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Warren Winslow (1810-1862)

Warren Winslow served as governor of North Carolina for only 25 days. Later, Winslow served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC.

Warren Winslow served as governor of North Carolina for only 25 days. Later, Winslow served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC.

A Fayetteville native, Winslow served as governor of North Carolina for less than a month (25 days).  According to The Governors of North Carolina, Winslow “remains one of only two governors since 1776 who was not elected either by the General Assembly or popular vote.”

The following explains how he became governor.  According to the 1835 Constitution, if a governor died or left office, the Speaker of the senate was to assume the post (the lieutenant governor position was not created until the 1868 Constitution).  Although first elected to the state senate in 1854, Winslow had a spectacular rise to Democratic Party leadership and became Speaker of the senate that year.  After being elected to a vacant U.S. Senate seat and with almost one month left in his gubernatorial term, Governor David Reid handed the gubernatorial position to Winslow on December 6, 1854.  Winslow served in this position until Thomas Bragg was inaugurated on January 1, 1855.

After serving the shortest gubernatorial term in North Carolina history, Winslow later served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1855-1861), advised Governor John Ellis (1861), and became chairman of the state’s Military and Naval Board (MNB).  Winslow’s congressional voting record reveals that he supported southern interests in economic and political matters.  As chairman of the MNB, he mistakenly estimated that the rough coastline of the Outer Banks protected coastal forts and reduced the need for manpower.   The forts quickly fell into Union hands in 1861, however, and an embarrassed Winslow shortly afterward resigned and returned to Fayetteville.  He died in 1862.


John S. Carbone, The Civil War in Coastal North Carolina (Raleigh, 2001) and Michael Hill, ed., The Governors of North Carolina (Raleigh, 2007).

By Dr. Troy L. Kickler, North Carolina History Project

See Also:

Related Categories: Governors, Political History
Related Encyclopedia Entries: John W. Ellis (1820-1861), Bunker Hill Covered Bridge, Secession, Salem Brass Band, Confederate States Navy (in North Carolina), United States Navy (Civil War activity), James Iredell Waddell (1824-1886), CSS Neuse, USS Underwriter, Prelude to the Battle of Averasboro, The Battle of Averasboro-Day One, Louis Froelich and Company, Louis Froelich (1817-1873), North Carolina Button Factory, CSA Arms Factory, Ratification Debates, Peace Party (American Civil War), Braxton Bragg (1817-1876), Daniel Harvey Hill (1821-1889), Battle of Bentonville, Bryan Grimes (1828-1880), Fort Hatteras, Fort Fisher, Fort Clark, Fort Macon, Daniel Russell (1845-1908), The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet It, Union League, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Levi Coffin (1798 – 1877), Battle of Forks Road, Aaron McDuffie Moore (1863-1923), Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897) , Fort Anderson (Confederate), Battle of Deep Gully and Fort Anderson (Federal), James T. Leach (1805-1883), Sarah Malinda Pritchard Blalock (1839-1903), Thomas Bragg (1810-1872), Curtis Hooks Brogden (1816-1901), John Motley Morehead (1796-1866), David Lowry Swain (1801-1868), Zebulon Baird Vance (1830-1894), Alamance County (1849), Gates County (1779), Clay County (1861), Lenoir County (1791), Union County (1842), Teague Band (Civil War), Fort Hamby Gang (Civil War), Shelton Laurel Massacre , Parker David Robbins (1834-1917), Henry Eppes (1831-1917), Washington County (1799), Hertford County (1759), Rutherford County (1779), Granville County (1746), Salisbury Prison (Civil War), Stoneman's Raid, James City, Fort York, Asa Biggs (1811 - 1878), Thomas Clingman (1812 - 1897), Matt W. Ransom (1826 - 1904), St. Augustine's College, Peace College, Election Case of Joseph Abbott and Zebulon Vance, Stephen Dodson Ramseur (1837 - 1864) , Vance Birthplace, Matthew Calbraith Butler (1836-1909), Wade Hampton III (1818-1902), The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads (March 10, 1865), Carolinas Campaign (January 1865-April 1865), William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891), Confederate Surrender at Bennett's Place (April 17-26, 1865), Hugh Judson Kilpatrick (1836-1881) and the Carolinas Campaign, Joseph Eggleston Johnston (1807-1891) and the Carolinas Campaign
Related Commentary: Toward an Inclusive History of the Civil War: Society and the Home Front, Edward Bonekemper on the Cowardice of General McClellan, Freedmen’s Bank Served Blacks in Post-Civil War Economy, N.C. Played Crucial Role At Civil War’s End
Related Lesson Plans: Discussion of the Lunsford Lane Narrative
Timeline: 1836-1865
Region: Statewide

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