McHenry, as acting speaker, is second from NC to lead US House

Acting Speaker Rep. Patrick McHenry gavels the U.S. House of Representatives out of session on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. Image via C-SPAN.

North Carolina Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC-10) took over as acting Speaker of the House following a successful motion to vacate resolution on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023.

McHenry, who was designated for the role by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, is in charge of the U.S. House of Representatives until a new candidate secures 218 votes.

That election is expected begin on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

While the elevation of McHenry marks a milestone for the foothills Republican, he is not the first from the state to hold the title of speaker.

Portrait of Nathaniel Macon, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, 1911; Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives (Public domain).

That honor belongs to Nathaniel Macon.

Born near Warrenton, he served in the North Carolina Senate from Warren County before being elected to Congress.

The son of a wealthy tobacco farmer, Macon would attend the College of New Jersey, now known as Princeton, but did not graduate. He returned to the state and became a lawyer.

Macon served for a time in the Continental Army and is believed to have been in the Battle of Camden according to historical reports.

He would become the fifth speaker in U.S. history, with his tenure coinciding with the two presidential terms of Thomas Jefferson, an ally for much of that time. However, he felt Jefferson had strayed from his principles during his second presidential term.

In total, Macon served from 1801-1807 as speaker, having been speaker for the 7th, 8th and 9th Congress.

Macon was elected to serve in the U.S. Senate by the state legislature in 1815 and would serve as senator until 1818, when he resigned to retire from public life. In the Senate, he served for a time as the president pro tempore.

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Matt Mercer is the editor in chief of North State Journal and can be reached at [email protected].