William Johnston Dawson

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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.

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] 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. 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 North Carolina Journal. Halifax, North Carolina. 1796-02-01. p. 3.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Royal Governor of North Carolina - Gabriel Johnston". Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  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 Google Books. 
  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
Dempsey Burges