Robert L. Doughton

Last updated
Robert L. Doughton
Robert Lee Doughton.jpg
36th Dean of the United States House of Representatives
In office
November 6, 1952 January 3, 1953
Preceded by Adolph J. Sabath
Succeeded by Sam Rayburn
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from North Carolina's 8th & 9th district
In office
March 4, 1911 January 3, 1953
Preceded by Charles H. Cowles (8th)
Alfred L. Bulwinkle (9th)
Succeeded by Walter Lambeth (8th)
Hugh Q. Alexander (9th)
Member of the North Carolina Senate
from the 35th district
In office
Preceded byE. F. Lovill
Succeeded byJohn M. Wagoner
Personal details
Robert Lee Doughton

(1863-11-07)November 7, 1863
Laurel Springs, North Carolina
DiedOctober 1, 1954(1954-10-01) (aged 90)
Laurel Springs, North Carolina
Political party Democratic

Robert Lee "Bob" Doughton (November 7, 1863 October 1, 1954), of Alleghany County, North Carolina, sometimes known as "Farmer Bob," was a member of the United States House of Representatives from North Carolina for 42 consecutive years (19111953). A Democrat originally from Laurel Springs, North Carolina, he was the Dean of the United States House of Representatives for his last few months in Congress. He is the longest-serving member ever of the United States House of Representatives from the state of North Carolina.


Family and education

Doughton's father was a captain in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War; he named his son Robert after Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Robert earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma from the Traphill Academy. Although he never attended college, he was awarded honorary bachelor's degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Catawba College during his political career.

Doughton was married twice. His first wife, Boyd Greer, died in 1895 after only two years of marriage. He remarried in 1898 to Lillie Hix; they remained married until her death in 1946. He had two sons and two daughters. His elder brother was Rufus A. Doughton, who was at various times Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives and Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina. Doughton was a member and deacon of the Laurel Springs Baptist Church. After his death in 1954 at the age of 90 he was buried next to his wife Lillie in the church cemetery. In the 1990s Rufus Doughton's former home in Laurel Springs was restored, and it is now a popular bed-and-breakfast for tourists to the region.

The Robert L. Doughton House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. [1]

Business and political career

In private life, Doughton was a prosperous farmer and banker. By 1900 he owned over 5,000 acres (20 km2) of land in his native Alleghany County, North Carolina, where he raised herds of prized Hereford and Holstein cows. He was also the owner and president of the Deposit Savings and Loan Bank in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina; when the bank merged in 1936 with several other banks and formed the Northwestern Bank, Doughton briefly served as the new bank's director. His interest in farming led to his being named to the North Carolina Board of Agriculture in 1903; this marked the beginning of his career in politics. Before being elected to Congress, Doughton served one term in the North Carolina Senate (1908–09) and was director of the state Prison Board (1909–11).

President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act into law, August 14, 1935. (Doughton at far left) Signing Of The Social Security Act.jpg
President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act into law, August 14, 1935. (Doughton at far left)

Congressional achievements

Doughton with Henry A. Wallace in 1940. Henry A. Wallace, Robert L. Doughton LCCN2016876932.tif
Doughton with Henry A. Wallace in 1940.

Doughton was for 18 years (1933–1947 and 1949–1953) the Chairman of the powerful U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, and as such he co-sponsored, held hearings on, and oversaw the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935. Doughton was also instrumental in the creation of the Blue Ridge Parkway, America's most-traveled scenic highway. The largest park and recreational area on the parkway is named in his honor. Doughton is also known for introducing the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which effectively served as a federal ban on marijuana prohibition in the United States in lieu of federal authority to directly regulate medicines or drugs.

Doughton talking with Washington (state) Congressman Charles H. Leavy in 1939. General welfare movement concludes testimony. (Washington) D.C., Feb. 7. Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Robert L. Doughton, and Rep. Charles (...) Washington, talking LCCN2016874970.tif
Doughton talking with Washington (state) Congressman Charles H. Leavy in 1939.
Doughton with Texas Congressman Wright Patman in 1937, talking about a pension bill. Texas Representative talk on his pension bill. Washington, D.C., Feb. 3. Representative Wright Patman, Texas, shown here with Robert L. Doughton, Chairman of the House Ways and Means LCCN2016874955.tif
Doughton with Texas Congressman Wright Patman in 1937, talking about a pension bill.

See also

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  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles H. Cowles
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
Walter Lambeth
Preceded by
Alfred L. Bulwinkle
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Hugh Q. Alexander
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Adolph Joachim Sabath
Dean of the House
November 1952 – January 1953
Succeeded by
Sam Rayburn