Mary Jones Spaight (Leach) (1765 - 1870) MP

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Death: Died
Managed by: Tammy Swingle (Tucker)
Last Updated:

About Mary Jones Spaight (Leach)

Wife of Richard Dobbs Spraight, Sr., signer of the U.S. Constitution. Mary had the distinction of being the first lady to dance with George Washington at a ball in his honor at Tryon Palace in New Bern in 1791.

Richard Spaight met defeat in bids for the governorship in 1787 and the U.S. Senate 2 years later. From then until 1792, illness forced his retirement from public life, during which time he visited the West Indies, but he captured the governorship in the latter year (1792-95). In 1793 he served as Presidential elector. Two years later, he wed Mary Leach, who bore three children.

Though they could not enroll, some women became ardent supporters of the University of North Carolina. Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight's wife, Mary Leach Spaight, attended the first public examination of students. In 1802, the women of Raleigh donated a pair of globes and a compass to the university. In 1803, the women of New Bern gave a quadrant. North Carolina's women also joined the university's public occasions, including balls and commencement. At the 1849 commencement, women were seated together to prevent interaction with the male students.

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