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Mary Elizabeth Mebane


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At a Glance

Mary was second wife of North Carolina Senator John Pool (married December 16, 1857), and as such lived in Washington DC during his tenure (1856-1858 and 1864-1865) and following when he practiced law in the capital. She inherited The Hermitage in 1855 and also lived there with John Pool; in 1867 she deeded The Hermitage to her brother Dr. Alexander Wood Mebane of Edenton. John Pool’s brother Solomon was Reconstruction President of UNC ; Solomon Pool’s wife was Cornelia Kirkland of Hillsborough. Mary is buried in an unmarked grave in Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown, Washington, D.C..


Mary Mebane’s father died when she was eleven, and her mother died when she was nineteen. In a letter to Fanny Burwell, January 19, 1856, Mrs. Burwell wrote, “…Molly Mebane’s mother is dead, died of cancer about a month after Mollie left here. She left Mollie that place & everything in the house & on the farm just as it stands—I expect that Molly will soon marry.” As an heiress of wealth and property, Molly did the next year marry NC Senator John Pool, a widower whose daughter Lela was only five years old. Senator Pool launched a political campaign which took them to Washington, DC, where he represented North Carolina in Congress, and where they continued to live after his term of office. This put Mary in the nation’s capital at the same time as Elizabeth Keckley; it would be interesting to know whether Mary purchased dresses from Mrs. Keckley or even knew that Mrs. Keckley had been enslaved at the Burwell School. As John Pool’s brothers Dr. William Pool and the Rev. Solomon Pool were advocates of egalitarianism, it is imaginable that Mary would have been supportive of Mrs. Keckley had she known. In addition to Lela, Mary and John Pool had a son, also named John Pool. Mary deeded her inherited North Carolina property to her brother; her immediate family continued to live and work in Washington, DC, and family burials are in the cemetery in Georgetown.

Biographical Data

Mary was called Mollie.

Important Dates

Mary Elizabeth Mebane was born in 1836, in Hillsborough, NC. She died October 18, 1873, infection. Mary Elizabeth Mebane Pool; information from descendant Robert Pool [1]

Places of Residence

Schools Attended

  • Burwell School, from the 1850s . Mary Mebane attended the Burwell School in the 1850s before her mother's death in 1855.




  2. Book of Girls; Will of Mary Raynor, 20 Oct 1854, Book II, Bertie County NC.