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William Wyatt Bibb

Gov. William Wyatt Bibb

  • November 9, 1819 - July 10, 1820
  • Democratic-Republican
  • October 2, 1781
  • July 10, 1820
  • Virginia
  • William and Mary College
  • Married Mary Freeman; two children
  • Died in office
  • Representative, Senator
  • Physician/Dentist


WILLIAM WYATT BIBB, Alabama’s first governor, was born on October 2, 1781, in Amelia County, Virginia. He attended William and Mary College and obtained a medical degree in 1801 from the University of Pennsylvania. Bibb practiced medicine in Petersburg, Georgia, and entered politics in 1803. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives until 1805, and he was a U. S. Representative from 1807 to 1813, and a U.S. Senator from 1813 to 1816. In April 1817, President Monroe appointed him governor of the newly created territory of Alabama. By popular vote, Bibb was elected governor of the state of Alabama on September 21, 1819, and was inaugurated on November 9, 1819. During his tenure in office, establishing the new state government was his primary concern. The first U.S. senators from Alabama were chosen, as well as attorney general and secretary of state. The state legislature met for its first session October 25 to December 17, 1819. The state militia was organized, as well as the state supreme court. Bibb strongly supported education and internal improvements, and he became actively involved in the provisions to make Cahaba the hub of government. Unfortunately, he did not live to see Cahaba installed as the state capital. Bibb died in office on July 10, 1820, after sustaining a fall from his horse. Thomas Bibb, William’s brother and president of the Alabama Senate at the time, became acting governor. William is buried in Elmore County, Alabama.


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.

Alabama Department of Archives and History

Millbrook Chamber of Commerce

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition

Recent Alabama Governors