Monday, March 22, 2010

First Impeached Governor

Governor of North Carolina; William Woods Holden on March 22nd 1871 became the first US Governor to be impeached out of office.

William Woods Holden was born November 24th 1818 near present day Eno River State Park, Orange County North Carolina. When he was sixteen he began a apprenticeship with the owner of the Hillsborough Recorder a newspaper located in Hillsborough North Carolina. By 19 Holden was working for the Raleigh Star in Raleigh North Carolina as a printer and writer, and by 1843 he owned the North Carolina Standard. Holden began his political career in 1844 when he was elected the North Carolina House of Commons.

In 1861 Holden was sent by the voters of Wake County to vote against secession at the State Convention. He joined the others in voting to seccesed when President Abraham Lincoln called for North Carolina to raise troops for the Union. Holden was a member of the North Carolina peace movement and was outspoken against the government of the Confederacy.

Holden was appointed Provisional Governor of North Carolina by President Andrew Johnson in 1865. He would be elected as a Republican to the job from 1868 to 1871. Holden hired detectives and requested military aid in 1869-70 to try to fight the Ku Klux Klan, taking a stand that most other southern governments ignored. In 1870 when the Democratic Party regained majority in North Carolina, Holden was brought up on impeachment charges around the Klan activity. He would become the first Governor in United State History to be removed from office through impeachment on March 22nd 1871.

Holden moved to Washington DC following the impeachment and became the editor of the National Republican. He would latter move back to Raleigh North Carolina and work as Post Master there. Holden died March 1st 1892.

Another web site about the subject that may of interest
William Woods Holden, 24 Nov. 1818-2 Nov. 1892

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