James Eubert Holshouser was born in Boone, NC on October 8, 1934 and was the son of a United States Attorney in the middle district of North Carolina. Holshouser graduated from Davidson and the UNC School of Law. Two years after graduating from law school, Holshouser was elected to the General Assembly in 1962, and eventually became the House Minority Leader. Holshouser chaired the North Carolina Republican Party from 1966 to 1972. In 1972, Holshouser was elected the first Republican Governor in North Carolina since 1896.
Holshouser returned to practicing law after his term, and joined with another former governor, Terry Sanford, to form Sanford Holshouser LLP.