ARTHUR PENDLETON BAGBY was born in Louisa County, Virginia, in 1794, to James and Mary Bagby. He received a liberal education, and settled in Alabama in 1818. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1819, and gained a reputation as a criminal lawyer. He served in the Alabama House of Representatives in 1821, 1822, 1824, and from 1834 to 1836, serving as speaker in 1822 and 1836. He also served in the Alabama Senate in 1825. Bagby was elected Alabama’s 10th governor on August 7, 1837, and was sworn into office on November 30, 1837. During his term, he was faced with great financial worries, a disastrous drought, and the Panic of 1837, which crippled Alabama’s economy. Also during his tenure, the chancery court system was reorganized, the imprisonment for debt was abolished, and Judson College opened. Bagby’s administration also dealt with two different Indian problems. The Cherokees were removed from Alabama to new homes in the West, and the Choctaws relinquished all their land east of the Mississippi to Alabama, which resulted in retaliation and raids on the white settlements in south Alabama. Bagby ran for a second term and was reelected on August 5, 1839. He left office on November 22, 1841, and was later appointed to the U.S. Senate, where he served until 1846. He also served as the U.S. Minister to Russia from 1846 to 1849. After returning to Alabama, he was appointed to the committee to codify the state statutes. In 1856, he moved to Mobile and died on September 21, 1858, of yellow fever. He is buried at Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.