William Johnston Dawson

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William Johnston Dawson (1765?[1] - January 16, 1796)[2] was a U.S. Congressman from the state of North Carolina from 1793 to 1795.

Dawson was born near Edenton in Chowan County, North Carolina. His grandfather was royal Governor Gabriel Johnston.[3] 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.[4][5][6] Dawson represented Bertie County in the state constitutional conventions of 1788 and 1789.[7] 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.[8] Dawson Street in downtown Raleigh is named for him. Dawson was elected to the 3rd United States Congress in the election of Feb. 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.[9] Dawson served from March 4, 1793 to March 3, 1795. He lost his race for re-election on Feb. 13, 1795 to Dempsey Burges.[10]

Dawson died in Bertie County, North Carolina. His obituary, printed in the North Carolina Journal on Feb. 1, 1796, stated that Dawson died on Jan. 16, 1796[11] but the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, which lists his middle name as "Johnson," puts his death at 1798.


  1. ^ Rootsweb
  2. ^ North Carolina Journal (Halifax, North Carolina). 1796-02-01. p. 3. 
  3. ^ Gabriel Johnston
  4. ^ Gordon, Armistead C (1914). "The Stith Family". In Tyler, Lyon G.. William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine XXII. Richmond, Virginia: Whittet & Shepperson. pp. 44–51, 197–208. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  5. ^ Tyler, Lyon Gardiner, ed. (1915). "Burgesses and Other Prominent Persons". Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography II. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. pp. 330–331. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ North Carolina Manual
  8. ^ Historical Raleigh, by Moses N. Amis
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ North Carolina Journal (Halifax, North Carolina). 1796-02-01. p. 3.