828.448.6195 ndaniel@wpcc.edu

About Samuel James Ervin, Jr.

Photo of Sm Ervin in the 1950s.Here is a brief biography of Sam Ervin.

General Information

  • Born September 27, 1896 in Morganton, North Carolina, the son of Laura Theresa (Powe) and Samuel James Ervin.
  • Member, First Presbyterian Church of Morganton, where he served as Deacon and Elder.
  • Married Margaret Bruce Bell on June 18, 1924.
  • Children: Samuel James Ervin III, Leslie Ervin (now Mrs. Gerald M. Hansler) and Laura Ervin (now Mrs. William E. Smith).


Military Service

  • World War I: First Division, U.S. Army as Lieutenant and infantryman at Cantigny and Soissons
  • Awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, and two Purple Hearts


  • Member, Dialectic Society, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Paul White Award, Radio Television Digital News Association (1972)

Public Service

  • Admitted to North Carolina Bar (1919)
  • Practiced Law in Burke County (1922-1985)
  • Representative, North Carolina General Assembly (elected 1922, 1924, and 1930)
  • Judge, Burke County Criminal Court (1935-1937)
  • Judge, North Carolina Superior Court (1937-1943)
  • Representative, United States House of Representatives (1946-1947)
  • Associate Justice, North Carolina Supreme Court (1948-1954)
  • Senator, United States Senate (1954-1974)
    • Chair,¬†Committee on Government Operations
    • Chair,¬†Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (a.k.a. The Watergate Committee)
  • Author of a number of books, including
    • ¬†Humor of a Country Lawyer
    • Preserving the Constitution: The Autobiography of Senator Sam Ervin
    • The Whole Truth: Watergate