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William Grason

Gov. William Grason

  • January 7, 1839 - January 3, 1842
  • Federalist; anti-Jackson Democrat by 1828
  • March 11, 1788
  • July 2, 1868
  • Maryland
  • St. John's College
  • Married Susan Orrick Sulivane; twelve children
  • National Guard, Navy


WILLIAM GRASON was born in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland on March 11, 1788. He attended St. John’s College, but did not graduate. Instead, he left school to join the U.S. Navy, where he served for a short time as a midshipman. Grason entered politics in 1828, serving as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, a position he held until 1829 and again in 1837, and as a Maryland Senate elector in 1831. He was defeated in both his bids for Congress in 1833 and 1835. Grason was elected governor of Maryland on October 3, 1838, becoming the first governor to be elected by a popular vote to a three-year term. During his tenure, the Susquehanna and Elk Ridge Road was completed, and the first American ship constructed with iron was built in Baltimore. Also, the state’s deficit was addressed, and the reduction of legislative power was promoted. After completing his term, Grason left office on January 3, 1842. He stayed politically active, serving as a member of the Maryland State Senate in from 1852 to 1853. He also served as a member of the 1850 Maryland Constitutional Convention, and was a delegate to the 1860 Baltimore Convention. Governor William Grason passed away on July 2, 1868, and was buried at “Wye River Farm” near Queenstown, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland.


Eisenberg, Gerson G. Marylanders Who Served the Nation. Annapolis, MD: Maryland State Archives, 1992.

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.

White, Frank F., Jr. The Governors of Maryland, 1777-1972. Annapolis, MD: Hall of Records Commission, 1970.

Maryland State Archives


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