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Burke, Thomas (1744-1783)

Born in Ireland in 1747, Thomas Burke protested the Stamp Act, served in the North Carolina provincial congresses, at the Halifax Convention, and at the Continental Congress, and served as Governor of North Carolina.  His perseverance at the Continental Congress was instrumental for the inclusion of Article II in the Articles of Confederation.  If he had lived, Burke undoubtedly would have been an Antifederalist during the ratification debates and a formidable intellectual foe for James Iredell.

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Scott, William Kerr

William Kerr Scott, from Alamance County was the governor of North Carolina from 1949-1953. As the first farmer-governor of the Tar Heel State since 1892, Scott spearheaded agriculture issues and emphasized building roads and expanding electricity into rural North Carolina. 

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Manly, Charles (1795-1871)

A one-term governor, Charles Manly was the last Whig to hold the office (1849-1851).  He earned a reputation for maintaining his Whig predecessor’s initiatives. He is more famous for his debates with David Settle Reid during the 1848 gubernatorial campaign in which he disapproved of broadening manhood suffrage. 

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Richard Caswell

Richard Caswell was not only one of the first of delegates chosen to represent North Carolina at the first Continental Congress but he was also the first and fifth governor of the Tar Heel State.

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Brookings Plan

The Brookings Plan was a collection of reforms proposed by the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C. think tank. Searching for economic solutions to the state’s financial problems, Governor O. Max Gardner commissioned the plan shortly after the onset of the Great Depression.

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Owen, John (1787-1841)

John Owen served two, one-year terms as a North Carolina governor, after he had served in the House of Commons, as a state senator, and on the Council of State.  He is known for being an advocate for primary public education and internal improvements and for warning against what he considered abolitionist attempts to spark civil unrest.  He is the brother of James Owen, slaveowner of Omar Ibn Said, author of the only known American slave narrative written in Arabic.

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Spaight, Jr., Richard Dobbs (1796-1850)

A lawyer and the last governor elected by the General Assembly, Richard Dobbs Spaight, Jr., served as the chief executive of North Carolina for one term (1835-1836).  Before then he had served as a state legislator and U.S. Congressman, and afterward he practiced law in New Bern.  Many of his cases were pro bono.

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Spaight, Sr., Richard Dobbs (1758-1802)

A New Bern native and father of North Carolina Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight, Jr., Spaight was a leading Federalist delegate to the Constitutional Convention and governor of North Carolina from 1792 to 1795.  He later allied with Jeffersonian Republicanism after disagreeing with Federalist support for the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798).