Israel Pickens

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Israel Pickens
United States Senator
from Alabama
In office
February 17, 1826 – November 27, 1826
Appointed byJohn Murphy
Preceded byHenry H. Chambers
Succeeded byJohn McKinley
3rd Governor of Alabama
In office
November 9, 1821 – November 25, 1825
Preceded byThomas Bibb
Succeeded byJohn Murphy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 12th district
In office
March 4, 1813 – March 3, 1817
Preceded byMeshack Franklin
Succeeded byFelix Walker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 11th district
In office
March 4, 1811 – March 3, 1813
Preceded byJames Holland
Succeeded byPeter Forney
Member of the North Carolina Senate
In office
Personal details
Born(1780-01-30)January 30, 1780
Concord, North Carolina
DiedApril 24, 1827(1827-04-24) (aged 47)
Matanzas, Cuba
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materJefferson College

Israel Pickens (January 30, 1780 – April 24, 1827) was an American politician and lawyer, third Governor of the U.S. state of Alabama (1821–1825), member of the North Carolina Senate (1808–1810), and United States Congressman from North Carolina in the United States House of Representatives (1811–1817).


Born in Concord, North Carolina, Pickens graduated from Jefferson College (now Washington & Jefferson College) in 1802, studied law, and was admitted to the bar. Pickens was a native of North Carolina and represented the "North Carolina Faction" in early Alabama politics, like fellow North Carolina Representative William R. King, with whom he served Congress during the early 1810s. The main opposition to the "North Carolina Faction" was the "Georgia Faction", which many new settlers to the state viewed as too aristocratic and elitist. At the same time, Pickens was seen as the "spokesman for the have-nots." Pickens married Martha Lenoir in 1814, the daughter of North Carolina statesman William Lenoir (general). In both 1821 and 1823, Pickens beat Dr. Henry Chambers by a vote of 9,114 to 7,129 and 6,942 to 4,604, respectively.

After serving as governor and being succeeded by his handpicked man John Murphy, Pickens was appointed to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy left by the death of Henry H. Chambers, whom he beat twice for the governorship. He only served from February 17 to November 27, 1826, when the elected successor, John McKinley, took office.

In addition to politics, Pickens participated in the American Colonization Society and was interested in scientific research. He invented a lunar dial.

Pickens died in Matanzas, Cuba in 1827. He was originally buried in a family graveyard, but his remains were later moved to City Cemetery, Greensboro, Alabama.[1]


  • United States Congress. "Israel Pickens (id: P000322)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • "Israel Pickens". Alabama Governors. Alabama Department of Archives & History. Archived from the original on 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2006-11-09.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 11th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 12th congressional district

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 3) from Alabama
Served alongside: William R. King
Succeeded by