About William Durkee Williamson
William Durkee Williamson (July 31, 1779 – May 27, 1846) was the second Governor of the U.S. state of Maine, and one of the first congressmen from Maine in the United States House of Representatives. He was a member of the Democratic-Republican Party. Williamson was also an early historian of Maine.
Williamson was born in 1779 in Canterbury, Connecticut and graduated from Williams College and Brown University. He moved to Bangor, then part of Massachusetts, in the first decade of the 19th century and established a law practice there in 1807. He became Bangor's postmaster (among other offices) in 1810. During the War of 1812 he was present at the capture and sacking of Bangor by the British following the Battle of Hampden and, like all male residents of the town, was made to sign an oath declaring he would not take up arms for the remainder of the war.
Following the war, in 1816, Williamson was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate representing the District of Maine, but became a force behind the movement for Maine statehood.
In 1820, Maine separated from Massachusetts to become a state, and Williamson became the third President of the Maine State Senate. In 1821, when the first governor, William King (governor) resigned, Williamson automatically succeeded him as he was president of the Senate. Williamson served as governor from May 29, 1821 to December 5, 1821.
That same year he ran for and won a congressional seat in the seventeenth Congress. Williamson resigned as governor to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving until 1823.
Williamson returned to his law practice in Bangor, also serving as Judge of Probate for Penobscot County till 1840.
His younger brother, Joseph Williamson, also served as Senate President.
Death and legacy
Williamson died in 1846 in Bangor. He is buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery.
Williamson was one of Maine's first historians, writing a 2-volume History of the State of Maine in the late 1830s. This stood as the standard reference on early Maine history for the rest of the 19th century.
Williamson was an original member of the Maine Historical Society.
William D. Williamson, The History of the State of Maine (1832) online
William D. Williamson at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress