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Robert Gregg Cherry is Born

Today in Masonic History Robert Gregg Cherry is born in 1891.

Robert Gregg Cherry was an American politician.

Cherry was born on October 17th, 1891 in York County, South Carolina. After his parents passed away, he grew up in Gastonia, North Carolina where he lived with relatives. He received a Bachelors degree in 1912 from Trinity College, now Duke University. He went on to a law degree from Trinity as well in 1914.

Cherry served during World War I where he led a volunteer machine gun troop and that he organized. He remained in the National Guard after World War I, serving until 1924.

After World War I, Cherry returned home in 1919 to discover that some of his friends had nominated him for Mayor of Gastonia. He won the election and was reelected as Mayor in 1921. In 1931 a political ally of Cherry, Willis Smith, was looking for supporters in the North Carolina House of Representatives, to support Smith's bid for Speaker of the House. Smith convinced Cherry to run and Cherry won the election. Cherry was reelected every two years until 1939. In 1937, Cherry himself was elected Speaker of the House. In 1941 Cherry ran successfully for the North Carolina State Senate.

In 1944, Cherry was elected as the 61st Governor of North Carolina. Cherry inherited an economy that was struggling due to World War II. He focused on the economy and mental health issues in the state spending $12 Million in state and federal money. He also worked on education, raising teacher salaries 83% and at the same time reducing teacher student ratios. In 1948, Cherry broke with other Southern Democratic Governors and supported President Harry S. Truman for reelection. Cherry served one four year term in office which was all that was allowed at the time in North Carolina.

After leaving office Cherry retired from politics and returned to his law practice. It was joked in Gastonia that he was the best lawyer in town when sober, and the second-best lawyer in town when drunk.

Cherry passed away on June 25th, 1957.

Cherry was a member of Gastonia Lodge No. 369 in Gastonia, North Carolina.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.