Alabama Governors

Joshua Lanier Martin

photo of portrait of Ala. Governor Joshua Lanier Martin




Joshua Lanier Martin was born in 1799, in Blount County, Tennessee. He moved to Alabama in 1819 to complete his law studies. Martin was admitted to the bar and began to practice law in Athens, Limestone County. His political career began in 1822 when he was elected to the state legislature. He served in this capacity, except for one year, until 1828. Prior to his election to governor in 1845, Martin served as solicitor of the fourth judicial circuit, as a circuit court judge, as a two-term member of the US Congress and as chancellor of the middle chancery division of the state.


In 1845, he opposed the regular Democratic nominee and announced himself as a candidate for governor. Throughout his campaign, Martin maintained that the Democratic party consistently favored the interest of the State bank. He was elected governor with a plurality of six thousand votes. Soon after his inauguration, he created a commission to dissolve the State bank. This was not completed until 1858.


During Martin's term, the US declared war on Mexico. Following the declaration of war President Polk requested that Martin raise volunteers from the Alabama Militia to fight against Mexico. Due to the war, Martin's term was devoted to mustering troops. Also during Martin's term, the State Capital was moved from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery.


At the end of his term in 1847, Governor Martin returned to his law practice. His last public office was that of state representative for Limestone County. He died in Tuscaloosa in 1856.

Owen, Thomas McAdory. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Vol. IV. 1921.
Stewart, John Craig. The Governors of Alabama , 1975.