Governor William D. Williamson
A Collection of Biographical Sketches of all the Governors since the formation of the State.
Prepaired under the direction of Henry Chase
Portland, ME.
The Lakeside Press, Publisher

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WILLIAM D. WILLIAMSON, lawyer, politician, and historian, was born in Canterbury, Conn., July 31, 1779. He was educated at Brown University, from which he graduated in 1804, at the age of twenty-five, and at once entered upon the study of his profession in the law office of Hon. S. F. Dickerson, at Amherst, Mass. Upon the completion of his studies, he actively commenced the practice of law in Bangor, and by persevering industry he succeeded in building up a large ard lucrative business.

In 1811 he was appointed, by Governor Gerry, County Attorney for Hancock County. This office he held until the establishment of Penobscot County, in 1816. He was elected to the Massachusetts Senate the same year, and re-elected until the separation of Maine from Massachusetts, in 1820, when he was elected Senator from Penobscot County in the new Legislature of Maine, and was chosen President of that body, as successor of Hon. John Chandler, who was elected the first Senator from Maine in Congress. By another change during this term of office, he became Governor of the State. in place of Governor King, who resigned the office of Governor for an appointment at Washington as Commissioner under the Spanish Treaty.

Strange as it may seem, Governor Williamson did not hold his office during the remainder of the term, but resigned it to enter upon the duties of Congressman in December 1821, to which office he had just been elected. This place he held but one term, because when the State was divided into Congressional Districts, the election fell to another portion of the territory. Hon. I)avid Kidder, of Somerset County, was his successor.

In 1824 Mr. Williamson was appointed Judge of Probate for Penobscot County, which office he held until 1840, when a constitutional amendment limited the term of judicial offices to seven years. Entering office almost at the very commencement of his professional career, he was in public station for nearly thirty years, and it can be truthfully said of him that he discharged all duties with promptness, fidelity, and ability.

But his "History of the State of Maine" was the great labor of his life; the one that brought him the most satisfaction and the most fame. As has been well remarked, "How low do the rewards of his political life sink when compared to this enduring monument to his memory and fame. His political acts have perished, the history will be his perpetual record."

The work was published in two volumes of about 700 pages each, in 1832, and a revised edition was issued in 1839. The book has become the standard history of our State from the first settlement, in 1602, to the separation, in 1820, which period the work covers.

Mr. Williamson was an original member of the Maine Historical Society, and a valuable contributor to its wealth of historical lore. Many of his valuable manuscripts, prepared while collecting material for his history, are now in the custody of the society for preservation and reference.

Mr. Williamson died May 27, 1846, in the sixty-sixth year of his age.

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