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William Armisted Burwell (March 15, 1780 – February 16, 1821) was a nineteenth-century congressman and presidential secretary from Virginia.

William Armisted Burwell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 13th & 14th district
In office
December 1, 1806 – March 3, 1813
March 4, 1813 – February 16, 1821
Preceded byChristopher H. Clark
Matthew Clay
Succeeded byThomas M. Bayly
Jabez Leftwich
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
In office
Personal details
Born(1780-03-15)March 15, 1780
Boydton, Virginia, U.S.
DiedFebruary 16, 1821(1821-02-16) (aged 40)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
Spouse(s)Letitia McCrury Burwell
ProfessionPolitician, Secretary



William Burwell's grave

Born near Boydton, Virginia, Burwell graduated from the College of William and Mary. He moved to Franklin County, Virginia in 1802 and became a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, serving from 1804 to 1806. Burwell then became a private secretary for President Thomas Jefferson before being elected a Democratic-Republican to the United States House of Representatives to fill a vacancy. Burwell served from 1806 until his death on February 16, 1821, in Washington, D.C.. He was interred there in the Congressional Cemetery.

His home, the Burwell-Holland House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.[1]

In her 1974 biography of Jefferson, Fawn M. Brodie repeats a clergyman's claim that Burwell was an atheist and that he was expelled from New Jersey College for this reason and for "infidelity."

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Christopher H. Clark
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 13th congressional district

December 1, 1806 – March 3, 1813 (obsolete district)
Succeeded by
Thomas M. Bayly
Preceded by
Matthew Clay
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 14th congressional district

March 4, 1813 – February 16, 1821 (obsolete district)
Succeeded by
Jabez Leftwich