Charles Manly

28th Governor of the State of North Carolina - 1849 to 1850

Date Born: May 13, 1795

Date Died: May 1, 1871

Place Born: Chatham County, NC

Place Buried: City Cemetery in Raleigh, NC

Residence: Wake County, NC

Occupation: Lawyer


Charles Manly (13 May 1795 - 1 May 1871) was the Whig governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina from 1849 to 1851. After one two-year term, Manly was defeated in the 1850 election by David S. Reid, whom Manly had defeated in 1848.

The son of Basil and Elizabeth Maultsby Manly, he was born at Oak Mont, the family home near Pittsboro, NC. His early education came from black educator John Chavis, who was hired by Basil Manly to teach his sons, and at Pittsboro Academy run by William Bingham. He enrolled at UNC in 1811 and graduated with honors in 1814. While studying law in Raleigh, Manly earned a living tutoring the children of state treasurer John Haywood. He was admitted to the bar in 1816. In 1817, Manly married Charity Hare Haywood of Raleigh - they would be the parents of eleven children.

In 1823, Manly served as clerk to the commission to settle claims against the UK under the Treaty of Ghent. The following year he was appointed assistant clerk to the House of Commons, an office he held until 1830 when he was made the principal clerk. He served as the treasurer of the board of trustees for UNC from 1821 to 1849.

Manly joined the Whig Party at its formation and was the choice to succeed Governor William Alexander Graham in 1848 - narrowly defeating David S. Reid in the general election. His administration was not all that notable since most of the Whig initiatives had been started under three previous administrations.

It was Governor Manly who proclaimed the first Thanksgiving Day in North Carolina - Thursday, November 15, 1849.

After leaving the govenor's office, Manly returned to a successful law practice in Raleigh. He was again selected as the secretary-treasurer of the board of trustees for UNC in 1851 and served until the Reconstruction government took the control of the university in 1868.

Manly retired to his Ingleside Plantation, comprising over 1,000 acres east of Raleigh. In April 1865, Union troops under command of General Sherman pillaged his home and storehouses. After a long illness that had left him blind, Manly died at his plantation on May 1, 1817. His headstone in City Cemetery is inscribed with only his name and life dates.


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