James Iredell, Jr. (1788-1853)
James Iredell, Jr. was born in Edenton, North Carolina on November 2, 1788, to his parents James and Hannah Iredell. His father, James Iredell, Sr., the namesake of Iredell County, was a prominent Federalist leader during the ratification debates and then later became one of the first justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.
James Iredell, Jr. was ten years old when his father died and consequently spent the majority of his adolescent years with his uncle, North Carolina Governor Samuel Johnston. Iredell attended Edenton Academy and then graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1806. Iredell returned to North Carolina, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1809. He married Frances Tredwell of Edenton and together they had seven children.
Before becoming governor, Iredell served in the militia and held prior political office. He commanded a company of volunteers during the War of 1812 and served as a Brigadier General in the North Carolina militia. Following the war, Iredell was elected to represent Edenton in the N.C. House of Commons. He served in the House from 1816 to 1820 and again from 1823to 1827. For the majority of his terms, the Edenton native was either Speaker or the Speaker pro tempore.
In 1827, Iredell became the twenty-third governor of North Carolina but resigned a year later to fill the North Carolina Senate seat vacated by Nathaniel Macon. Due to his short gubernatorial term, Iredell’s influence was limited. Although Iredell relayed the importance of improved roads and waterways during his administration, he led North Carolina when the state’s finances were meager and insufficient for one with visions of implementing internal improvement plans.
In 1828, Iredell served only one term in the U.S. Senate and then returned to Raleigh to practice law. During this time Iredell reported cases to the North Carolina Supreme Court, taught in a law school, and published an extensive digest of court cases that covered 1778 to 1845.
On April 13, 1853, James Iredell, Jr. died in Edenton and was buried in the Johnston family cemetery at the Hayes Plantation.
This story copied from NC History Project (www.northcarolinahistory.org) written with sources:
Michael Hill, ed., The Governors of North Carolina (Raleigh, 2007); Office of the Governor, Governors of North Carolina, James Iredell Jr., http://www.governor.state.nc.us/contact/governors/jamesIredellJr.aspx, (last accessed March 16, 2011).