Remembering Rosalynn Carter’s connection to Stanly County

Published 5:28 pm Sunday, November 19, 2023

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Rosalynn Carter, wife of former president Jimmy Carter, died Sunday at age 96.

The former first lady stayed in Stanly County at least one time.

“When they were campaigning, Rosalynn stayed here at the house,” Amelia Fort Bell told The Stanly News & Press in October 2019, upon her father’s death.

Bell’s parents, Davis and Daisy Fort of Albemarle, became friends with the Carters as Davis was a delegate to the 1976 Democratic National Convention. Davis had known the future president as they both grew up in Georgia and were competitors in the peanut business.

A plaque decreeing that a member of the Carter family stayed at the Fort house is among the families treasured items from that time.

“When Rosalynn was here, she wanted to meet as many people as she could, go as many places,” Bell said.

Her trip to Albemarle was captured in a March 19, 1976 front page story of The Stanly News & Press. She addressed a gathering at the Stanly County Courthouse. She also met with a group for a prayer breakfast.

She said when the couple made it to The White House, the local church group would be invited for breakfast there, Bell said. The Carters kept their word, as a group chartered a plane to Washington, D.C. to meet with them. However, the meal was of fried chicken, cole slaw and banana pudding.

The Forts also attended an inaugural ball for the president.

President Carter, who has been in hospice care since March, is the oldest living former president and the longest-lived president. He celebrated his 99th birthday last month.