The first native born Kentuckian to serve as Governor was Lt. Governor John Turner Morehead who assumed the office of governor upon the death of Governor John Breathitt. Unlike Breathitt (a Democrat), Morehead was a member of the dominate Whig Party (the party of Henry Clay).
Morehead was born in 1797 near Shepherdsville in Bullitt County. Soon after he was born, his family moved to Logan County where he spent his childhood. He attended Transylvania University and practiced law in Bowling Green.
As governor, he favored internal improvements in accordance with the Whig Platform. As governor legislation was passed with his support to map all of Kentucky's rivers and streams. He also paid lip service to improvements of Kentucky's common or public schools.
Morehead hosted the first Kentucky State Whig Convention in July 1834 in Frankfort. At that event, an estimated 5,000 people from 45 counties attended.
Though he was eligible to seek a full term on his own, factionalism within the Whig prevented him from seeking a full four year term.
Morehead was elected by the General Assembly to serve in the U.S. Senate from 1841 to 1847. As an U.S. Senator, he chaired the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. He voted against the annexation of Texas. But unlike many Congressional Whigs, he voted to declare war on Mexico.
Upon leaving the U.S. Senate in 1847, he practiced law in Covington, KY until his death in December 1854.
The City of Morehead, Kentucky was named in his honor.