Walter Leake, the third governor of Mississippi, was born in Albemarle County, Virginia on May 25, 1762. He studied law, was admitted to the bar, and then established his legal career in Hinds County, Mississippi. In 1807, he secured an appointment to serve as the chief judge of the Mississippi Territory. Leake first entered politics in 1817, serving as a member of the U.S. Senate, a position he held until 1821. He also served as a member of the 1817 Mississippi Constitutional Convention, and was a justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court from 1821 to 1822. Leake next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on August 6, 1821. He was reelected to a second term in 1823. During his tenure, the debt imprisonment law was eliminated; the state’s road system was advanced; two new counties were formed; and construction on the new state house in Jackson had started. During his second term, Leake became ill and passed away on November 17, 1825. He was buried at his home in Mount Salus, near Clinton, 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.