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William Paca

Gov. William Paca

  • November 22, 1782 - November 26, 1785
  • Anti-Federalist
  • October 31, 1740
  • October 13, 1799
  • Maryland
  • College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania)
  • Married twice—Mary Lloyd Chew, Ann Harrison; six children
  • Representative
  • Signer of the Declaration of Independence


WILLIAM PACA, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was born in Abingdon, Maryland on October 31, 1740. After studying at home, he attended the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1759 and a master’s degree in 1762. Afterwards, he studied law in both Annapolis and the Middle Temple in London. Paca served as a member of the Annapolis City Council in 1766 and the Maryland House of Delegates from 1768 to 1774. He was a member of the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1779. He also served in the Maryland State Senate from 1777 to 1780; was judge on the Maryland General Court from February to October 1778; and was a judge of the Admiralty Court from 1780 to 1782. Paca won election to the Maryland governorship in 1782. He went on to win reelection in 1783 and 1784. After his gubernatorial term, he served as a member of the 1788 state convention that ratified the federal constitution. In his last position, he secured an appointment to serve on the U.S. District Court for Maryland, a post he held from 1789 until his death in 1799. Governor William Paca passed away on October 13, 1799, and was buried in the family graveyard in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland.


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

Stiverson, Gregory A. and Phebe R. Jacobsen. William Paca, A Biography. Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1976.

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

Maryland State Archives

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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