Alton Lennon
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Alton Lennon
Alton Asa Lennon
Alton Lennon.jpg
United States Senator
from North Carolina

July 10, 1953 - November 28, 1954
William B. Umstead
Willis Smith
William Kerr Scott
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 7th district

January 3, 1957 - January 3, 1973
Frank Ertel Carlyle
Charlie Rose
Member of the North Carolina Senate

Personal details
Born(1906-08-17)August 17, 1906
Wilmington, North Carolina
DiedDecember 28, 1986(1986-12-28) (aged 80)
Wilmington, North Carolina
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Karine Welch

Alton Asa Lennon (August 17, 1906 – December 28, 1986) of Wilmington, New Hanover County, N.C., was a Democratic U.S. senator from the state of North Carolina between 1953 and 1954, and later, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing North Carolina's 7th congressional district from 1957 to 1973. Lennon was one of the very few former United States Senators in modern times (the only other examples being James Wolcott Wadsworth Jr. from New York, Claude Pepper from Florida, Hugh Mitchell from Washington, and Garrett Withers from Kentucky) to be elected to the House after their Senate careers. (Matthew M. Neely from West Virginia was also elected to the House after his Senate career, but he had been elected to the House before his Senate career as well.)

Lennon was born in Wilmington, New Hanover County, N.C., August 17, 1906. He was the son of Rosser Yates Lennon and Minnie (High) Lennon. He attended the public schools, and graduated from Wake Forest College in 1929. He was admitted to the bar in 1929 and began practice in Wilmington. He married Karine Welch on October 12, 1933.

Lennon served as the judge of New Hanover County Recorder's Court from 1934-1942. He was elected to the North Carolina State Senate in 1947, and served until 1951. Lennon was appointed on July 10, 1953, as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Willis Smith and served from July 10, 1953, to November 28, 1954. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the nomination in 1954 to fill the vacancy. He resumed law practice, then was elected as a Democrat to the 85th Congress, and was reelected to the seven succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1957 - January 3, 1973).[1]

Lennon was known as one of North Carolina's most conservative politicians. Lennon voted in Congress against civil rights and social legislation, although about half of the constituents in his district were African-Americans or Native Americans. In 1966, he was the only Southerner to vote against citing seven Ku Klux Klan leaders for contempt of Congress. He said, "I never heard it said that Klansmen were subversive or affiliated with any foreign government to overthrow the United States." In 1966, Mr. Lennon urged that North Vietnamese ports be bombed, and in 1967 he called for the Justice Department to prosecute Stokely Carmichael, the black activist, for making statements against the military draft.[2]

He declined to seek reelection in 1972. In 1976, the Federal Building and Courthouse at Wilmington was named in his honor. Although he was a Democrat, Mr. Lennon campaigned for the re-election of Senator Jesse Helms, the conservative Republican, in 1978.

He was a resident of Wilmington, N.C., until his death there December 28, 1986.


  1. ^ "LENNON, Alton Asa, (1906 - 1986)". Retrieved .
  2. ^ "Alton Asa Lennon Dies at 80; Was a Carolina Congressman". Retrieved .

Alton Lennon at Find a Grave

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