July 31, 1779: William D. Williamson, Maine’s second governor and a scholar who laid much of the foundation for Maine historical research, is born in Canterbury, Connecticut.

Williamson’s “The History of the State of Maine; from Discovery, A.D. 1602, to the Separation, A.D. 1820, Inclusive” is a standard reference work for modern researchers.

A Brown University graduate, Williamson studied law and became the Hancock County attorney. He served in the Massachusetts Legislature at the end of the period when Maine was still part of that state, and he played a prominent role in the successful effort to separate Maine from Massachusetts and secure its admission to the Union in 1820.

Williamson, as president of the Maine Senate, became governor when the state’s first governor, William King, resigned in May 1821. Williamson himself stepped down in December that year to take a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Presented by:

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com. To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]

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