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Governor William McWillie

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Office Dates:  Nov 16, 1857 - Nov 21, 1859

Born:  Nov 17, 1795

Passed:  Mar 03, 1869

Birth State:  South Carolina

Party:  Democratic

Family:  Married twice--Nancy Cunningham, Catherine Anderson; eight children

School(s):  South Carolina College

National Office(s) Served:  Representative

WILLIAM MCWILLIE, the twenty-second governor of Mississippi, was born in Kershaw District, South Carolina on November 17, 1795. His education was attained at South Carolina College, where he graduated in 1817. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1818, and then established his legal career in Camden. He also became involved in the banking industry, and served as president of the Camden Bank in 1836. McWille first entered politics as a member of the South Carolina State Senate, a position he held from 1836 to 1840. In 1845, he moved to Mississippi and continued to stay active in politics. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1849 to 1851. McWillie next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on October 5, 1857. During his tenure, a uniform textbook law was endorsed; the state’s levee system was advanced; railroad construction continued to progress; and educational improvements were lobbied for. After completing his term, McWillie left office on November 21, 1859 and retired from public service. Governor William McWillie, who actively supported the Confederate cause, passed away on March 3, 1869. He was buried in the St. Philip’s Churchyard in Camden, Mississippi.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Mississippi Historical Society

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Virtual American Biographies