Senator Thomas Lanier Clingman, who was born in Yadkin County in 1812, graduated at the top of his class from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served as a representative and senator, was a Whig and later a Democrat, and defeated his opponents in landslide elections. Clingman was a general during the Civil War. Clingman's Dome, one of the highest peaks in the Smoky Mountains, is named for him. He died in Morganton in 1897.