James Iredell, Jr.

20th Governor of the State of North Carolina - 1827 to 1828

Date Born: November 2, 1788

Date Died: April 13, 1853

Place Born: Chowan County, NC

Place Buried: Johnston Family Cemetery in Edenton, NC

Residence: Edenton, NC and Raleigh, NC

Occupation: Lawyer


James Iredell, Jr. was born on November 2, 1788 in Edenton, NC, the son of James Iredell and Hannah (Johnston) Iredell. He was ten years old when his father died and consequently spent the majority of his adolescent years with his uncle, NC Gov. Samuel Johnston. He attended Edenton Academy and then graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1806. He then returned to North Carolina, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1809.

James Iredell, Jr. commanded a company of volunteers during the War of 1812. He later served as a Brigadier General in the North Carolina Militia during 1815.

In 1813, James Iredell, Jr. was elected to represent the town of Edenton in the NC House of Commons of the:
- 38th General Assembly that met in 1813

On June 6, 1815, James Iredell, Jr. married Francis Johnston Treadwell, daughter of Samuel Treadwell and Helen Scrymgeoure (Blair) Treadwell, and they had eleven known children, ten that survived to adulthood.

In 1816, James Iredell, Jr. was again elected to represent the town of Edenton in the NC House of Commons of the:
- 41st General Assembly that met in 1816 - elected Speaker of the House after Thomas Ruffin resigned
- 42nd General Assembly that met in 1817 - elected Speaker of the House
- 43rd General Assembly that met in 1818 - elected Speaker of the House
- 44th General Assembly that met in 1819
- 45th General Assembly that met in 1820
- 48th General Assembly that met from 1823-1824
- 49th General Assembly that met from 1824-1825
- 50th General Assembly that met from 1825-1826
- 51st General Assembly that met from 1826-1827 - elected Speaker of the House after John Stanly resigned
- 52nd General Assembly that met from 1827-1828 - elected Speaker of the House

In 1827, the General Assembly elected James Iredell, Jr. as the next Governor of North Carolina, and he had to give up his seat in the House and his Speaker position. Gov. James Iredell, Jr. served one term from December 8, 1827 to December 12, 1828. During his short tenure, he pushed for better infrastructure and education. Reacting to an interest of the day—horse-drawn railroad carriages—he suggested the construction of a trial railroad from Campbellton to Fayetteville.

In 1828, James Iredell, Jr. was elected to the U.S. Senate, completing the term of Nathaniel Macon, who had resigned. He remained in office until 1831.

James Iredell, Jr. then moved to Raleigh, NC, practiced and taught law, and served as court reporter for the North Carolina Supreme Court from 1840 to 1852. He also published an extensive digest of North Carolina court cases that covered the period of 1778 to 1845.

James Iredell, Jr. died on April 13, 1853 and was buried in the Johnston family cemetery at Hayes Plantation in Edenton, NC.


James Iredell, Jr. (November 2, 1788 – April 13, 1853) was the Democratic-Republican governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina between 1827 and 1828.

Iredell was born in Chowan County, North Carolina. He was the son of well-known parents: his father, James Iredell, was a statesman and U.S. Supreme Court justice, and his mother was the sister of former Governor Samuel Johnston. In 1806, young Iredell graduated from the College of New Jersey (today Princeton University).

On his way toward political prominence, Iredell commanded a company of volunteers during the War of 1812, practiced law in Chowan County, served in the state House of Commons as a representative from Edenton, and was appointed a Superior Court judge.

During his short term as Governor, he pushed for better infrastructure and education. Reacting to an interest of the day--horse-drawn railroad carriages--he suggested the construction of a trial railroad from Campbellton to Fayetteville.

However, his brief time in office (and the inherent weaknesses of the Governor under the North Carolina Constitution) did not allow him to accomplish much. He left office after a few months to serve in the US Senate, a post he held from 1828 to 1831. He was completing the term of Nathaniel Macon, who had resigned. By that time, Iredell was a Jacksonian, or member of the Democratic Party.

Iredell did not seek to be re-elected by the state General Assembly to a full term in the Senate. He moved to Raleigh, practiced law, and served as court reporter for the North Carolina Supreme Court from 1840 to 1852. He died in Edenton and is buried there in the Johnston Burial Ground.


James Iredell, Jr., governor of North Carolina, was born in Edenton, NC on November 2, 1788. His parents passed away when he was a young child, and consequently, his uncle, former Governor Samuel Johnston raised him. His education was attained at Edenton Academy, and at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), where he graduated in 1806. He went on to study law, and then established his legal career in Edenton. During the War of 1812, he served as captain, and led a regiment of volunteers in the protection of Norfolk, VA. After his military service, he became involved in politics. In his first political office he served in the NC House of Commons, a position he held in 1813 and 1816 to 1828. He also served as Speaker of the House from 1817 to 1828; and was a Superior Court Justice in 1819. Iredell next won election to the governorship in 1827. During his tenure, educational and transportation developments were lobbied for. After leaving office, Iredell won election to the U.S. Senate, an office he held from 1828 to 1831. From 1836 to 1837 he served on the commission that revised state laws; and from 1840 to 1852 he served as reporter of the State Supreme Court. James Iredell passed away on April 13, 1853, and was buried in the Johnston burial ground on the Hayes Plantation in Edenton, NC.

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