HANNIBAL L. GODWIN
Not alone in the realm of the law has Hon. Hannibal L. Godwin won prestige and a reputation for honorable service, for he has had the distinction of serving as congressman from the Sixth Congressional District of North Carolina, comprising the counties of Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, Harnett, New Hanover and Robeson, in the National Legislative Assembly, to which office he was elected on the democratic ticket in November, 1906.
Congressman Godwin was born on a farm near Dunn, Harnett County, North Carolina, November 3, 1873, a son of Archibald B. and Rebecca Eliza (Reaves) Godwin, natives of Harnett. All his life the father was a farmer of the Harnett neighborhood, and here he died, April 16, 1899, and the mother survived him for some years, she passing away in February, 1914.
The public schools of Dunn, Trinity College, now Duke University, Durham, North Carolina., and the law department of the University of North Carolina educated Congressman Godwin and prepared him for his profession. He was admitted to the bar of his native state in September. 1896, and immediately thereafter established himself in a legal practice at Dunn, where he has since remained, and where he has built up wide and important connections.
On December 23, 1898 Congressman Godwin married Miss Mattie Barnes, a daughter of Hugh A. and Jenette (Parker) Barnes, of Harnett County. During the War Between the States Mr. Barnes served in the Confederate army, but with the exception of his military service, was engaged in farming all his life. His death took place in 1877, and Mrs. Barnes died in 1922. Congressman and Mrs. Godwin have had seven children born to them: Ruby Barnes; Mattie Belle, who is the wife of Paul Jones, of Dunn; Marjorie Elizabeth, who is the wife of J. O. Warren, cashier of the First National Bank of Dunn; Eloise Davis, who is the wife of Murdock Dowd, and resides at Norfolk, Virginia; Hannibal Lafayette, Junior, who is a cadet of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York; Hugh Archibald, who is at home; and Robert Barnes, who is also at home and in school.
Other honors have been bestowed upon Congressman Godwin in addition to those already mentioned, for he was elected mayor of Dunn in 1897, state senator in 1902, and presidential elector from his district in 1904. From 1904 to 1906 he was a member of the North Carolina state executive committee of the democratic party, and served for seven terms or fourteen years as a- member of Congress, from March 4, 1907, to March 4, 1921.
In 1921 his long period of public service ended, he returned to private life to find that his close attention to the affairs of the nation, especially during the World war and the several years following, has resulted in the loss of his law practice, so that he was forced to begin all over again. However, he soon found that the years had greatly increased his knowledge, and that his experiences had mellowed his judgment and it was not long before he had regained all that he had lost, and today he has a wonderful practice, handling as he does some of the most important jurisprudence in the state. He practices in all of the courts, including the United States Supreme Court, and is admittedly one of the leaders at the bar throughout the state. Throughout his career he, has dealt quite extensively in real estate, and now possesses a very valuable farm that he is devoting to cotton. He is a member of the North Carolina State Bar Association, as well as that of the county. In Masonry: he has been advanced to the thirty-second degree, Scottish Rite, and he belongs to Sudan Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., of Wilmington, North Carolina. Early in life he united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and belongs to that body at Dunn, and is one of its stewards. He and Mrs. Godwin maintain their beautiful home at 401 North Ellis Avenue, Dunn. The family of Godwin is an old and honored one in the state, and the town of Godwin in Cumberland County was named in honor of an uncle of Congressman Godwin.
It is a source of great satisfaction to him that it was his privilege to be a member of Congress during so important a period in the world's history, and he is proud of the record he made in that body, and feels that it is a heritage he can hand down to his children. In all of the other offices he held he was equally effective and honorable, and no man today stands any higher in the esteem of his fellow citizens than he, both as a lawyer learned and upright, and as a states- man of unusual ability and great public spirit.