Hutchins Gordon Burton

19th Governor of the State of North Carolina - 1824 to 1827

Date Born: 1774 or 1782

Date Died: April 21, 1836

Place Born: Mecklenburg County, VA

Place Buried: Unity Church Cemetery, Lincoln County, NC

Residence: Charlotte, NC, Halifax, NC

Occupation: Lawyer


Hutchins Gordon Burton was born circa 1774 or 1782 in Mecklenburg County, VA, the son of John Burton and Mary (Gordon) Burton. After his father died while he was young (about the age of three), he was sent to live with his uncle, Robert Burton, in Granville (now Vance) County, NC. After attending an academy at Williamsborough he was enrolled at the University of North Carolina from 1795 to 1798. Later he read law under Judge Leonard Henderson and was admitted to the bar in Charlotte in 1806

In 1809, Hutchins Gordon Burton was first elected as one of two men to represent Mecklenburg County in the NC House of Representatives of the:
- 34th General Assembly that met in 1809
- 35th General Assembly that met in 1810

In 1810, the General Assembly elected Hutchins Gordon Burton as the state's Attorney General, a post he retained until he resigned in 1816.

In 1812, Hutchins Gordon Burton married Sarah "Sallie" Welsh Jones, daughter of Willie Jones and Mary Elizabeth (Montfort) Jones of Halifax, NC. They had eight known children.

In 1817, Hutchins Gordon Burton moved to Halifax, NC, the home of his wife's family, and set up his law practice there. On August 14, 1817, he was elected to represent the town of Halifax in the NC House of Representatives of the:
- 42nd General Assembly that met in 1817

On August 12, 1819, Hutchins Gordon Burton was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served from December 6, 1819 until his resignation on March 23, 1824. Burton received important committee assignments in Congress; during the first session he was on the Post Office and Post Roads Committee, during the second on Military Affairs, and later on the Judiciary and Roads and Canals committees. He was a strict constructionist, and his votes generally showed opposition to any extension of federal power.

In 1824, the General Assembly elected Hutchins Gordon Burton as the next Governor of North Carolina. He served three successive terms from December 7, 1824 to December 8, 1827. Gov. Hutchins Gordon Burton supported both internal improvements and public education. The first real step toward free education in North Carolina was taken in 1826 with the passage of the Literary Fund Bill, creating a fund for the support of common schools and a board to administer the fund. A serious setback to the cause of education occurred, however, when state Treasurer John Haywood died in 1827 and the state treasury was found to be practically empty.

During his term, Gov. Burton denounced northern abolitionists for agitating the slave question and supported passage of a law to keep free blacks out of the state. Gov. Burton was host to many interesting visitors to Raleigh, including General Lafayette in 1825 and New York Senator Martin Van Buren in 1827. In 1825 and 1826, Burton was also Grand Master of Masons in North Carolina.

In 1826, President John Quincy Adams nominated Hutchins Gordon Burton to be territorial governor of Arkansas, but the nomination was never confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

In the 1830s, Hutchins Gordon Burton bought land in Texas and made plans to move there. He started a trip to inspect his western interests in the spring of 1836 but died suddenly at Wayside Inn on April 21, 1836, between Salisbury and Lincolnton, and was buried in the Unity Church yard at Beattie's Ford in Lincoln County, NC.


Hutchins Gordon Burton (1774 -- 21 April 1836) was the governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina from 1824 to 1827. Some sources indicate that he was not affiliated with any party at the time, although he was associated, according to other sources, with the Federalist Party and later with the National Republican Party.

Born in Virginia, Burton was sent to Granville County, North Carolina to live with his uncle, Revolutionary War Colonel and politician Robert Burton, when his father died. Young Burton went on to practice law, serve in the North Carolina General Assembly, and be elected by that body as North Carolina Attorney General. He served as Attorney General from 1810 until his resignation in 1816.

Burton moved to Halifax Town in 1817 and practiced law. He was elected to the state House of Commons on August 14, 1817 and served a single one-year term. On August 12, 1819, Burton was elected to the United States House of Representatives for the term 1819-1821. He was supported both by the Federalists, who were strong in Halifax Town, and also by the Democratic-Republican Party. Burton was re-elected in 1821 and 1823. He resigned from Congress on March 23, 1824.

The North Carolina state legislature elected Burton the Governor of the state in 1824 and re-elected him in 1825 and 1826. During his term, President John Quincy Adams appointed him governor of Arkansas, but Burton was not confirmed by the Senate.

Burton died in 1836 while visiting relatives in Iredell County, North Carolina and is buried in Lincoln County, North Carolina.


Hutchins Gordon Burton, governor of North Carolina, was born in Virginia in 1774. His education was attained at the University of North Carolina. He went on to study law, was admitted to the bar in 1806, and then established a successful legal career. Burton first entered politics as a member of the NC House of Commons, a position he held from 1809 to 1810 and 1817 to 1819. He also served as the Attorney General of North Carolina from 1810 to 1816; and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1819 to 1824. Burton next won election to the governorship in 1824. He went on to win re-election annually until 1826. During his tenure, internal improvement projects were lobbied for; penal code revisions were recommended; and funding was secured to cover expenses during General Lafayette’s tour of the state. After leaving office, Burton was selected to serve as the territorial governor of Arkansas, however he never won confirmation. Governor Hutchins G. Burton passed away on April 21, 1832, and was buried in the Unity Churchyard, in Beattys Ford, North Carolina.

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