Home History The Simmons Machine

The Simmons Machine

by Michael Polzella
Furnifold Simmons

In politics you often have the boss, the one who works behind the scenes, to pull the levers of power. Furnifold McLendel Simmons was the big boss of North Carolina politics early in the 20th century.

Born near Pollocksville in Jones County, he later moved to New Bern to set up a law practice. Even though he served in the U.S. Senate from 1901 until 1931, he is best remembered for his power statewide. He used his influence as head of the state Democratic Party to help elect congressmen, governors, sheriffs and others.

Some called it the Simmons Machine.

Ron Smith, S&A Communications

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