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Samuel Ashe
North Carolina

Gov. Samuel Ashe

  • November 19, 1795 - December 7, 1798
  • Republican
  • March 24, 1725
  • February 3, 1813
  • North Carolina
  • Queens College, Princeton University
  • Married twice—Mary Port, Elizabeth Merrik; four children
  • Army


SAMUEL ASHE was born near Beaufort, North Carolina on March 24, 1725. After the death of his parents, he was sent north, where his early education was attained. He went on to study law, and then established a successful legal career, serving as the assistant attorney for the Crown in the Wilmington district. Ashe first entered politics as an active supporter of independence, and consequently became involved in North Carolina’s first revolutionary convention that was held in 1775. From 1775 to 1778 he served in the Provincial Congress; and in 1776 he served in the Halifax Congress. Ashe served as lieutenant and paymaster of the First North Carolina Continental Regiment from September 1775 until he resigned on April 16, 1776. He later served as a captain of the First Troop of North Carolina Continental Dragoon Regiment from March 1777 until the regiment was disbanded on January 1, 1779. He was a member and speaker of the North Carolina Senate in 1776; and served as the presiding justice of the North Carolina Superior Court from 1777 to 1795. Ashe next won election to the governorship in 1795, and went on to win reelection annually until 1797. During his tenure, court reform measures were promoted; and a land grant controversy in the comptroller’s office was dealt with. Ashe also served as trustee president for the University of North Carolina. After leaving the governorship, he later served as a member of the Electoral College, a post he held in 1804. Governor Samuel Ashe passed away on February 3, 1813, and was buried in the family cemetery at Rocky Point, North Carolina.


North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources (search keyword: Governors)

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

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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