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William Henry Cabell

Gov. William Henry Cabell

  • December 11, 1805 - December 12, 1808
  • Democratic-Republican
  • December 16, 1772
  • January 12, 1853
  • Virginia
  • Hampden-Sydney College
  • Married twice--Elizabeth Cabell, Agnes S. B. Cabell; three children by his first marriage and eight children by his second marriage


Born at Boston Hill in Cumberland County, Virginia, WILLIAM HENRY CABELL attended Hampden-Sydney College from 1785 to 1789 and received a bachelor of laws degree in July 1793, from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1796, 1798, and for four terms in succession from 1802 through 1805, after which he was elected to serve as governor of Virginia for three one-year terms. His gubernatorial administration was marked by Aaron Burr’s trial in Richmond for alleged treason, by the celebration of Virginia’s sesquicentennial at Jamestown, and by the United States prohibition of importation of slaves from Africa. After leaving office, Cabell was elected Judge of the General Court by the General Assembly from 1808 to 1811. In March 1811, the Governor appointed Cabell to a vacancy on the Court of Appeals. He was a trustee of Hampden-Sydney College from 1809 to 1830 and served on the Board of Commissioners appointed in 1818 to select a cite for the University of Virginia. He was also reappointed to the Court of Appeals in 1830, serving as President from 1842 to 1851. His forty-one years of service made him one of the longest serving judges judges in the history of the court. He died at his Richmond home on January 13, 1853 and was buried in Shockoe cemetary.


Leonard, Cynthia Miller, comp. The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619-January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members. Richmond: published for the General Assembly of Virginia by the Virginia State Library, 1978.

Library of Virginia, Virginia Governor (1805-1808: Cabell), Executive Papers. Accession 41135. Biographical/Historical Note. State Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA 23219.

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

Salmon, Emily and Edward D. C. Campbell, Jr. Hornbook of Virginia History. 4th ed. Richmond: Library of Virginia, 1994.

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

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