JOSHUA LANIER MARTIN, Alabama’s 12th governor, was born on December 5, 1799, in Blount County, Tennessee. He attended country schools, and he moved to Alabama in 1819 to continue his law studies. Martin was admitted to the bar and started a private law practice in Athens, Alabama. He entered politics in 1822 as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives, and he served as a state representative, except for one year, until 1828. Martin also served as solicitor of the fourth judicial circuit from 1829 to 1834, circuit court judge in 1834, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1835 to 1839, and chancellor of the state’s middle chancery division in 1841. In 1845 he opposed other democratic leaders on the question of the state’s credit and announced himself as an independent candidate for governor. Martin was elected Governor of Alabama on August 4, 1845, and was sworn into office on December 10, 1845. During his term, a commission to dissolve the state bank was formed, the state capital moved from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery, the Alabama Medical Association was founded, and the United States declared war on Mexico. Martin left office on December 16, 1847, and returned to his law practice in Tuscaloosa. His last public office was in the Alabama House of Representatives in 1853. Martin died on November 2, 1856, and is buried at the Evergreen Cemetery in Tuscaloosa, 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.