David Holmes, a U. S. Representative from Virginia, was appointed the fourth and final governor of the Mississippi Territory in 1808 by President Thomas Jefferson. During his tenure, Jefferson College opened in Washington, Mississippi, the territorial capital. The Mississippi Territory at that time included both of the present-day states of Mississippi and Alabama. In 1816, Congress decided to divide the territory into two states. The western half would become the state of Mississippi. The constitutional convention was held in Washington, Mississippi, in 1817. David Holmes served as president of the convention and was elected the first governor of the new state. Natchez was made the state capital. Holmes served one term as governor, during which time the judicial system was established and the legislature organized. Holmes was appointed to the U. S. Senate in 1820, where he served until being re-elected governor in 1825. Holmes County, Mississippi, is named in his honor.