WILLIAM SCHLEY was born in Frederick County, Maryland, on December 10, 1786. After moving to Georgia as a young child, Schley was educated at academies in Louisville and Augusta. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1812, and established a legal career in Augusta. Schley also served briefly in the Georgia militia, serving as a private in the 9th Regiment. He entered public service in 1823 with an appointment by the Georgia legislature to compile a digest of Georgia laws in force, which was published in 1826. He also served as justice of the Superior Court for then Middle District from 1825 to 1828, was a one-term member of the Georgia House of Representatives in 1830, and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1833 to 1835. Schley won election as governor and was sworn into office on November 4, 1835. During his tenure, he pushed for the treatment of smallpox vaccinations, endorsed navigational developments, and lobbied for the establishment of the Western and Atlantic Railroad. He advocated for educational resources for the deaf, for improvements in the upkeep of an insane asylum, and for the creation of a state supreme court. He also managed to suppress a second Creek rebellion, in which he personally directed a maneuver against the Indians. After losing his reelection bid, Governor Schley retired from politics and returned to his business interests in Augusta, eventually becoming the owner of a cotton and woolen manufacturing company named the Richmond Factory. He also was president of the board of trustees of the Medical College of Georgia. Governor William Schley died on November 20, 1858, and he is buried in the family plot at Richmond Hill near Augusta. Schley County in southwest Georgia was named in his honor a year before his death.
Cook, James F. Governors of Georgia, 1754-2004. 3d ed. Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2005.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.