From the McDowell News

The 175th anniversary celebration of McDowell County and Marion continues Tuesday with some special events recognizing some noteworthy natives and historic homes.

At noon Tuesday, the McDowell County Bar Association will gather in the second-floor Superior Courtroom inside the McDowell County Courthouse. There, local attorneys and other members of the legal profession will dedicate a plaque honoring five natives of McDowell who served on the state’s highest courts.

The special plaque will honor:

• Justice James Will Pless Jr., who for many years was a lawyer in Marion and was a Superior Court judge from 1934 to 1966. From 1966 to 1968, he was an associate justice of the N.C. Supreme Court. He died in 1985.

• Chief Justice John Wallace Winborne, who many years practiced law in Marion and also served as a town alderman. In 1937, he was appointed to be an associate justice with the N.C. Supreme Court and served in that role until 1956. That year, Winborne was chosen to be the chief justice of the state’s highest court and he held that office until his retirement in 1962. He died in 1966.

• Judge Richard C. Erwin, who was appointed to the N.C. Court of Appeals in 1977 and a year later became the first African-American ever in the history of the state of North Carolina to be elected to statewide office. Erwin was also the first African-American to be appointed to a federal judicial position in the history of the state. He died in 2006.

• Judge Linda Mace McGee, who is now the chief judge of the N.C. Court of Appeals. McGee was appointed to the state Court of Appeals in 1995. She elected to eight-year terms in 1996, 2004 and 2014. In 2014, she was appointed to be the chief judge of the state appellate court by Chief Justice Sarah Parker.

• Judge Robert C. “Bob” Hunter, who worked as a practicing attorney in Marion and served in the N.C. House of Representatives from 1980 to 1998. He was appointed in 1998 to the state Court of Appeals, and he was elected to an eight-year term on the court that same year. Hunter announced in 2013 he would retire at the end of his term rather than seek re-election in 2014. He continues to stay active with civic organizations and events.

On that same day, a bus tour of historic homes of Marion will occur.

The bus tour begins at 6 p.m. and will be limited to 30 people. It will leave from the Marion City Hall and should last an hour and 15 minutes.

To register, go to the link on the McDowell 175 Web site. The bus tour will point out the historically significant homes of Marion’s founders and business leaders as well as information on the architecture. Participants will see the homes from the bus and won't go inside. A second tour may be provided if additional interest is expressed, according to organizer Chuck Abernathy.

Other events later in the week include historical re-enactors, a music festival and a new play making its debut at the Carson House.

Court Categories: Court of Appeals District Court Superior Court Supreme Court