WILLIAM M.O. DAWSON was born in Bloomington, Maryland. After serving as editor of West Virginia’s Preston County Journal, he purchased the paper and directed its publication for nearly twenty years. He was the Preston County Republican Committee Chairman for thirteen years, and served from 1881 to 1889 in the West Virginia State Senate. He was clerk of the State House of Delegates in 1894 and Mayor of Kingwood, West Virginia, in 1895. Two years later, he was appointed Secretary of State, serving two terms before running for governor. He practiced law in Charleston after completing his gubernatorial term.
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.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 13. New York: James T. White & Company.