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Furnifold McLendel Simmons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Furnifold McLendel Simmons
Simmons seated in a suit
United States Senator
from North Carolina
In office
March 4, 1901 – March 4, 1931
Preceded byMarion Butler
Succeeded byJosiah Bailey
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1887 – March 3, 1889
Preceded byJames E. O'Hara
Succeeded byHenry P. Cheatham
Personal details
Born(1854-01-20)January 20, 1854
Pollocksville, North Carolina
DiedApril 30, 1940(1940-04-30) (aged 86)
New Bern, North Carolina
Political partyDemocratic

Furnifold McLendel Simmons (January 20, 1854 – April 30, 1940) was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from March 4, 1887 to March 4, 1889 and U.S. senator from the state of North Carolina between March 4, 1901 and March 4, 1931. He served as chairman of the powerful Committee on Finance from March 4, 1913 to March 4, 1919. He was an unsuccessful contender for the 1920 Democratic Party nomination for president. Simmons was a staunch segregationist, white supremacist and a leading perpetrator of the Wilmington insurrection of 1898.

Life and career

Simmons was born in Pollocksville, North Carolina, the son of Mary McLendel (Jerman) and Furnifold Greene Simmons.[1][2] As a leader of the state Democratic Party, Simmons led the 1898–1900 White Supremacy campaigns that effectively disenfranchised black voters for a half-century. From his Senate seat, he then ran a powerful political machine, using A. D. Watts "to keep the machine oiled back home," in the words of one journalist.[3]

Senator Simmons refused to endorse Al Smith, the Democratic nominee for president in 1928, winning him praise from members of the Ku Klux Klan.[4] Still, rejecting the Democratic nominee in 1928, together with the Great Depression, led to Simmons being defeated in the 1930 Democratic primary by Josiah W. Bailey, who was backed by Governor O. Max Gardner.


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^
  3. ^ News & Observer: "What the obituary didn't say" by Rob Christensen Archived July 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Chiles, Robert (2018). The Revolution of '28: Al Smith, American Progressivism, and the Coming of the New Deal. Cornell University Press. p. 115. ISBN 9781501705502.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
James E. O'Hara
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 2nd congressional district

March 4, 1887 – March 4, 1889
Succeeded by
Henry P. Cheatham
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Marion Butler
 U.S. Senator (Class 1) from North Carolina
March 4, 1901 – March 4, 1931
Served alongside: Jeter Connelly Pritchard, Lee Slater Overman, Cameron A. Morrison
Succeeded by
Josiah William Bailey
Political offices
Preceded by
Boies Penrose
Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance
March 4, 1913 – March 4, 1919
Succeeded by
Boies Penrose
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Francis E. Warren
Dean of the United States Senate
November 24, 1929 – March 4, 1931
Succeeded by
Reed Smoot
Preceded by
Obadiah Gardner
Oldest living U.S. Senator
July 24, 1938 – April 30, 1940
Succeeded by
Fountain L. Thompson
Preceded by
Henry Heitfeld
Most Senior Living U.S. Senator 
 (Sitting or Former)

October 21, 1938 – April 30, 1940
Succeeded by
Reed Smoot
This page was last edited on 16 March 2020, at 08:40
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