Robert Brodnax Glenn

45th Governor of the State of North Carolina - 1905 to 1909

Date Born: August 11, 1854

Date Died: May 16, 1920

Place Born: Rockingham County, NC

Place Buried: Winston-Salem, NC

Residence: Winston-Salem, NC

Occupation: Lawyer


Robert Brodnax Glenn was born on August 11, 1854 near Sauratown in Rockingham County, NC, the son of Chalmers L. Glenn and Annie Sarah (Dodge) Glenn. He graduated from Davidson College in 1874, then attended the University of Virginia law school for a year then studied law under Chief Justice Richmond Mumford Pearson.

In 1877, Robert Brodnax Glenn began practicing law in Stokes County.

On January 8, 1878, Robert Brodnax Glenn married Cornelia "Nina" Deaderick, daughter of John Franklin Deaderick and Rebecca (Williams) Deaderick of Knoxville, TN; they had two known children.

In 1880, Robert Brodnax Glenn was elected to represent Stokes County in the NC House of Representatives of the:
- 84th General Assembly that met in 1881

In 1885 , Robert Brodnax Glenn moved his law practice to the larger town of Winston (which merged with Salem in 1899) in Forsyth County, where he joined the law firm of Glenn, Manly & Henderson, a predecessor firm to the modern-day Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice PLLC.

In 1885, Robert Brodnax Glenn became Prosecuting Attorney for the NC 9th District.

From 1890 to 1893, Robert Brodnax Glenn served in the Forsyth Rifles of the State Guard.

From 1893 until 1897, Robert Brodnax Glenn served as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

In 1898, Robert Brodnax Glenn was elected as one of two men to represent the 26th NC Senate District (Davidson County, Forsyth County, Rowan County), in the NC Senate of the:
- 93rd General Assembly that met in 1899

In the 1904 general election, Robert Brodnax Glenn was elected by the people as the next Governor of North Carolina. He served one term from January 11, 1905 to January 12, 1909. Gov. Glenn was most notably known for his strong opposition to alcohol and it was largely due to his influence in 1908 that North Carolina approved prohibition. Although Gov. Glenn was known primarily as the “prohibition governor,” under his watch the state’s construction bonds were paid off, lynching was eliminated, and he sought increased funds for public health.

Upon leaving the office of the governor in 1909, Robert Brodnax Glenn returned to his legal practice in Winston-Salem, representing clients such as Western Union and Southern Railway. In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson, who had attended Davidson College with Glenn, appointed him to serve on the International Boundary Commission, charged with negotiating matters between the United States and Canada.

Robert Brodnax Glenn died on a trip to Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada on May 16, 1920. He was later buried at Salem Cemetery in Winston-Salem, NC.


Robert Brodnax Glenn (16 August 1860 – 9 June 1925) was the Democratic governor of the state of North Carolina from 1905 to 1909.

Glenn was a resident of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and a lawyer with the law firm of Glenn, Manly & Henderson, a predecessor firm to the modern-day Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC. It was precisely one century until another Winston-Salem resident was elected to statewide office (when Richard Burr was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004).

Glenn was known as the "Prohibition Governor" for his successful 1908 campaign to ban liquor statewide. Glenn was also interested in conservation, as evidenced by his remark at the National Governors Association meeting of 1908: "our forests are being denuded...the failure of the People throughout the States to protect the great forest industry of our country...is one of the chief sources if not the greatest source of all [natural resource waste]...Our People, regardless of the future, have been living only for the present, thinking of themselves and not of their children and their children's children."

In 1906, a mob in Salisbury, North Carolina lynched three black men who were accused of murdering a white family. Governor Glenn was so outraged by the lynching that he ordered three companies of state militia to the scene and went there himself. Eventually, the lynch mob leader was tried and sentenced to fifteen years in prison, the first such conviction for lynching in North Carolina history.


Robert Brodnax Glenn, governor of North Carolina, was born in Yadkin County, NC on August 11, 1854. His education was attained at Davidson College, at the University of Virginia, and at Judge Richmond Pearson Law School. After he established his legal career, Glenn entered into politics. He served as a member of the NC House of Representatives in 1880; and was a presidential elector in 1884 and 1892. He also served as the district solicitor in 1886, was the U.S. attorney in 1892; and served in the NC State Senate in 1898. Glenn next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in the 1904 general election. During his tenure, the state’s construction bonds were paid off; lynching was eliminated; railroad rates were cut; and prohibition policies were promoted. After completing his term, Glenn returned to his legal practice. In 1920, he secured an appointment to serve on the International Boundary Commission. Robert B. Glenn passed away on May 16, 1920, and was buried somewhere in Winston-Salem, NC.

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