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Doughton Hall

 Highway Workers 4AM Bowie and Rufus Doughton and HG Connor, jr 1921
Highway Workers Tom Bowie and Rufus Doughton and HG Connor, Jr, 1921. 

Doughton Hall was named for three members of the Doughton family for their contribution to Western North Carolina.

Rufus A. Doughton was born in Allegheny County, North Carolina on January 10, 1857, and was the elder brother of Robert Lee Doughton. He was educated at Independence High School in Virginia, and attended the University of North Carolina where he studied law. After graduation from college he was employed as an attorney for the North Carolina Railroad. His education at the University of North Carolina led him to take a position of the Board of Trustees at the university for fifty-seven years.

R. A. Doughton also served as the Representative from Allegheny County in the General Assembly in the years 1887, 1889, 1891, 1909, and 1911, and as Speaker of the House in 1891. During his time in the House Rufus championed the Watts Bill of 1903 and the Revaluation Act of 1919. Rufus A Doughton held office from 1893 to 1897 as Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina as a Democrat. He was appointed to a position as chairman of the State Highway Commission by Governor O. Max Gardener in 1929 as well as to a position as state Commissioner of Revenue. Rufus worked outside of politics and the academic realm as a farmer, rancher, and the President of Northwestern Bank from 1937 to 1945.

Robert Lee Doughton
Congressman Robert L. Doughton, 1942.

Robert L. Doughton was born at Laurel Springs, North Carolina on November 7th, 1863. Robert was educated in the public-school system in Laurel Springs and later Sparta, North Carolina. He spent a large portion of his life involved in politics as well as farming, stock raising, and serving as the President of the Deposit and Savings Bank of North Wilkesboro from 1911 to 1936. Robert was a major supporter of the Blue Ridge Parkway Project resulting in a large stretch of the Parkway bearing the Doughton name.

Additionally, Doughton served as a representative in the NC General Assembly for twelve terms. Doughton was appointed to the Board of Agriculture in 1908, he was elected as Director of North Carolina state prisons from 1909 to 1911, and also served as Speaker of the House as well as Lieutenant Governor of the Senate from 1911-1936. Robert L. Doughton was a fixture in Congress for a span of forty-two years, and chaired the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives. Doughton headed this committee in 1944 and pushed Congress to override the President's veto of a tax relief bill, marking the first time that Congress enacted a revenue law without presidential approval. This veto followed the approval of the Social Security Act of 1935, called the “Second New Deal” and praised by Doughton as proof that Congress held great faith in the President Roosevelt’s leadership. Robert L. Doughton passed away on October 1st, 1954 and is buried in Laurel Springs Baptist Church Cemetery.

James Kemp Doughton was the son of Rufus Doughton, and was born in Sparta, North Carolina on May 18, 1884. James gained his education at Oak Ridge Institute in Tennessee and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before taking office as State Treasurer, State Bank Examiner, the National Bank Examiner, Chief of the Fifth Federal District, as well as Chairman of the Board of the Federal Land Bank. He later held a position as the senior trust officer of the Northwestern Bank of North Wilkesboro. Kemp was deeply embedded in the financial realm of North Carolina as he was a member of the Advisory Budget commission, manager of the Richmond agency of Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and was a general agent, and later chairman, of the Baltimore Farm Credit Administration. James passed away March 31, 1973.

Doughton Residence Hall

Doughton Residence Hall, 1963.

Doughton Hall was first occupied in September of 1964, and was initially a women’s residence. The hall accommodated 300 residents and was the tallest building in Watauga County at its completion. Doughton Hall was named to honor three members of the Doughton Family and their impact in North Carolina politics and finance, Robert Lee, Rufus, and Rufus’s son James. The bid for construction of the building was awarded to H. L. Coble of Greensboro and Orlando, Florida for a total of $543,175 but the building is stated to have cost approximately $800,000 by the time it was finished.