JOHN BRANCH, the nineteenth governor of North Carolina, was born in Halifax, North Carolina on November 4, 1782. His education was attained at the University of North Carolina, where he graduated in 1801. He went on to study law, however he never practiced. Branch first entered politics as a member of the North Carolina Senate, a position he held from 1811 to 1817. He also served as senate speaker from 1815 to 1817. Branch next won election to the governorship in 1817. He went on to win reelection annually until 1819. During his tenure, educational improvements were promoted; and court reform was implemented which established the state’s supreme court. After leaving the governor’s office, Branch won reelection to the state senate in 1822. From 1823 to 1829 he served in the U.S. Senate; and from 1829 to 1831 he served in President Andrew Jackson’s cabinet as secretary of the navy. Branch also served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1831 to 1833; and was a member of the 1835 State Constitutional Convention. In his last political position, he served as territorial governor of Florida, an office he held from 1844 to 1845. Governor John Branch passed away on January 3, 1863, and was buried in the family cemetery on his Enfield estate.
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.