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John Motley Morehead
North Carolina

Gov. John Motley Morehead

  • January 1, 1841 - January 1, 1845
  • Whig
  • July 4, 1796
  • August 27, 1866
  • Virginia
  • University of North Carolina
  • Married Ann Eliza Lindsay; eight children


JOHN M. MOREHEAD, the twenty-ninth governor of North Carolina, was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia on July 4, 1796. His education was attained at the University of North Carolina, where he earned an undergraduate degree in 1817, as well as receiving an A.M. degree in 1837. He went on to study law, and then established his legal career in Wentworth. Morehead first entered politics as a member of the North Carolina House of Commons, a position he held from 1821 to 1822 and 1826 to 1828. He also served as a member of the 1835 North Carolina State Constitutional Convention. Morehead next secured the Whig gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in 1840. He was reelected to a second term in 1842. During his tenure, railroad development was advanced; a state home for the handicapped was founded; and improvements in the state school system were lobbied for. After completing his term, Morehead continued to stay active in politics. He chaired the 1848 National Whig Convention; was a member of the North Carolina House of Commons from 1858 to 1859; and served in the North Carolina Senate from 1860 to 1861. He also was a state representative at the 1861 Peace Conference in Washington; and served in the Provisional Congress from 1861 to 1862. Governor John M. Morehead passed away on August 27, 1866, and was buried in the First Presbyterian Churchyard in Greensboro, North Carolina.


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.

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