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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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Morehead, John Lindsay

by Edward French, 1991

19 Oct. 1894–9 Nov. 1964

John Lindsay Morehead. Image from Lindsay Morehead, textile executive and principal officer of the John Motley Morehead Foundation at The University of North Carolina, was born in Marietta, Ga., the son of John Motley and Mary Garrett Morehead. His father later became a Charlotte banker and served in the U.S. Congress. He was a descendant of John Motley Morehead, the prominent early nineteenth-century governor of North Carolina for whom Morehead City was named, and a cousin of John Motley Morehead III, benefactor of The University of North Carolina. Following graduation from Woodberry Forest School in Virginia, John Lindsay entered The University of North Carolina in the fall of 1911. After one year at Chapel Hill, he transferred to the University of Virginia, from which he received a B.S. degree in 1916. During World War I he became a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps.

From his Charlotte office, Morehead directed the operations of the Leaksville Woolen Mills, of which he was president and chairman of the board from 1929 until his death. He had joined the Leaksville operation in 1917 as general superintendent, shortly before enlisting in the army. Morehead was also a director of the Chatham Manufacturing Company, the Charlotte Federal Reserve Bank, and the Business Foundation of The University of North Carolina. He was a lifelong Republican and an active Episcopalian.

John Lindsay Morehead's wife, Louise Nickerson. Image from his elderly cousin, John Motley Morehead III, established the multimillion-dollar Morehead Foundation at Chapel Hill in the late forties, he turned over its operation to John Lindsay. Patterned after the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford, the Morehead awards provided exceptionally generous stipends to young men of outstanding ability and promise who planned to enroll at Chapel Hill. For the remainder of his life, John Lindsay Morehead worked enthusiastically to make the Morehead awards among the most prestigious in U.S. collegiate circles. He took great personal interest in the individual Morehead scholars and through the years helped broaden the scope of the program. As a token of its appreciation for "the architect of the Morehead scholarship plan," The University of North Carolina awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1960.

When Morehead died in Charlotte at age seventy, eight Morehead scholars served as pallbearers at his funeral. He was buried in Charlotte's Elmwood Cemetery. After his death, a resolution drawn up by the Morehead Foundation trustees stated in part: "While this Foundation is the sole creation of the generosity and benevolence of John Motley Morehead, its organization and its rich achievements are in great part the result of the loving and untiring efforts spread upon it by John Lindsay Morehead. Since its inception, the Morehead Foundation occupied a primary position in his affections, and he labored diligently in its behalf. It was the vision, the ability, the integrity, and the devotion of John Lindsay Morehead that built the Morehead Foundation."

On 14 June 1919 Morehead married Louise Nickerson of Maryland. The couple had three daughters: Mary Nickerson (Mrs. Hugh Gwyn Chatham), Jean Motley (Mrs. Peter Alexander Larkin), and Louise Lindsay (Mrs. Alan Dickson). Mrs. Morehead died on 11 July 1976 as a result of an automobile accident.


Chapel Hill Weekly, 11 Nov. 1964.

Charlotte Observer, 10 Nov. 1964.

Durham Morning Herald, 10 Nov. 1964.

The John Motley Morehead Foundation Annual Report (1965).

New York Times, 10 Nov. 1964.

Raleigh News and Observer, 10 Nov. 1964.

Who's Who in America, vol. 33 (1964–65).

Additional Resources:

Morehead, Joseph Motley, III. The Morehead family of North Carolina and Virginia. New York, Priv. print. [by the DeVinne Press]. 1921. (accessed July 2, 2013).

Image Credits:

"John Lindsay Morehead, II 1894-." The Morehead family of North Carolina and Virginia. New York, Priv. print. [by the DeVinne Press]. 1921. 101. (accessed July 2, 2013).

"Mrs. John Lindsay Morehead, II Louise Nickerson." The Morehead family of North Carolina and Virginia. New York, Priv. print. [by the DeVinne Press]. 1921. 103. (accessed July 2, 2013).