JAMES L. ALCORN, the twenty-eighth governor of Mississippi, was born near Golconda, Illinois on November 4, 1816. His education was attained at Cumberland College in Kentucky. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1844, and then established his legal career in Delta, Mississippi. Alcorn first entered politics in 1843, as a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives. He also served in the Mississippi House of Representatives in 1846, 1856 and 1865, and was a member of the Mississippi State Senate from 1848 to 1854. He was instrumental in founding the Mississippi levee system and served as the levee board president in 1858. Alcorn next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in 1869. During his tenure, the Alcorn University was founded; a state board of education was established; a corporation tax exemption bill was sanctioned; a public school system was formed; and the office of state superintendent of schools was created. Alcorn resigned from the governor's office on November 30, 1871, to take his seat in the U.S. Senate. He served in his senatorial seat from December 1, 1871 until March 3, 1877, when he then retired from public service. Governor James L. Alcorn passed away on December 19, 1894, and was buried in the family graveyard on his plantation "Eagle Nest" in Coahoma County, Mississippi.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.