Obituary of John F. Wooten

Mr. John F. WOOTEN quietly passed away this afternoon at 2:10 o’clock at his late residence on east King street. The immediate cause of his death was apoplexy.  Mr. Wooten suffered a slight stroke yesterday afternoon while in conversation with some friends at his home and recovered sufficiently to get about the house today and was sitting up just a few minutes before his death this afternoon. He had a second stroke and asked to be helped to the lounge in the room and died in a few minutes.

Mr. Wooten was born November 22, 1821, and consequently had he lived until the 22nd of this month would have been 82 years old.  He leaves a widow and six children: Mrs. W.O. MOSELEY, Messrs. T.C., Dal. F., J.F.Jr., and Lloyd, of this city and B.B. of Ft. Barnwell.  He was also the father of the late Sheriff John C. WOOTEN.

His has been a long and useful career.  Since receiving his license to practice law, up until a few years ago when he retired from the active duties of his profession on account of his age, he has been a public figure in this county.  Ranking among the first in the State as a criminal lawyer he wielded an influence that was not surpassed, in the days of his active practice at the bar.  He was indeed a foreman worthy of the best steed of an adversary and was counted the foremost advocate of the bar in this county during his long practice in the courts in this district.

The funeral had not been arranged when the paper went to press today, as members of the family were not here and until communication be gotten with them the arrangements will not be made.

The following biography of Mr. Wooten, found in the industrial issue of THE FREE PRESS, published in 1899 gives a concise history of his long and useful career:

Hon. John F. WOOTEN was born in Craven county, N.C., about 25 miles from Newbern, Nov. 22, 1821.  His father was “Council WOOTEN, of Pitt” county, a member of a large family of that name in Eastern Carolina.  His mother was Grizzy MURPHY, of Irish descent, and was a near kinswoman of Judge Archibald D. MURPHY, of legal fame in this State.

He received his early training in the celebrated school in Pittsboro, N.C., conducted by J.M. LOVEJOY. At the age of 21 he entered William and Mary College, Va., and in 1843 entered the Virginia University, taking the law course there.  He was licensed by the supreme court in 1845 and immediately located in Kinston, and was the first and only resident lawyer for a time.

He married Miss Mary Adams CHRISTIAN, of West Point, Va., a lady of great accomplishments and of a distinguished family.  He was married again, this time to Miss Mary PUGH, of Clinton, Sampson county.

He held the position of clerk and master of the court of equity for Lenoir county for five years, and afterwards held the office of county solicitor for Lenoir and Jones for a number of years.  He was elected as a Tilden elector in 1876, running ahead of his ticket in the State.  In 1879-1880 he was judge of the special criminal courts for Lenoir county.

He was considered one of the best criminal lawyers in the State in his best days, and was a wonderfully eloquent and able advocate.

He retired from the active practice several years ago to live out his declining years surrounded by his family and to enjoy the fruits of a well spent life.

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