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Favored by Fortune

George W. Watts and the Hills of Durham

By Howard E. Covington Jr.

Favored by Fortune

448 pp., 6 x 9.25, 60 illus., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-6523-1
    Published: November 2011

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Distributed for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library

In this collective biography spanning four generations, Howard Covington explores how one prestigious family shaped the development of Piedmont North Carolina, particularly the city of Durham. Covington examines the lives and legacies of George Washington Watts; his son-in-law, John Sprunt Hill; and Hill's son, George Watts Hill, and grandson, George Watts Hill Jr., analyzing the personalities, beliefs, relationships, and life forces that propelled these four men to become leading figures of their generations.

Perhaps best known for such family businesses as Central Carolina Bank, the Carolina Inn, and Watts Hospital, and for their partnership in the American Tobacco Company, Watts and the Hills were also advocates for education, fair banking, credit unions, and health insurance. Active in both local and statewide politics, they worked for major infrastructure changes, including a better highway system and the development of Research Triangle Park, and all left lasting legacies.

Originally published in 2004.

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About the Author

Howard E. Covington Jr., of Greensboro, North Carolina, is a prize-winning journalist, author or coauthor of more than a dozen histories and biographies, and coeditor of The North Carolina Century: Tar Heels Who Made a Difference, 1900-2000.
For more information about Howard E. Covington Jr., visit the Author Page.


"Thorough, informative, and engaging. . . . A valuable account of a family notably constructive by social and economic measures, one unique in its positive impact on its community, state, and time."--North Carolina Historical Review