William D. Williamson

William Durkee Williamson (July 31, 1779 – May 27, 1846) was the second Governor of the U.S. state of Maine, and one of the first congressmen from Maine in the United States House of Representatives. He was a member of the Democratic-Republican Party. Williamson was also an early historian of Maine. Williamson’s legacy was to exonerate white society for its role in Native dispossession and to justify it by white supremacy.[1]

William D. Williamson
William Durkee Williamson.jpg
2nd Governor of Maine
In office
May 28, 1821 – December 5, 1821
Preceded byWilliam King
Succeeded byBenjamin Ames
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1821 – March 3, 1823
Preceded byDistrict created
Succeeded byJoshua Cushman
Member of the Massachusetts Senate
In office
Personal details
Born(1779-07-31)July 31, 1779
Canterbury, Connecticut, United States
DiedMay 27, 1846(1846-05-27) (aged 66)
Political partyDemocratic-Republican Party
Jemima Montague
(m. 1806; died 1822)
Susan E. White
(m. 1823; died 1824)
Clarissa Emerson Wiggin
(m. 1825)
RelationsJoseph Williamson (brother)
Parent(s)George Williamson
Mary Foster Williamson
EducationDeerfield Academy
Alma materWilliams College
Brown University

Early lifeEdit

Williamson was born on July 31, 1779, in Canterbury, Connecticut, and was named after his father's maternal grandfather and eldest brother, William Durkee. He was the oldest son born to George Williamson, who served in the Army during the Revolutionary War, and Mary (née Foster) Williamson. His younger brother, Joseph Williamson, later served as Senate President.[2]

He completed his preparatory course at Deerfield Academy and graduated from Williams College and Brown University.[2]


Williamson moved to Bangor, then part of Massachusetts, in the first decade of the 19th century and established a law practice there in 1807. He became Bangor's postmaster (among other offices) in 1810. During the War of 1812 he was present at the capture and sacking of Bangor by the British following the Battle of Hampden and, like all male residents of the town, was made to sign an oath declaring he would not take up arms for the remainder of the war.

Elected officeEdit

Following the war, in 1816, Williamson was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate representing the District of Maine, but became a force behind the movement for Maine statehood.

In 1820, Maine separated from Massachusetts to become a state, and Williamson became the third President of the Maine State Senate. In 1821, when the first governor, William King resigned, Williamson automatically succeeded him as he was president of the Senate. Williamson served as governor from May 29, 1821, to December 5, 1821.[3]

That same year he ran for and won a congressional seat in the seventeenth Congress. Williamson resigned as governor to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving until 1823.

Later careerEdit

Williamson returned to his law practice in Bangor, also serving as Judge of Probate for Penobscot County until 1840.

Williamson was one of Maine's first historians, writing a 2-volume History of the State of Maine in the late 1830s.[4] This stood as the standard reference on early Maine history for the rest of the 19th century. He was an original member of the Maine Historical Society.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Williamson was married to Jemima Montague at Amherst, Massachusetts, on June 10, 1806. She was the youngest daughter of Josiah and Submit Rice, who had been adopted into the family of her uncle, Gen. Zebina Montague.[2] Before her death in Bangor, Maine, on June 22, 1822, at the age of 36, they were the parents of five children together:[6]

  • Caroline J. Williamson, who married Nathaniel Haynes, a lawyer. After his death, she married John Chapman of Boston.[2]
  • Harriet H. Williamson (d. 1884), who married Paul R. Hazeltine, a merchant from Belfast, Maine.[2]
  • William F. Williamson (d. 1832), who died, aged 18, during his junior year at Bowdoin College.[2]
  • Mary C. Williamson, who married Richard W. Shapleigh. After his death, she married Livingston Livingston, a lawyer from New York.[2]
  • Frances A. Williamson (d. 1847), who married Mayo Hazeltine of Boston.[2]

On June 3, 1823, he remarried to Susan E. White, the daughter of Judge Phineas White of Putney, Vermont. She died, less than a year after their marriage, on March 9, 1824.[2] Williamson married for the third time in 1825 to Clarissa (née Emerson) Wiggin, the widow of Joseph Wiggin and daughter of Edward and Abigail Emerson of York, Maine.[7]

Williamson died in 1846 in Bangor and was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.


Through his youngest daughter Frances, he was the grandfather of Frances Clarissa Hazeltine,[8] who married Edward Livingston, a prominent businessman and clubman.[9] He was also the grandfather of Professor Henry W. Haynes of Boston, Mayo W. Hazeltine and Philip Livingston, a graduate of Columbia College.[2]

Published worksEdit


  1. ^ https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/226778702.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j The Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder. S. M. Watson. 1888. p. 79. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  3. ^ "Maine Governor William Durkee Williamson". National Governors Association. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  4. ^ "Governor William D. Williamson". Representative Men of Maine. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  5. ^ The Maine Historical Magazine. 1886. p. 124.
  6. ^ History of Penobscot County, Maine: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches. Williams, Chase & Company. 1882. p. 207. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  7. ^ Memorial Biographies of New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1853-1855. New England Historic Genealogical Society. 1880. p. 28. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  8. ^ Talcott, Sebastian V. (October 1, 2001). Genealogical Notes Of New York And New England Families. Heritage Books. pp. 146–147. ISBN 9780788419560. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  9. ^ "NYC Marriage & Death Notices 1857-1868". www.nysoclib.org. New York Society Library. Retrieved January 17, 2019.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Maine
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Maine Senate
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 4th congressional district

March 4, 1821 – March 3, 1823
Succeeded by