MONTFORT STOKES, the twenty-fifth governor of North Carolina, was born in Lunenburg County Virginia on March 12, 1762. Stokes had a long and distinguished military career that started with his enlistment in the U.S. Merchant Marines at the age of thirteen. He later served in the Revolutionary War, as well as in the War of 1812. He also served two years as captain of cavalry; and was major general of the North Carolina state militia from 1804 to 1816. He eventually settled in Halifax, North Carolina, where he became a planter and studied law. Stokes first entered politics as assistant clerk of the North Carolina Senate, a position he held from 1786 to 1790. He served as clerk of the Rowan Superior Court in 1790; was clerk of the North Carolina Senate from 1799 to 1816; and served as justice of the peace in 1811. He also served in the U.S. Senate from 1816 to 1823; was a member of the North Carolina Senate from 1826 to 1827; and served in the North Carolina House of Commons from 1829 to 1831. Stokes next won election to the governorship in 1830. He went on to win reelection to a second term in 1831. During his tenure, canal construction was advanced; and President Jackson’s anti-nullification stance was endorsed. Stokes resigned from office on November 19, 1832. He then secured an appointment to serve as chairman of the Federal Indian Commission, a post he held ten years, and from which he supervised the relocation of southern Indians west of the Mississippi. Governor Montfort Stokes passed away on November 4, 1842, and was buried in the Fort Gibson Cemetery in Oklahoma.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction