Thomas Walter Bickett

American politician / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thomas Walter Bickett (February 28, 1869  December 28, 1921) was the 54th governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina from 1917 to 1921. He was born in Monroe, North Carolina.

Quick facts: Thomas Walter Bickett, 54th Governor of North...
Thomas Walter Bickett
54th Governor of North Carolina
In office
January 11, 1917  January 12, 1921
LieutenantOliver Max Gardner
Preceded byLocke Craig
Succeeded byCameron A. Morrison
Attorney General of North Carolina
In office
GovernorWilliam Walton Kitchin
Locke Craig
Preceded byRobert D. Gilmer
Succeeded byJames S. Manning
Member of the North Carolina General Assembly
Personal details
Thomas Walter Bickett

(1869-02-28)February 28, 1869
Monroe, North Carolina, U.S.
DiedDecember 28, 1921(1921-12-28) (aged 52)
Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseFanny Neal Yarborough
Alma materWake Forest University
ProfessionLawyer, politician

Bickett was a graduate of Wake Forest College. Prior to being elected Governor, Bickett practiced law in Louisburg, represented Franklin County in the North Carolina General Assembly and then served as North Carolina Attorney General for two terms (1909–1917).

On November 29, 1898 he married Fanny Neal Yarborough of Rose Hill Plantation.[1]

In 1916, Bickett became the first state governor who was nominated by means of a Democratic Party primary election (in which he defeated Lt. Gov. Elijah L. Daughtridge).[2] Under Bickett's leadership, the state saw improvements in child welfare, public health, electricity, and running water. He persuaded the legislature to establish the state's first income tax.[3] He also had to lead the state through World War I.

Walter Bickett Elementary in Monroe, North Carolina (where he was born) is named for him. Two school locations have his name. The original Walter Bickett School opened in March 1922 on Lancaster Avenue[4] as Monroe High School, the city's first high school, and was named "sometime later" for Bickett. It remained a high school until the present Monroe High School was built in 1960,[5] and was replaced in 2003 with a new Walter Bickett Elementary. The older building became Walter Bickett Pre-K Education Center.[6][7]