JOHN J. MCRAE, the twenty-first governor of Mississippi, was born in Sneedsboro, North Carolina on January 10, 1815. His education was attained at Miami University in Ohio, where he graduated in 1834. He studied law in Mississippi and established his legal career in Paulding. He also founded and published the Eastern Clarion, a weekly newspaper in Paulding. McRae entered politics in 1848, serving as a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, a position from which he served as speaker in 1850. He also served as a member of the U.S. Senate from 1851 to 1852. McRae next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor by a popular vote on November 7, 1853. He was reelected to a second term in 1855. During his tenure, an institution for the deaf and speechless was established, as well as the state’s first mental hospital. Also, railroad development was advanced; the levee system was improved; a new legal code was authorized; and a constitutional amendment was sanctioned that changed state elections to biennial. According to the new constitutional amendment, McRae left office on November 16, 1857. He continued to stay politically active, serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he held from 1858 to 1861. He also was a Mississippi representative in the Confederate Congress, serving from 1862 to 1864. After sailing to Belize, British Honduras to visit his brother, Governor John J. McRae passed away on May 31, 1868. He was buried somewhere in Belize.
Sobel, Robert and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.