Log In

Joseph Branch Edit Profile

state justice

Joseph Branch, state justice. Bar: North Carolina 1937. Recipient Alumni Service award Wake Forest University School Law, 1971; Distinguished Service citation Wake Forest University, 1974; Carroll Wayland Weathers Distinguished Alumnus award, 1980.


Branch, Joseph was born on July 5, 1915 in Enfield, North Carolina, United States. Son of James C. and Laura (Applewhite) Branch.


Bachelor of Laws, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 1938. Doctor of Laws honorary, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 1983. Doctor of Laws, Campbell University, 1981.


He was a native of Halifax County, North Carolina and earned his law degree from Wake Forest University. Branch served in the state House of Representatives from 1947 through 1954. He was a close advisor to Governor Luther Hodges in the 1950s and managed the successful 1964 campaign of Governor Daniel K. Moore.

Moore appointed Branch to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 1966. Branch was then elected by the voters in 1966, 1968, and 1976. Governor Jim Hunt appointed Branch to replace Susie Sharp as Chief Justice in 1979, making him the state's twentieth Chief Justice.


  • Bar: North Carolina 1937.


Chairman Halifax County Democratic Party, 1957-1963. Delegate Democratic National Convention, 1956. Trustee Wake Forest University, 1966-1968, 71-73, 75-77, 79-80, chairman, 1970-1971.

Trustee Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Deacon Enfield Baptist Church Served with United States Army, 1943-1945. Member North Carolina, Wake County, Halifax County bar associations, North Carolina State Bar.

Lodges: Enfield Lions (past president).


Married Frances Jane Kitchen, December 7, 1946. Children: Jane Branch, James C.

James C. Branch

Laura (Applewhite) Branch

Frances Jane Kitchen

Jane Branch

James C. Branch