

In the Senate, Reid was chairman of the Committee on Patents and the Patent Office. He sought but was denied a full term in the Senate when he lost a three-way internal party fight with Thomas Bragg and William W. Holden in 1858. He returned to the practice of law and was a delegate to the ill-fated 1861 Washington Peace Conference to try to prevent the American Civil War. Reid was a member of a state constitutional convention in 1875.

In 1881 Reid suffered a stroke at Wentworth and died at his elder son's home in Reidsville in 1891 and is buried in Greenview Cemetery also in Reidsville. His widow died in 1913.


  1. ^ Keyssar, Alexander (2000). The Right to Vote. New York: Basic Books. p. 41. ISBN 0-465-02968-X.

External links[edit]

Governor Reid is seen in the foreground of this 1861 photo of the North Carolina State Capitol.
Party political offices
Preceded by
James B. Shepard
Democratic nominee for Governor of North Carolina
1848, 1850, 1852
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 3rd congressional district

March 4, 1843 – March 4, 1847
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of North Carolina
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 2) from North Carolina
Served alongside: George Badger, Asa Biggs and Thomas Clingman
Succeeded by