Highway marker to honor NC’s 1st Jewish legislator

BEAUFORT, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s first Jewish legislator will be honored with a highway marker placed in front of his home in Beaufort.

The ceremony will be held Monday evening at the Jacob Henry House on Front Street. Henry served in the North Carolina House of Commons in 1808 and 1809, when citizens were bound by the constitution to affirm “the truth of the Protestant religion.”

After the 1809 election, another legislator introduced a resolution to vacate Henry’s seat because he was Jewish. Henry responded with a rousing speech and was allowed to retain his seat.

He and his family moved to Charleston, S.C., in 1817. He was born there and died there, but his tombstone has never been found.

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