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William Branch Giles

Gov. William Branch Giles

  • March 4, 1827 - March 4, 1830
  • Anti-Federalist
  • August 12, 1762
  • December 4, 1830
  • Virginia
  • Hampden-Sydney College, Princeton University and College of William and Mary
  • Married Martha Peyton Tabb, Frances Ann Gwynn
  • Succeeded
  • Representative, Senator


Born in Amelia County, Virginia, WILLIAM BRANCH GILES was educated at Hampden-Sydney College and Princeton University and studied law at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. He practiced law in Petersburg, Virginia for five years, after which he was elected as an Anti-Federalist to fill a vacancy in the U.S. House of Representatives. He went on to serve from 1790 to 1798 and again from 1801 to 1803, at which point he was appointed to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate. He went on to be reelected to the Senate, serving in all from 1804 to 1815. He retired to private life but returned to politics, first as an unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the U.S. Senate and then as a successful candidate for the Virginia legislature. From that position, he assumed the office of governor after John Tyler Jr. resigned. He was then elected by the state legislature to two one-year terms as governor in his own right. Giles died nine months after leaving office.


Anderson, Dice Robins. William Branch Giles: A Study in the Politics of Virginia and the Nation from 1790 to 1830. Gloucester, MA: P. Smith, 1965 (c1914).

Garraty, John A. and Carnes, Mark C., eds. American National Biography, Vol. 22. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Giunta, Mary A. The Public Life of William Branch Giles: Republican, 1790-1815. Thesis submitted to Catholic University of America, 1980. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Xerox University Microfilms, 1980, System 000165125.

Johnson, Allen and Malone, Dumas, eds. Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. VII. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1943.

Library of Virginia, Virginia Governor, Executive Papers (1827-1830: Giles). Accession 42310. State Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA 23219.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 5. New York: James T. White & Company.

Smith, Margaret Vowell. Virginia, 1492-1892: A History of the Executives. Washington, D.C.: W. H. Lowdermilk & Co., 1893.

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

Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Vol. II. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1998.

Virginia Biographical Dictionary, Vol. 1. St. Clair Shores, MI: Somerset Publishers, Inc.

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