Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HOLDEN, William Woods, journalist, born in Orange county, North Carolina, 24 November, 1818. He attended a common school until he was sixteen years old, was in a printing-office in Hillsborough, North Carolina, for the next two years, and in 1841 was admitted to the bar in Raleigh, North Carolina In 1843 he bought "The Raleigh Standard," and was its editor twenty-five years. He served in the legislature in 1846, was a member of the State convention in 1861, and signed the ordinance of secession. He was appointed by President Johnson provisional governor of North Carolina in 1865, declined the mission to San Salvador in 1866, and in 1868 he was elected governor, as a Republican, by popular vote. Reports of " Ku-klux" outrages in the latter part of 1869, and early in 1870, caused the governor, by virtue of authority that had been conferred on him by the legislature, to issue a proclamation on 7 March, declaring the county of Alamance to be in a state of insurrection, and a similar one on 8 July regarding Caswell county, and several arrests were made with the aid of the militia. This action caused much excitement, and the Democrats, in addresses that were issued in March and July, asserted that the accounts of outrages were exaggerated, that the local authorities were fully able to preserve order, and that the governor's course was intended to influence the coming election. Governor Holden applied to President Grant for troops, and at first refused to deliver the prisoners to the civil authorities on writ of habeas corpus, but afterward did so by advice of the United States attorney-general. The accused persons were held for trial in their respective counties, and on 10 November the governor proclaimed the restoration of civil authority. The opposition to Governor Holden on account of his course in this matter culminated in the presentation by the state house of representatives to the senate on 20 December, 1870, of eight articles of impeachment against him " for high crimes and misdemeanors." The senate declared him guilty of six of the eight indictments, and ordered that he" be removed from the office of governor, and disqualified to hold any office of trust, honor, or profit under the state of North Carolina." He removed to Washington and edited the "National Republican," but afterward returned to Raleigh and was postmaster.
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