William Johnston Dawson

William Johnston Dawson (1765 – January 16, 1796)[1][2][3] was a U.S. Congressman from the state of North Carolina from 1793 to 1795 and a member of the North Carolina House of Commons.

Early lifeEdit

Dawson was born near Edenton in Chowan County, North Carolina. His grandfather was royal Governor Gabriel Johnston.[4] He was also the grandson of William Dawson, the second president of The College of William & Mary, and a great-great grandson of John Stith and William Randolph.[5][6][7]

Political careerEdit

Dawson represented Bertie County in the state constitutional conventions of 1788 and 1789.[8] He was elected to the North Carolina House of Commons (now called the House of Representatives) in 1791 and was a member of the committee which was appointed to choose a site for the new state capital, Raleigh, that same year.[9] Dawson Street in downtown Raleigh is named for him. Dawson was elected to the 3rd United States Congress in the election of February 15, 1793, a three-way race in which he, as the Anti-Federalist candidate, defeated two Federalists: Stephen Cabarrus (Speaker of the State House) and William Cumming.[10] Dawson served from March 4, 1793 to March 3, 1795. He lost his race for re-election on February 13, 1795 to Dempsey Burges.[11]


Dawson died in Bertie County, North Carolina. His obituary, printed in the North Carolina Journal on February 1, 1796, stated that Dawson died on January 16, 1796[3] but the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, which lists his middle name as "Johnson," puts his death at 1798.


  1. ^ Powell, William S. (9 November 2000). Dictionary of North Carolina Biography: Vol. 2, D-G. Univ of North Carolina Press. ISBN 9780807867013. Retrieved 16 March 2017 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Crilley, Virginia. "Bertie County, NCGenWeb Project Page -- Personal Political Histories". Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b "William Dawson". North Carolina Journal. Halifax, North Carolina. 1796-02-01. p. 3.
  4. ^ "Royal Governor of North Carolina - Gabriel Johnston". Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  5. ^ Gordon, Armistead C (1914). "The Stith Family". In Tyler, Lyon G. (ed.). William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine. XXII. Richmond, Virginia: Whittet & Shepperson. pp. 44–51, 197–208. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  6. ^ Tyler, Lyon Gardiner, ed. (1915). "Burgesses and Other Prominent Persons". Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. II. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. pp. 330–331.
  7. ^ Goode, George Brown (1887). "Excursus.-The Stith Family". Virginia Cousins: A Study of the Ancestry and Posterity of John Goode of Whitby. Richmond, Virginia: J. W. Randolph & English. pp. 210–212.
  8. ^ North Carolina Manual
  9. ^ Amis, Moses Neal (1 January 1913). Historical Raleigh: With Sketches of Wake County (from 1771) and Its Important Towns; Descriptive, Biographical, Educational, Industrial, Religious. Commercial Printing Company. Retrieved 16 March 2017 – via Internet Archive.
  10. ^ "Our Campaigns - NC District 08 Race - Feb 15, 1793". Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Our Campaigns - NC District 08 Race - Feb 13, 1795". Retrieved 16 March 2017.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by