William Dunlap Simpson, Governor

Is your surname Simpson?

Research the Simpson family

William Dunlap Simpson, Governor's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

William Dunlap Simpson

Birthdate: (67)
Birthplace: Laurens, Laurens, South Carolina, United States
Death: December 26, 1890 (67)
Columbia, Richland, South Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Dr. John Wells Simpson and Elizabeth "Eliza" Simpson
Father of Mary Eloise Simpson
Brother of Cornelia Finch Farrow
Half brother of John Wistar Simpson

Occupation: Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina February 26, 1879-1880, Cheif Justice of South Carolina Supreme Court
Managed by: Erin Spiceland
Last Updated:

About William Dunlap Simpson, Governor



Civil War Confederate Army Officer, CSA Congressman, South Carolina Governor. He joined the Confederate Army after the outbreak of the Civil War, becoming Lieutenant Colonel of the 14th South Carolina Infantry Regiment (McGowan's Brigade). He was elected to represent South Carolina in the Confederate House of Representatives, serving until the close of the war. He became Lieutenant Governor in 1876 and served until 1879 at which point he became Governor of South Carolina.He served in that office until 1880, when he became a Justice of the South Carolina State Supreme Court. His transcription reads "Elder in Presbyterian Church; Legislator; Soldier; Confederate Congressman; Governor; Chief Justice of SC."


William Dunlap Simpson (October 27, 1823 – December 26, 1890) was the 78th Governor of South Carolina from February 26, 1879, when the previous governor, Wade Hampton, resigned to take his seat in the U.S. Senate, until 1880, when Simpson resigned to become Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Born in Laurens District, South Carolina, in 1823, he was educated at South Carolina College (later the University of South Carolina), completing his studies in 1843, and spent one term at Harvard Law School. He practiced law in Laurens with his partner (and father-in-law) Henry Clinton Young. He served in the South Carolina legislature in the 1850s and early 1860s and serving in the Confederate States House of Representatives from 1863 to 1865.

After the Civil War, he returned to practice law in Laurens until 1876, when he ran successfully for the post of lieutenant governor and was re-elected in 1878. Upon Wade Hampton resigning from the governorship to assume his senate seat, Simpson was elevated to become the 78th governor of South Carolina. He resigned prior to the ending of the term for governor after being appointed Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court and served for ten years from 1880 until his death in 1890.


Cooper, William (2005). The Conservative Regime: South Carolina, 1877-1890. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 1-57003-597-0.
view all

William Dunlap Simpson, Governor's Timeline

October 27, 1823
Laurens, Laurens, South Carolina, United States
June 26, 1855
Age 31
December 26, 1890
Age 67
Columbia, Richland, South Carolina, United States