When the constitutional convention met in July of 1817 to draft Mississippi’s first constitution, David Holmes was named president of the convention and was subsequently elected without opposition as the state’s first governor.
A contemporary historian wrote that the history of George Poindexter’s public career is “the history of the Territory and the State of Mississippi, so closely and prominently was he connected with everything that occurred.”
Although his term began January 7, 1822, Governor Leake did not deliver his inaugural address until June 24 because the capital city was being relocated from Natchez. When he finally gave his address, the capital was temporarily situated at Columbia in Marion County.
Gerard C. Brandon was the first native Mississippian to be elected governor. He also held the office longer than any other governor before the American Civil War.
Abram Scott was involved in two of the three closest elections for governor in Mississippi’s history. In 1831 he defeated Hiram G. Runnels by 247 votes, and two years later he lost to Runnels by 558 votes.
Charles Lynch migrated to Mississippi from his native South Carolina, where he was born in 1783. Lynch is one of the few governors of Mississippi who held office in all three branches of state government.
Hiram Runnels lost the office of governor and won the office of governor by the narrowest margins in Mississippi’s history. In 1831 he lost by 247 votes and in 1833 he won by 558 votes, but then lost again in 1835 by 426 votes.
John Anthony Quitman was born in New York on September 1, 1798. He migrated to Natchez, Mississippi, in 1821 by way of Ohio, where he had studied law and taught school.
When Alexander G. McNutt was inaugurated governor in January 1838, Mississippi was entering a period of severe economic depression that lasted through both of his two terms.
Governor Tilghman Tucker and his wife, Sarah F. McBee, were the first residents of the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion and because of the formal opening of the mansion, his inauguration on January 10, 1842, was especially festive. But Governor Tucker was a plain man of simple tastes.
Governor Albert Gallatin Brown was Mississippi’s youngest and perhaps its most popular antebellum governor.
Governor Joseph W. Matthews was a plain and unlettered frontiersman who lacked the flair for oratory which Mississippians expected from their statesmen. During the 1847 governor’s race, Matthews, a Democrat and surveyor by trade, was jeered by the aristocratic Whigs.
On February 3, 1851, Union authorities arrested Governor John A. Quitman in Jackson and took him to New Orleans to be arraigned for violating American neutrality laws in relation to his dealings with Cuban insurgents.
After Governor John Isaac Guion vacated the office of governor November 4, 1851, Mississippi was without a chief executive for twenty days.
During the United States sectional crisis of 1850, which was precipitated by California’s petition for statehood as a free state, U. S. Senator Henry Stuart Foote of Mississippi and Daniel Webster of Massachusetts joined with U. S.
Governor John Jones Pettus has the distinction of serving the shortest term of governor in the state’s history. He served for five days between the resignation of Henry Foote on January 5 and the inauguration of his successor, John J. McRae, on January 10, 1854.
Known to his friends and followers as “Johnny McRae of Chickasawhay,” Governor John J. McRae sailed his steamer Triumph up and down the Chickasawhay River “as if it were the Mississippi itself.” McRae was a folk hero and was extremely popular with the people of Mississippi.
William McWillie migrated to Mississippi from South Carolina, but, unlike most other antebellum Mississippians who migrated to the state, he did not come during his early childhood. McWillie moved to Mississippi during his middle years after a successful banking career in Camden, South Carolina.
Governor Charles Clark has the distinction of being one of the three governors of Mississippi to be arrested and imprisoned. The other two are John Quitman and Theodore Bilbo.
Following the arrest and imprisonment of Governor Charles Clark, Mississippi was for the third time without a chief executive.
For five years after the Civil War, both martial law and civil authority existed concurrently in Mississippi. That phenomenon created a constitutional entanglement that scholars have yet to unravel.
When Governor Benjamin G. Humphreys was removed from office June 15, 1868, President Andrew Johnson appointed Adelbert Ames provisional governor of Mississippi.
James L. Alcorn was Mississippi’s first elected Republican governor. Alcorn had previously served in the state legislature of Kentucky and Mississippi, and had risen to the rank of general in the Confederate military service during the Civil War.
When Colonel Ridgley C. Powers was discharged from the United States Army in December 1865, he decided to remain in Mississippi rather than return to his native state of Ohio. He purchased some land in Noxubee County near Shuqualak and soon became a successful planter.
In July 1894, Governor John Marshall Stone, who was inaugurated as governor on three separate occasions, and served as governor longer than any other man in Mississippi history, was arrested by Secret Service agents for counterfeiting the currency of the United States.