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John Bell Williams

Gov. John Bell Williams

  • January 16, 1968 - January 18, 1972
  • Democratic
  • December 4, 1918
  • March 25, 1983
  • Mississippi
  • University of Mississippi, Jackson School of Law
  • Married Elizabeth Ann Wells; three children
  • Representative
  • Army


JOHN BELL WILLIAMS was born in Raymond, Mississippi on December 4, 1918. He attended the public schools, graduate from Hinds Junior College in Raymond, Mississippi, in 1936; from the University of Mississippi at Oxford in 1938; and from Jackson (Miss.) School of Law in 1940. He was admitted to the bar in 1940 and commenced practice in Raymond, Mississippi. Governor Williams is 1938 a graduate of University of Mississippi. He received his LL.B. from Jackson School of Law in 1940. Williams enlisted as an aviation cadet in the U.S. Army, on November 5, 1941, was commissioned as a pilot July 3, 1942, and he served in World War II. He retired from active service because of injuries received in the line of duty on April 29, 1944 (he lost his lower left arm in a bomber crash). He was prosecuting attorney of Hinds County, Mississippi, from 1944 to 1946, when he was elected for the first of 11 terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He served until January 16, 1968, when he resigned having been elected Governor of Mississippi for the four-year term commencing on that date. Governor Williams chaired the Southern Governors’ Conference from 1970-1971.He passed away March 25, 1983, and his interment is in Raymond Cemetery in Raymond, Mississippi.


Governors of the American States, Commonwealths and Territories, National Governors’ Conference, 1971.

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Mississippi Historical Society links:

John Bell Williams: Fifty-fifth Governor of Mississippi: 1968-1972

The Last Stand of Massive Resistance: Mississippi Public School Integration, 1970

The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission: An Agency History

Recent Mississippi Governors