WILLIAMSON, Hugh

1735–1819

Biography

WILLIAMSON, Hugh, a Delegate and a Representative from North Carolina; born on Oterara Creek, in West Nottingham Township, Pa., December 5, 1735; attended the common schools; prepared for college at Newark, Del., and was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia in 1757; studied theology, and was licensed to preach in 1758; resigned, owing to ill health, in 1760; professor of mathematics in the College of Philadelphia; studied medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Utrecht, Holland; returned to Philadelphia and practiced; engaged in business; member of the American Philosophical Society, and was a member of the commission to observe the transits of Venus and Mercury in 1773; at the time of the "Boston Tea Party" he was examined in England by the privy council regarding it; returned to America in 1776 and settled in Edenton, N.C.; engaged in mercantile pursuits; during the Revolutionary War was surgeon general of the North Carolina troops 1779-1782; Member of the State house of commons in 1782 and 1785; member of the Continental Congress 1782-1785, and 1788; delegate to the Federal Convention in 1787, and signed the Constitution; member of the State ratification convention in 1789; elected as a Federalist to the First and Second Congresses and served from March 19, 1790, until March 3, 1793; moved to New York City in 1793; engaged extensively in literary pursuits until his death in New York City, May 22, 1819; interment in the Apthrop tomb in Trinity Churchyard.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: 1 letter.

Columbia University
Rare Book and Manuscript Library

New York, NY
Papers: March 4, 1811. 1 letter. Finding aid in repository.
Papers: 2 letters (1811, 1817) in the DeWitt Clinton collection. Finding aid in repository.

The Copley Press
J.S. Copley Library

La Jolla, CA
Papers: 1800, 2 pages. A letter from Hugh Williamson to James McHenry written on November 29, 1800. In the letter, Williamson writes about his attempts to find a quantity of hemp for a business in North Carolina. Concludes with rumors "that both you and Mr. Pickering propose a Publication versus the President as soon as the Election is over." Docketed by McHenry.

Duke University
Medical Center Library

Durham, NC
Papers: In the James McHenry Papers, 1780-1814, 4 items. The papers contain a letter from Hugh Williamson to James McHenry relating to family matters.

Duke University Archives

Durham, NC
Papers: At least 2 letters (1789) in the James Iredell papers.

Free Library of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: At least 1 item (1789) in the Hampton L. Carson papers.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: At least 5 items (1789-1791) in various collections.

Johns Hopkins University
John Garrett Library

Baltimore, MD
Papers: At least 1 item (1789).

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1789, 2 items. Papers of Hugh Williamson, 1789.
Papers: In the William Blount Papers, 1783-1823, 80 items. Correspondents include Hugh Williamson.
Papers: In the Pierce Butler Papers, 1779-1787, 17 items. Correspondents include Hugh Williamson.

Maine Historical Society

Portland, ME
Papers: At least 1 item (1790) in the Fogg autograph collection.

Morristown National Historical Park

Morristown, NJ
Papers: At least 1 item (1789) in the L.W. Smith papers.

National Archives and Records Administration

Washington, DC
Papers: At least 2 letters (1789) in the Miscellaneous Letters of the Department of State.

New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Library

New York, NY
Papers: Miscellaneous newspaper clippings, including obituary, and genealogical chart. Finding aid in repository.

New York Public Library

New York, NY
Papers: At least 1 item (1789) in the Thomas Addis Emmet collection.

North Carolina State Department of Archives and History

Raleigh, NC
Papers: 1778-1815, 4 feet. Sixteen letters to various correspondents from Hugh Williamson, physician, merchant, North Carolina delegate to the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention and member of Congress.

Rhode Island Historical Society

Providence, RI
Papers: At least 1 item (1790) in the Channing-Ellery papers.

Tennessee State Library and Archives

Nashville, TN
Papers: At least 1 item (1789) in the James Robertson papers.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Gilpatrick, Delbert H. "Contemporary Opinion of Hugh Williamson." North Carolina Historical Review 17 (January 1940): 26-36.

Hosack, David. A Biographical Memoir of Hugh Williamson . . . Delivered on the First of November, 1819, at the request of the New-York Historical Society. New York: C. S. Van Winkle, 1820.

Potts, Louis W. "Hugh Williamson: The Poor Man's Franklin and the National Domain." North Carolina Historical Review 64 (October 1987): 371-93.

Williamson, Hugh. A discourse on the benefits of civil history [microform]: delivered before the New-York Historical Society, December 6, 1810. [New York : s.n., 1810].

___. The History of North Carolina. 1812. Reprint, Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Co., [1973].

___. Observations on the climate in different parts of America, compared with the climate in corresponding parts of the other continent [electronic resource] : to which are added, remarks in the different complexions of the human race : with some account of the aborigines of America: being an introductory discourse to the History of North-Carolina. New-York: Printed and sold by T. & J. Swords, no. 160 Pearl-street, 1811.

___. The Plain Dealer, or, Remarks on Quaker Politicks in Pennsylvania: numb. III, to be continued. By W.D., author of no. I. Philadelphia: Printed [by W. Dunlap], 1764.

___. The Plea of the colonies, on the charges brought against them by Lord M-------d, and others, in a letter to His Lordship. London: J. Almon, 1775.

___. What is sauce for a goose is also sauce for a gander [microform] : being a small touch in lapidary way, or tit for tat, in your own way: an epitaph on a certain great man / written by a departed spirit and now most humbly inscrib’d to all his dutiful sons and children, who may here-after close to distinguish him by the name of patriot. Philadelphia: Armbruster, 1764.

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