William Lee D. Ewing

William Lee Davidson Ewing (August 31, 1795 – March 25, 1846) was a politician from Illinois who served partial terms as the fifth governor of the state and as U.S. Senator.

William Lee D. Ewing
William Lee Davidson Ewing bioguide.jpg
United States Senator
from Illinois
In office
December 30, 1835 – March 3, 1837
Appointed byJoseph Duncan
Preceded byElias Kane
Succeeded byRichard M. Young
5th Governor of Illinois
In office
November 17, 1834 – December 3, 1834
Preceded byJohn Reynolds
Succeeded byJoseph Duncan
5th Lieutenant Governor of Illinois
In office
March 1, 1833 – December 5, 1834
GovernorJohn Reynolds
Preceded byZadok Casey
Succeeded byAlexander M. Jenkins
Member of the Illinois Senate
In office
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
Personal details
Born(1795-08-31)August 31, 1795
Paris, Kentucky
DiedMarch 25, 1846(1846-03-25) (aged 50)
Springfield, Illinois
Political partyDemocratic
Military service
Branch/serviceIllinois Militia
RankMajor General[1]
Battles/warsBlack Hawk War

Ewing was born in Paris, Kentucky and practiced law in Shawneetown, Illinois. James Monroe appointed him to be a land office receiver in Vandalia in 1820. He served as a Colonel of the "Spy Battalion" during the Black Hawk War. In 1830, he was elected to serve in the state House of Representatives as Speaker. He had previously been the clerk of the House. From 1832 to 1834, he was a State Senator, serving as President pro tempore of the State Senate in 1832. In 1833, he was also named acting Lieutenant Governor of Illinois and served as Governor of Illinois for fourteen days in 1834, the shortest gubernatorial term in Illinois history.

Upon the death of Elias Kane in 1835, Ewing was appointed by Joseph Duncan to serve out the rest of Kane's term in the U.S. Senate. In 1838 he was appointed Commissioner to adjust the claims of mixed-bloods and traders at Fort Snelling for the Dakota under the 1837 Dakota treaty. His re-election campaign was unsuccessful and he returned to the Illinois State House, becoming Speaker of the House again. He died in Springfield, Illinois.


  1. ^ Ford, Thomas. A History of Illinois, from its Commencement as a State in 1818 to 1847. Chicago: S.C. Griggs & Co., 1854, 143. Google Books, 19 June 2010, [1].

External linksEdit

  • United States Congress. "William Lee D. Ewing (id: E000283)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
Political offices
Preceded by Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of Illinois
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Illinois
Succeeded by
Preceded by Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Preceded by Illinois Auditor of Public Accounts
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 3) from Illinois
Served alongside: John M. Robinson
Succeeded by