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Kluttz, Theodore Franklin

by Suzy Conner, 1988

4 Oct. 1848–19 Nov. 1918

Theodore Franklin Kluttz, businessman, lawyer, and congressman, was born in Salisbury, the son of Elizabeth Moose and Caleb Kluttz, who at the time was sheriff of Rowan County. Orphaned at an early age, Kluttz lived a moderate existence and became self-supporting while he was still very young. At age sixteen he began work as a clerk in the local drugstore of Henderson and Enniss. Four or five years later, he bought Enniss's share of the business and became a partner. The drugstore's name was promptly changed to Theodore F. Kluttz and Co.

By 1880 his store was enjoying such prosperity that he felt comfortable in pursuing his dream of a career in law. At age thirty-two, he began his studies under James M. McCorkle. On admission to the bar, Kluttz joined McCorkle's practice and continued a partnership with him until McCorkle's death. Kluttz's success as a lawyer equaled (and even surpassed) his success as a businessman. He was recognized for his studious, energetic, and eloquent approach to the law; good judgment; and abilities as advocate, defender, and arbitrator.

His interest in business continued throughout most of his life, and he was associated with numerous efforts to promote growth and prosperity in his city and county. Kluttz served as vice-president of the Yadkin Railroad Company and president of the Salisbury Building and Loan Association, Davis and Wiley Bank, Salisbury Chamber of Commerce, Rowan Knitting Company, and Chestnut Hill Cemetery Association. He was also a director in various industries, including the North Carolina Railroad Company, Salisbury Water Works, North Carolina Steel and Iron Company, and Salisbury Cotton Mills.

Kluttz was active in politics as well. In 1880 he served as district presidential elector on the Hancock ticket, and in 1896 he was chairman of the North Carolina delegation to the Democratic National Convention. At the convention, he made an exhilarating speech seconding the nomination of William Jennings Bryan. Later that year, he served as a Democratic presidential elector on the Bryan ticket.

His own political career began in 1898, when he was elected to the Fifty-sixth Congress as a representative from the Seventh District. Kluttz served again during the Fifty-seventh and Fifty-eighth Congresses, but this time as a representative from the Eighth District due to reapportionment. He declined to be renominated in 1905 and returned to his law practice in Salisbury. In 1912, he started a two-year term as judge of the Rowan County Court.

In 1873 Kluttz married Sallie Caldwell, a sister of Joseph Caldwell, and they had six children. He was a member of the Presbyterian church and served as deacon.

Kluttz was buried in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Salisbury.

References:

Samuel A. Ashe, ed., Cyclopedia of Eminent and Representative Men of the Carolinas of the Nineteenth Century, vol. 2 (1892).

North Carolina Bar Association, Proceedings of the Twenty-first Annual Session (5–7 Aug. 1919).

Prominent People of North Carolina (1906).

A. Davis Smith, Western North Carolina, Historical and Biographical (1890).

Additional Resources:

"Kluttz, Theodore Franklin, (1848 - 1918)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=K000275 (accessed June 2, 2014).

 

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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