John Stanly (April 9, 1774 – August 2, 1834) was a Federalist U.S. Congressman from North Carolina between 1801 and 1803 and again between 1809 and 1811. He was the father of Edward Stanly, and the grandfather of Confederate general Lewis Armistead.
Stanly, the son of John Wright Stanly, was born in New Bern, North Carolina, and educated by private tutors before attending Princeton University. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1799. After practicing law and serving as a clerk and master in equity, Stanly was elected to the North Carolina House of Commons in 1798 and 1799.
In 1800, Stanly was elected as a Federalist to the 7th United States Congress (March 4, 1801 – March 3, 1803); he served again in the 11th Congress (March 4, 1809 – March 3, 1811) before returning to the practice of law. Stanly returned to the state house for several more terms, in 1812–1815, 1818–1819, and 1823–1825. He died in New Bern in 1834 and is buried in the Cedar Grove Cemetery. He is also known for killing Richard Dobbs Spaight, a signer of the Constitution, in a famous duel in 1802. Although prosecuted for the death as a murder, he was pardoned by Gov. Benjamin Williams. As a result of the duel, North Carolina passed a strict anti-duelling law prohibiting duelists from holding public office, and listing the duel as a specific crime, as opposed to a common law offense.
Stanly County, North Carolina was formed in 1841, and named in his honor.
- Survey Planning Unit Staff (September 1972). "Cedar Grove Cemetery" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- Weeks, Stephen B. (1891). "The Code in North Carolina: Contributions to the History of the Duello". Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries. XXVI: 449.
- Weeks, Stephen B. (1891). "The Code in North Carolina: Contributions to the History of the Duello". Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries. XXVI: 443–444.
- United States Congress. "John Stanly (id: S000800)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1787-1824 For Votes cast in Federal, State and Local elections in the Early Republic.