Benjamin Williams

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Benjamin Williams
11th Governor of North Carolina
In office
November 23, 1799 – December 6, 1802
Preceded by William Richardson Davie
Succeeded by James Turner
14th Governor of North Carolina
In office
December 1, 1807 – December 12, 1808
Preceded by Nathaniel Alexander
Succeeded by David Stone
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 10th district
In office
March 4, 1793 – March 3, 1795
Preceded by District created
Succeeded by Nathan Bryan
Member of the North Carolina House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born (1751-01-01)January 1, 1751
Johnston County, Province of North Carolina, British America
Died July 20, 1814(1814-07-20) (aged 63)
Moore County, North Carolina, U.S.
Political party Federalist

Benjamin Williams (January 1, 1751 – July 20, 1814) was the 11th and 14th Governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina, from 1799 to 1802 and from 1807 to 1808. He was the first of two North Carolina Governors since the American Revolution to serve nonconsecutive terms.


Williams was born in Johnston County, North Carolina in 1751 and became a farmer. He married Elizabeth Jones on August 10, 1781; they had one son, also named Benjamin.

Williams served as a member of the revolutionary convention in Johnston County in 1774; he then served in the North Carolina Provincial Congress and two terms in the Provincial Council. In 1775, Williams was appointed to the Second North Carolina Regiment; he served until 1781, was promoted to the rank of colonel, and fought at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.

Williams served in the North Carolina General Assembly during the 1780s, served one term in the United States House of Representatives from 1793 to 1795, and was elected governor in 1799 to fill the unexpired term of William R. Davie, who had resigned. Williams served for three years; during his last year in office, he pardoned Congressional Representative John Stanly, who had killed former Gov. Richard Dobbs Spaight in a duel.

The North Carolina Constitution of 1789 limited the post of governor to three one-year terms within a span of six years; Williams sought re-election to the post in 1805, but was defeated by Nathaniel Alexander. In 1807, the General Assembly elected him governor once again, but this time he served only a single term of one year. Williams then retired from politics, except for a single term in the North Carolina Senate in 1809.

Col. Williams was a Mason and was a member of St. John's Lodge in New Bern.

Williams died in 1814 and is buried in Moore County. His home, called House in the Horseshoe, is a tourist attraction operated by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.


  • Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789–1978, Robert Sobel and John Raimo, eds. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. ( ISBN 0-930466-00-4)
  • NC Department of Cultural Resources
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 10th congressional district

Succeeded by
Nathan Bryan
Political offices
Preceded by
William R. Davie
Governor of North Carolina
Succeeded by
James Turner
Preceded by
Nathaniel Alexander
Governor of North Carolina
Succeeded by
David Stone
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