|Governor of the Mississippi Territory|
|Preceded by||William C. C. Claiborne|
|Succeeded by||David Holmes|
Surry County, North Carolina
|Died||January 25, 1836 (aged 65–66)|
Ouachita Parish, Louisiana
|Resting place||Bon Aire plantation near Monroe, Louisiana|
Robert Williams was born in Surry County, North Carolina. Sources vary on his birth year, with some listing 1768 or 1770 or 1773. He received a liberal private education, studied law, and became an attorney.
In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson appointed Williams to the federal commission empowered to determine the legitimacy of land claims in the recently acquired Mississippi Territory. In May 1805 Jefferson appointed him governor, and he served until the end of Jefferson's term in March 1809. During his term as governor, Williams became unpopular as the result of a dispute with territorial secretary Cowles Mead, with each accusing the other of having been sympathetic to Aaron Burr's alleged conspiracy.
After the 1814 death of his wife in Washington, Mississippi, Williams moved to a plantation near Monroe, Louisiana, which he called Bon Aire. He operated Bon Aire until his death in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, on January 25, 1836. He was buried at Bon Aire, but the exact location of the grave is not known. It is the present-day site of the Baptist Children's Home and Sellers Baptist Maternity Home in Monroe.
Robert Williams' brother Lewis served as a Congressman from North Carolina, and his brother John served in the United States Senate from Tennessee. His cousin Marmaduke Williams also represented North Carolina in the U.S. House.
- The Governors of Mississippi
- Dictionary of North Carolina Biography
- Congress BioGuide
- Rowland, Dunbar (1912). The Official and Statistical Register of the State of Mississippi. Nashville, TN: Brandon Printing Company. p. 22.
- Rowland, Dunbar (1907). Mississippi: Comprising Sketches of Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Volume 2. Atlanta, GA: Southern Historical Publishing Company. p. 973.
- Niles, Hezekiah (August 19, 1826). "Members of Congress, Appointed to Office". Niles' Weekly Register. Washington, DC. p. 427.
- Sumners, Cecil (1980). The Governors of Mississippi. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing. p. 38. ISBN 9780882892375.
- Sierichs, Bill (March 29, 1983). "Tombstones Shed Light on Past". Monroe-West Monroe News-Star (via Ancestry.com). Monroe, LA.
- United States Congress. "Robert Williams (id: W000534)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Robert Williams at Find a Grave
William C. C. Claiborne
| Governor of Mississippi Territory