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Israel Pickens

Gov. Israel Pickens

  • November 9, 1821 - November 25, 1825
  • Democratic-Republican
  • January 30, 1780
  • April 24, 1827
  • North Carolina
  • Washington College, Pennsylvania
  • Married Martha Orilla Lenoir; three children
  • Representative, Senator


ISRAEL PICKENS, Alabama’s third governor, was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, to Captain Samuel Pickens and Jane Carrigan Pickens. He received his education partly in South Carolina, but mainly at a school in Irdell County, North Carolina. He finished his studies at Washington College, Pennsylvania, where he completed his law education. He was admitted to the North Carolina Bar and practiced law there. Pickens served in the North Carolina Senate (1808-1810), and represented North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives (1811-1817). Pickens moved to Alabama in 1817, settled at St. Stephens, and held the post of registrar of the land office until 1821. He also served as a member of the Alabama Constitutional Convention in 1819. The 1821 gubernatorial election was a battle between the “Georgia Faction” and the “North Carolina Faction,” with state banking as a main issue. Pickens, who represented the “North Carolina Faction,” won the election by popular vote on August 6, 1821, and he was inaugurated on November 9, 1821. During his tenure, the organization of the new state government was finally completed, and in 1824 a state bank was organized with approximately $200,000 in capital. A survey for a possible canal at Muscle Shoals was also ordered. Pickens won reelection on August 4, 1823, and served a second term. Pickens left office on November 25, 1825, and was appointed to the U.S. Senate. Due to his declining health, Pickens served only a short time in the senate (February17, 1826, to November 27, 1826). He retired to Cuba where he died on April 24, 1827, and was buried in Matanzas, Cuba. His remains were later moved to the Pickens homestead in Greensboro, Alabama. Besides his political accomplishments, Pickens was very interested in scientific research and he invented a lunar dial.


18th Century History

Alabama Department of Archives and History

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Ct; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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