Surgeon, Governor Nathaniel Alexander of Charlotte

On March 5, 1756, Nathaniel Alexander, physician, congressman and governor, was born in what is now Mecklenburg County.

While not much is known about his early life, Alexander graduated in 1776 from the school that is now Princeton University. He earned a degree in medicine and was commissioned as a surgeon in the North Carolina Continental Line in 1778, serving for the duration of the war.

In addition to practicing medicine, Alexander was a Mason and was active in establishing a lodge in Charlotte. He entered politics in 1797 when he was elected to the state House of Commons, representing Mecklenburg County. He served in both houses of the General Assembly and was elected to Congress in 1803, but resigned in 1805 when he was elected governor of North Carolina.

Called a “scholar and a true patriot,” Alexander as governor attempted to settle the lingering border dispute with Georgia and was an early advocate of education and internal improvements.

He lost the gubernatorial election in 1807 and died less than a year later in March 1808. He was buried in the First Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Charlotte.

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