Papers from Benjamin Williams’ first administration are now available through the North Carolina Digital Collections. Benjamin Williams (b. 1751 – d. 1814) was the eleventh (1799-1802) and fourteenth (1807-1808) Governor of North Carolina. Initially representing Johnston County in the colonial assembly and provincial congresses, Williams expanded his political experience to include the representation of Moore and Craven counties in the House and the Senate. He also served in the military from 1775 to 1781, attaining the rank of Colonel. As Governor, Williams embraced Federalist principles and focused on public education and internal improvements. Williams also pardoned Congressman John Stanly for fatally shooting former Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr. during a political duel in 1802. His home is now a historic site, the House in the Horseshoe.
Benjamin Williams’ papers include plans for a suspected slave insurrection, the dismissal of General Martin Armstrong from the office of Surveyors and Entry-Takers and articles of a treaty between the United States and the Tuscarora people.
An abbreviated list of notable North Carolinians found in the papers of Governor Benjamin Williams are listed below: