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 Peter Hardeman Burnett

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Peter Hardeman Burnett

California Governor. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, he was a politician noted as the first State Governor of California and also the first California Governor to resign from office.
He received no formal education, but educated himself in the law and government. In 1832, he migrated to Liberty, Missouri, where he practiced law and served as a prosecuting attorney (1840-42). He moved to Oregon in 1843, helped in the organization of a territorial government, was a justice on the Oregon Supreme Court in 1845 and served as a member of the Oregon Territorial Legislature, (1844-48). Lured to California during the gold rush, he continued in his career of law and served as a judge for the Superior Tribunal of California. On November 13, 1849, he was elected as the first Governor of California. During his term, California entered into statehood in September 1850 and San Jose became the state's first capital. Burnett endorsed the idea of excluding African-Americans from California, which the State Legislature approved in giving freedom to blacks after statehood. After his first annual address he received criticism for his freedom views and resigned from office on January 9, 1851. He returned to his law practice, served on the bench of the California Supreme Court (1857-58) and became president of the Pacific Bank of San Francisco, in 1863. He died at age 87 in San Francisco, California.

Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 May 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5333
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Peter Hardeman Burnett (15 Nov 1807–17 May 1895), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5333, citing Santa Clara Mission Cemetery, Santa Clara, Santa Clara County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .