Welcome to the Macon, MO Sesquicentennial Celebration!
Welcome to the Macon, MO Sesquicentennial Celebration!
The City of Maples Celebrates Its 150th Anniversary!

Where Did Macon Get Its Name?

Taken from an article in a 1976 Edition of the Macon Chronicle-Herald

The legacy of Nathaniel Macon, a renowned statesman during the early years of the United States, lives on throughout the country he served in towns which were named in his honor, our town being one of these as well as the county. Macon's life spanned eight decades, much of it spent in elective office at the national level. Nathaniel Macon was born in Warren County, NC, in the year 1757. He was educated at Princeton, and while there, the Revolutionary War against Great Britain began. In 1777 Macon left college and served for a short time as a private in a company of volunteers.

Returning at the expiration of this service to North Carolina, Macon studied law, but soon enlisted again as a volunteer. Though diverse offices were urged on him, he served as a common soldier. He continued in the army until the provisional treaty of peace in 1782.

Macon refused any pay for his services as well as a pension offered by the government.

While still in the army in 1780, he was elected a member of the North Carolina Senate at age 24. He served for five years as a state senator. It was during this period that Macon married Miss Hannah Plummer, and soon afterward they settled on a plantation on the banks of the Roanoke in his native county. This was the home the Macons lived in for the rest of their lives. On the plantation Macon was involved in farming which like his public endeavors, was very successful.

When the Constitution of the United States was first submitted to the vote of the people of North Carolina, Macon firmly opposed it as conferring too much power on the new government, as making it independent of the states, and so of the people and tendering to corruption. His dislike of this centralized power did not lessen with the years.

Macon began his national political career in 1791 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He served in the House 24 years. From 1801 to 1806 he served as Speaker of the House. Historical accounts report that as a speaker, while he was in no sense an orator, few were really more effective. His longest speech occupied hardly more than half an hour. Few men were listened to with more respectful attention, history reveals.

Macon was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1816 and served there until 1828. He held the position of Speaker Pro Tern in that body from 1825 to 1827. Twice during President Jefferson's administration Macon declined the postmaster-generalship. In 1824, the state of Virginia exhibited its esteem for Macon by casting all 24 electoral votes for him for the vice presidency.

In 1828, Macon announced he would be stepping down from office and resigned his Senate seat as well as his position as trustee of the University of North Carolina and his post of justice of the peace. He had served 37 consecutive years in Congress. As his last political functions he presided in 1835 over the convention that was called to revise the North Carolina constitution and served as a member of the electoral college in 1836.

Nathaniel Macon strongly believed in Democracy. One of his favorite sayings about his confidence in the capacity of the people for self-government was "If let alone, they will always do what is right." It was said that he was a reader of few books other than the Bible. President Jefferson called Macon "the last of the Romans" because he retained the public's confidence for so long. Randolph called him the wisest man he ever knew.

Nathaniel Macon died in June of 1837. The 1884 History of Randolph and Macon Counties records the significance of his death to the local area: "He died, it will be observed, the same year in which Macon County was organized, and as his fame had extended all over the United States as one of the most distinguished statesmen of the country, the county was called Macon after him." The Missouri Historical Review provides the reason for the naming of the city of Macon: "Like the county in which it is located, Macon was named in honor of Nathaniel Macon."

And Thomas Hart Benton, another great statesman, summed it up in 1856 when he addressed a crowd at Old Bloomington saying, "Citizens, Macon County was named for one of the most distinguished statesmen this country ever produced. You should be proud of that name."

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Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Macon, Missouri at the Macon, MO Sesquicentennial Celebration!