Charles Manly

28th Governor of the State of North Carolina - 1849 to 1851

Date Born: May 13, 1795

Date Died: May 1, 1871

Place Born: Chatham County, NC

Place Buried: City Cemetery in Raleigh, NC

Residence: Raleigh, NC

Occupation: Lawyer

Charles Manly was born on May 13, 1795 in Chatham County, NC, the son of Basil Manly and Elizabeth (Maultsby) Manly. He studied under the Reverend William Bingham at the Chatham Academy in Pittsboro prior to entering The University of North Carolina, where he received an A.B. degree in 1814 and later an A.M. degree.

After graduation, Charles Manly tutored the sons of John Haywood in Raleigh to earn money for the study of law under Robert Williams. He was admitted to the North Carolina bar in 1816 and licensed to practice in Superior Courts.

In 1817, Charles Manly married Charity Hare Haywood, daughter of William Henry Haywood; they had eleven known children. During his long stay in Raleigh, Manly accumulated a considerable amount of property. His large home at the foot of Salisbury Street was ultimately acquired by the trustees of Rex Hospital and became the site of that facility. He owned a plantation, Ingleside, east of Raleigh, which contained 1,060 acres when he bought it. His father-in-law gave him additional acreage so that Manly could vote in senatorial elections. In 1853, Charles Manly owned as many as forty slaves.

In 1823, Charles Manly was appointed Clerk to the commission for the settlement of claims under the Treaty of Ghent, in Washington, DC, but after a year he returned to his legal practice in Raleigh. He was Assistant Clerk of the NC House of Commons from 1824 until 1830, when he was elected principal Clerk. Except for one session (1842-43) when he was defeated, he held the position until the end of 1846-47 session.

In the 1848 general election, Charles Manly was elected as the next Governor of North Carolina. He served one two-year term from January 1, 1849 to January 1, 1851. Gov. Manly's administration is remembered for his support of public education, his interest in internal improvements, his recommendation that a geological survey be undertaken, and his promotion of efforts to obtain documents on the colonial history of North Carolina from London. His defeat by Democrat David S. Reid in the 1850 election was attributed to his overconfidence and to the inactivity of the Whig party. During the campaign, Charles Manly had pressed the issue of free suffrage in the election of state senators.

From 1821 to 1849, Charles Manly served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina. During his tenure as governor he was ex officio President of the Board. On leaving office in 1851, he again served as Secretary-Treasurer until 1868, when the university was temporarily closed. In a letter of August 4,1868, he lamented the "death" of the university and expressed his fear that "the glory of our beloved Alma Mater is gone forever." Manly did not live to see the university reopen.

Following a long illness, Charles Manly died at his residence in Raleigh on May 1, 1871, and is buried in the City Cemetery in Raleigh, NC.

Charles Manly (13 May 1795 - 1 May 1871) was the Whig governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina from 1849 to 1851. After one two-year term, Manly was defeated in the 1850 election by David S. Reid, whom Manly had defeated in 1848.

The son of Basil and Elizabeth Maultsby Manly, he was born at Oak Mont, the family home near Pittsboro, NC. His early education came from black educator John Chavis, who was hired by Basil Manly to teach his sons, and at Pittsboro Academy run by William Bingham. He enrolled at UNC in 1811 and graduated with honors in 1814. While studying law in Raleigh, Manly earned a living tutoring the children of state treasurer John Haywood. He was admitted to the bar in 1816. In 1817, Manly married Charity Hare Haywood of Raleigh - they would be the parents of eleven children.

In 1823, Manly served as clerk to the commission to settle claims against the UK under the Treaty of Ghent. The following year he was appointed assistant clerk to the House of Commons, an office he held until 1830 when he was made the principal clerk. He served as the treasurer of the board of trustees for UNC from 1821 to 1849.

Manly joined the Whig Party at its formation and was the choice to succeed Governor William Alexander Graham in 1848 - narrowly defeating David S. Reid in the general election. His administration was not all that notable since most of the Whig initiatives had been started under three previous administrations.

It was Governor Manly who proclaimed the first Thanksgiving Day in North Carolina - Thursday, November 15, 1849.

After leaving the govenor's office, Manly returned to a successful law practice in Raleigh. He was again selected as the secretary-treasurer of the board of trustees for UNC in 1851 and served until the Reconstruction government took the control of the university in 1868.

Manly retired to his Ingleside Plantation, comprising over 1,000 acres east of Raleigh. In April 1865, Union troops under command of General Sherman pillaged his home and storehouses. After a long illness that had left him blind, Manly died at his plantation on May 1, 1817. His headstone in City Cemetery is inscribed with only his name and life dates.

Charles Manly, governor of North Carolina, was born in Chatham County, NC on May 13, 1795. His education was attained at the Pittsboro Academy, and at the University of North Carolina, where he earned an undergraduate degree in 1814, as well as earning an A.M. degree. He went on to study law, and in 1816 was admitted to the bar. Manly first entered politics in 1823, serving on the Washington, DC commission that negotiated claims under the Treaty of Ghent. He also served as clerk of the NC House of Commons from 1831 to 1841 and 1844 to 1847; and was Secretary and Treasurer of the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees from 1821 to 1849. Manly next secured the Whig gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in the 1848 general election. During his tenure, an asylum bill was sanctioned; a state geological survey was recommended; and internal improvements were endorsed. After running unsuccessfully for re-election, Manly retired from politics. He resumed his legal career, as well as returning to his duties as Secretary and Treasurer of the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees, a post he held from 1850 to 1868. Charles Manly passed away on May 1, 1871, and was buried in the City Cemetery in Raleigh, NC.

<< Last Governor - William Alexander Graham    

Next Governor - David Settle Reid >>

© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved