A CHOICE Magazine Outstanding Academic Title for 2001
James Iredell sailed from England to the English colony of North Carolina in 1768 to be a customs officer at the port of Edenton. While serving King George III at the port of Edenton, Iredell studied law under Samuel Johnston, who would become his brother-in-law, mentor, and friend. Iredell became a superior lawyer and the leading essayist in his region in support of American independence. Following the American Revolution, he was the foremost advocate in North Carolina for adoption of the proposed federal Constitution and later served on the Supreme Court after ratification.
In Justice James Iredell, Whichard traces the life of this public servant from customs officer to lawyer to eminent statesman and concludes with a description of the man himself: his family, friends, finances, slaves, and religion. This fascinating book includes a picture of Justice Iredell as well as pictures of his wife, associates, home town, and publications. It is the only biography chronicling the achievements of this important figure in North Carolina and American history.
“In this first definitive biography of Iredell, Whichard…superbly captures the essence of circuit riding at that time, juxtaposing the almost unbearable hardships of primitive travel to the social amenities and associations with the prominent figures of the day. A model of biographical research and a fitting tribute to an unsung hero.” — CHOICE Magazine
“Carefully documented, well-written, and entertaining to read, this single modern biography of the sixth Justice is a notable addition to the bibliography of the early court.” — Journal of Supreme Court History, 2002