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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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Brinson, Samuel Mitchell

by Gertrude S. Carraway, 1979

20 Mar. 1870–13 Apr. 1922

Samuel Mitchell Brinson. Courtesy of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.Samuel Mitchell Brinson, educator and congressman, was a native of New Bern. His father was William George Brinson (4 Jan. 1840–8 May 1896), a sergeant in Company K, North Carolina Regiment, Confederate States of America; his mother was Kittie Elizabeth Chesnut (14 Oct. 1842–42 June 1908), a daughter of Owen and Kezia Chesnut.

After attending private and public schools in New Bern, Brinson was graduated in 1891 from Wake Forest College. For a year he taught school in New Bern. In 1895 he was graduated in law from The University of North Carolina. Admitted to the bar the next year, he began the practice of law in his native town.

From 1902 to 1919 he was superintendent of public instruction in Craven County; the Brinson Memorial School in the county was named for him. In 1918 he was president of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad Company, which had been organized in 1854 at New Bern to operate trains from Goldsboro to the coast. He was long a devoted member and educational leader of the First Baptist Church of New Bern.

As a Democrat, Brinson was elected and reelected to Congress, serving from 4 Mar. 1919 until his death. He was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery in New Bern.

Brinson's wife, Ruth Morton Scales (8 Mar. 1879–19 Jan. 1919), was born at Knoxville, Tenn., daughter of N. E. Scales and Minnie Lord Scales, both natives of Salisbury. The Brinsons had one daughter, Mary Steele.


Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1971).

Brinson Family Bibles (in the possession of Harvey Chesnut, Washington, D.C., and Miss Mary Steele Brinson, Salisbury).

Craven County Records (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

Tombstones, Cedar Grove Cemetery (New Bern).

Additional Resources:

"Brinson, Samuel Mitchell, (1870 - 1922)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed April 16, 2013).

Brinson, Samuel Mitchell, North Carolina Literary Map:

Samuel M. Brinson. Memorial addresses delivered in the House of representatives, Joyner Library, East Carolina University:

North Carolina Manual. North Carolina Historical Commission, 1921. (accessed April 16, 2013).

Image Credits:

"Brinson, Samuel Mitchell, (1870 - 1922)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed April 16, 2013).

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