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Alexander Martin
North Carolina

Gov. Alexander Martin

  • April 22, 1782 - May 13, 1785
    December 17, 1789 - December 14, 1792
  • Federalist
  • January 1, 1740
  • November 10, 1807
  • New Jersey
  • Newark College, Princeton University
  • Senator
  • Army


ALEXANDER MARTIN was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey in 1740. His education was attained at Newark College, and at Princeton University, where he earned an A.B. degree in 1756 and an A.M. degree in 1759. After moving to North Carolina, he studied law, and then established his legal career. He served as royal attorney, as well as serving as justice of the peace and judge. During the American Revolution, Martin served as lieutenant colonel of the 2nd North Carolina Continental Regiment, and as colonel of a Continental light infantry battalion. Accused of cowardice for his actions at the battle of Germantown, he was court-martialed but exonerated. He resigned shortly thereafter, and later served as a member of the North Carolina Board of War. Martin first entered politics as a member of the North Carolina House of Commons, a position he held from 1773 to 1774. He also served in the Provincial Congress in 1775; was a member and speaker of the North Carolina Senate from 1778 to 1782, 1785, and 1787 to 1788; and served as the acting governor of North Carolina from 1781 to 1782. Martin first won election to the governorship in 1782, and was reelected annually until 1784. Thereafter, he served as a delegate to the 1787 state convention. After the new federal constitution was adopted in 1789, Martin was again elected governor. He went on to win reelection annually until 1791. During his tenure, educational improvements were promoted; and funding was secured for the establishment of North Carolina University. After leaving office, Martin was elected to the U.S. Senate, a position he held from 1793 to 1799. In 1804, he was reelected to the North Carolina Senate, where he also served as speaker in 1805. Governor Alexander Martin, who served seventeen years as a North Carolina University trustee, passed away on November 10, 1807. He was buried on his Danbury estate in Stokes County, North Carolina.

Note: Actual month and day of birth are not known.


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

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources (search keyword: Governors)

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Recent North Carolina Governors