Joseph Hartwell Williams

Gov. Joseph Hartwell Williams


February 25, 1857 - January 6, 1858

February 15, 1814

July 19, 1896


Harvard University

Succeeded, NGA Chair

Birth State

Married Apphia Putnam; one child


JOSEPH H. WILLIAMS, the twenty-seventh governor of Maine, was born in Augusta, Maine on February 15, 1814. His education was attained at a Wiscasset boarding school, at Harvard University, where he graduated in 1830, and at the Dane Law School in Cambridge. Williams entered politics as a Democrat, but became disillusioned and switched his political allegiance, becoming a Republican in 1854. In 1857, he served as a member and president of the Maine State Senate. On February 25, 1857, Governor Hannibal Hamlin resigned from office, and Williams, who was president of the senate at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. After completing the remainder of Hamlin’s term, Williams left office on January 6, 1858. From 1864 to 1866, he served as a member of the Maine House of Representatives. In 1873, he was reelected as an Independent to the Maine House of Representatives, a position he held two years. After an unsuccessful run for the governor’s office in 1879, Williams retired from public service, and returned to his legal practice. Governor Joseph H. Williams passed away on July 19, 1896.


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.

The State of Maine

Governors of the State of Maine