Governor John Willis Ellis
|North Carolina Governor John Willis Ellis|
|Born: November 23, 1820|
July 7, 1861
Birth State: North Carolina
twice—Mary White, Mary McKinley; two children
Macon College, University of North Carolina
|Periods in Office:
||January 1, 1859|
||July 7, 1861|
JOHN W. ELLIS, the Thirty-fifth Governor of North Carolina, was born in Rowan
County, North Carolina on November 23, 1820. He received his education at Randolph Macon College and at the University of
North Carolina, where he graduated in 1841. He would study law and then establish his legal career in Salisbury. Ellis first
entered politics in 1843, serving as a delegate to the Democratic State Convention. He also served as a member of the North
Carolina House of Commons from 1844 to 1849; and was a North Carolina Superior Court justice from 1848 to 1858. Ellis next
secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on August 5, 1858. He was reelected
to a second term in 1860. During his tenure, the state militia was restructured; internal improvements were advanced; and
an 1861 secession convention was held that sanctioned North Carolina leaving the Union. While still in office, Governor John
W. Ellis passed away on July 7, 1861. His final resting place was in the Old English Cemetery in Salisbury, North Carolina.
|Governor John Willis Ellis's Signature
|Courtesy of state.nc.us
SOURCES: Sobel, Robert,
and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books,
1978. 4 vols.
Recommended Reading: The Tar Heel State:
A History of North Carolina (Hardcover). Description: The Tar Heel State: A History of North Carolina constitutes the most
comprehensive and inclusive single-volume chronicle of the state’s storied past to date, culminating with an attentive
look at recent events that have transformed North Carolina
into a southern megastate. Integrating tales of famous pioneers, statesmen, soldiers, farmers, captains of industry, activists,
and community leaders with more marginalized voices, including those of Native Americans, African Americans, and women, Milton
Ready gives readers a view of North Carolina that encompasses perspectives and personalities from the coast, "tobacco
road," the Piedmont, and the mountains in this sweeping history of the Tar Heel State. The first such volume in more than
two decades, Ready’s work offers a distinctive view of the state’s history built from myriad stories and episodes.
The Tar Heel State is enhanced by one hundred and ninety illustrations and five maps. Continued below...
with a study of the state’s geography and then invites readers to revisit dramatic struggles of the American Revolution
and Civil War, the early history of Cherokees, the impact of slavery as an institution, the rise of industrial mills, and
the changes wrought by modern information-based technologies since 1970. Mixing spirited anecdotes and illustrative statistics,
Ready describes the rich Native American culture found by John White in 1585, the chartered chaos of North Carolina’s
proprietary settlement, and the chronic distrust of government that grew out of settlement patterns and the colony’s
early political economy. He challenges the perception of relaxed intellectualism attributed to the "Rip van Winkle" state,
the notion that slavery was a relatively benign institution in North Carolina,
and the commonly accepted interpretation of Reconstruction in the state. Ready also discusses how the woman suffrage movement
pushed North Carolina into a hesitant twentieth-century
progressivism. In perhaps his most significant contribution to North Carolina’s
historical record, Ready continues his narrative past the benchmark of World War II and into the twenty-first century. From
the civil rights struggle to the building of research triangles, triads, and parks, Ready recounts the events that have fueled
North Carolina’s accelerated development in recent years and the many challenges that have accompanied such rapid growth,
especially those of population change and environmental degradation.
Recommended Viewing: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns. Review: The
Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns is the most successful public-television miniseries in American history. The 11-hour Civil War didn't just captivate a nation,
reteaching to us our history in narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When
people describe documentaries using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters
and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with
still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era
he depicts. Continued below...
The Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew
only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller,
and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the
words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained
photos, Burns allows us not only to relearn and finally understand our history, but also to feel and experience it. "Hailed
as a film masterpiece and landmark in historical storytelling." "[S]hould be a requirement for every
Recommended Reading: Encyclopedia of North Carolina
(Hardcover) (1328 pages) (The University of North Carolina Press), Description: The first single-volume reference to the events, institutions, and cultural forces
that have defined the state, the Encyclopedia of North Carolina is a landmark publication that will serve those who love and
live in North Carolina for generations to come. Editor William S. Powell, whom the Raleigh News
& Observer described as a "living repository of information on all things North Carolinian," spent fifteen years developing
this volume. With contributions by more than 550 volunteer writers—including scholars, librarians, journalists, and
many others—it is a true "people's encyclopedia" of North Carolina.
includes more than 2,000 entries, presented alphabetically, consisting of longer essays on major subjects, briefer entries,
and short summaries and definitions. Most entries include suggestions for further reading. Centered on history and the humanities,
topics covered include agriculture; arts and architecture; business and industry; the Civil War; culture and customs; education;
geography; geology, mining, and archaeology; government, politics, and law; media; medicine, science, and technology; military
history; natural environment; organizations, clubs, and foundations; people, languages, and immigration; places and historic
preservation; precolonial and colonial history; recreation and tourism; religion; and transportation. An informative and engaging
compendium, the Encyclopedia of North Carolina is abundantly illustrated with 400 photographs and maps. It is both a celebration
and a gift—from the citizens of North Carolina, to the citizens of North Carolina.
"Truly an exhaustive and exciting view of every aspect of the Old
Reading: Touring the Carolina's Civil War
Sites (Touring the Backroads Series). Description: Touring the Carolina's Civil War
Sites helps travelers find the Carolinas' famous Civil War battlefields, forts, and memorials,
as well as the lesser skirmish sites, homes, and towns that also played a significant role in the war. The book's 19 tours,
which cover the 'entire Carolinas,' combine riveting history with clear, concise directions and maps, creating a book that
is as fascinating to the armchair reader as it is to the person interested in heritage travel. Below are some examples from
this outstanding book:
1. Fort Fisher - the largest sea fort in the war that protected the
vital town of Wilmington N.C., and the blockade runners so important for supplying Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.
- where the whole shootin' match started.
3. Bentonville - the last large scale battle of the war.
4. Outer Banks - early Union victories here were vital to capturing many parts of Eastern North Carolina from which the
Union could launch several offensives.
March - the destruction of certain towns in both Carolinas (particularly South Carolina)
further weakened the South's will to continue the struggle.
I also enjoyed reading about the locations of various gravesites
of Confederate generals and their Civil War service. Indeed, if not for this book, this native North Carolinian and long-time
Civil War buff may never have learned of, and visited, the locations of some of the lesser-known sites other than those mentioned
Johnson's writing style is smooth--without being overly simplistic--and contains several anecdotes (some humorous
ones too) of the interesting events which took place during the Civil War years. Highly recommended!
Reading: The Civil War in North Carolina. Description:
Numerous battles and skirmishes were fought in North Carolina
during the Civil War, and the campaigns and battles themselves were crucial in the grand strategy of the conflict and involved
some of the most famous generals of the war. John Barrett presents the complete story of military engagements across the state,
including the classical pitched battle of Bentonville--involving Generals Joe Johnston and William Sherman--the siege of Fort Fisher, the amphibious
campaigns on the coast, and cavalry sweeps such as General George Stoneman's Raid.
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