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Residences - Residence of U.S. Senator Lee S. Overman

This stately home was located at the corner of West Innes and South Ellis Streets and was the residence of Lee Slater Overman, a United States Senator.  The house was torn down to build a bank. 

Lee Slater Overman was born in Salisbury.  He was educated in private schools and later graduated from Trinity College, which is now Duke University.  He worked for the gubernatorial campaign of Zebulon Vance.  After Vance was elected, Overman became his private secretary and remained in that position for two years.  During that time, he became interested in law and read extensively.  After Vance left office, Overman returned to Salisbury and opened a law office.  In 1878, he married Mary Paxton Merrimon, the daughter of United States Senator and North Carolina Supreme Court Justice, Augusta Summerfield Merrimon, and the couple had four children - one of whom died in infancy. He supported the Prohibition movement, and was elected to the North Carolina State Legislature in 1882 and served until 1889. 

In 1902, Overman was the first United States Senator from North Carolina to be elected by popular vote, and he served in that capacity for twenty-eight years.  He wrote and supported the Overman Act of 1918.  This legislation gave the President extraordinary powers during times of war.  He was opposed to women’s suffrage, but he was an advocate of education and served on the board of trustees of Duke University and the University of North Carolina.  He was elected president of the North Carolina Railroad. Overman died in Washington in 1930 of a stomach hemorrhage and at his request, his funeral was held in the United States Senate Chamber.  He was buried at Chestnut Hill Cemetery in Salisbury. 

Buerbaum’s Bookstore Salisbury, N.C  No series no.

Source: 

Hood, Davyd Foard The Architecture of Rowan County North Carolina: A Catalogue and History of Surviving 18th, 19th, and 20th Structures  Salisbury: Historic Salisbury Foundation, 2000

Sides, Susan Goodman Salisbury and Rowan County Charleston, SC: Arcadia, c1999

Powell William S., editor Dictionary of North Carolina Biography Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, c1979-c1996

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