DAVID ROGERSON WILLIAMS was born in Robbin’s Neck, South Carolina. He attended Rhode Island College (Brown University), went on to study law, and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1797. He was a Brigadier-General during the War of 1812, charged with defense of the sea coast. In addition to constructing the first cotton mill in South Carolina, he manufactured cottonseed oil, operated a hat and shoe factory, and published the City Gazette and the Weekly Carolina Gazette. Prior to his election as governor, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1805 to 1809 and again from 1811 to 1813. During Williams’s gubernatorial administration, the cotton industry thrived as the result of rising cotton cloth prices linked to commercial restrictions that had been imposed during the War of 1812. Consequently, an extensive system of cotton mills developed in South Carolina. After leaving office, Williams served in the state Senate. He was killed while overseeing construction of a bridge.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.