Robert Williams (Mississippi politician)

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Robert Williams
Robert Williams (Mississippi Governor).jpg
1917 photo of oil portrait on display in Mississippi Hall of Fame
Governor of the Mississippi Territory
In office
President Thomas Jefferson
Preceded by William C. C. Claiborne
Succeeded by David Holmes
Personal details
Born (1773-07-12)July 12, 1773
Surry County, North Carolina
Died January 25, 1836(1836-01-25) (aged 62)
Ouachita Parish, Louisiana
Resting place Bon Aire plantation near Monroe, Louisiana
Political party Democratic-Republican

Robert Williams (July 7, 1773 – January 25, 1836) was Governor of the Mississippi Territory from 1805 to 1809.


Robert Williams was born in Surry County, North Carolina on July 7, 1773. He received a liberal private education, studied law, and became an attorney.[1]

In 1796 Williams was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the United States House of Representatives, and he served three terms, 1797 to 1803.[2]

In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson appointed Williams to the federal commission empowered to determine the legitimacy of land claims in the recently acquired Mississippi Territory.[3] In May, 1805 Jefferson appointed him Governor, and he served until the end of Jefferson's term in March, 1809. During his term as Governor Williams became unpopular as the result of a dispute with territorial Secretary Cowles Mead, with each accusing the other of having been sympathetic to Aaron Burr's alleged conspiracy.

After leaving office, Williams lived in Mississippi and North Carolina and operated plantations, also serving during the War of 1812 as Adjutant General of the North Carolina militia.

After the 1814 death of his wife in Washington, Mississippi, Williams moved to a plantation near Monroe, Louisiana which he called Bon Aire. He operated Bon Aire until his death in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana on January 25, 1836.[4] He was buried at Bon Aire, but the exact location of the grave is not known. It is the present day site of the Baptist Children's Home and Sellers Baptist Maternity Home in Monroe.[5]

Robert Williams' brother Lewis served as a Congressman from North Carolina, and his brother John served in the United States Senate from Tennessee. His cousin Marmaduke Williams also represented North Carolina in the U.S. House.

Robert Williams (1766-1836) is sometimes confused with a cousin named Robert Williams, who was born in 1768 and died in 1831, and who was active in North Carolina politics and government at the same time.


  1. ^ Rowland, Dunbar (1912). The Official and Statistical Register of the State of Mississippi. Nashville, TN: Brandon Printing Company. p. 22. 
  2. ^ Rowland, Dunbar (1907). Mississippi: Comprising Sketches of Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Volume 2. Atlanta, GA: Southern Historical Publishing Company. p. 973. 
  3. ^ Niles, Hezekiah (August 19, 1826). "Members of Congress, Appointed to Office". Niles' Weekly Register. Washington, DC. p. 427. 
  4. ^ Sumners, Cecil (1980). The Governors of Mississippi. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing. p. 38. 
  5. ^ Sierichs, Bill (March 29, 1983). "Tombstones Shed Light on Past". Monroe-West Monroe News-Star (via Monroe, LA. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
William C. C. Claiborne
Governor of Mississippi Territory
Succeeded by
David Holmes