Hugh Williamson was an American patriot and politician. He represented the state at the Constitutional Convention.
Williamson was born in Chester County in Pennsylvania. He was sickly as a child and his family decided against having him pursue the family business. The instead opted to send him to a private academy to study. He then studied at the College of Philadelphia which is today called The University of Pennsylvania.
Williamson was a member of the first class to ever graduate from the College of Philadelphia. Upon graduation, he was licensed to preach in Connecticut. Because of theological disputes with some clergy in the area as well as ill health, he was forced to resign his position. He returned to Pennsylvania to study at the College of Philadelphia and earned a degree in Mathematics. Williamson returned to college again and studied in the Netherlands to obtain a degree in medicine.
Over the years, Williamson became involved in politics. During a business trip to Boston, he witnessed the Boston Tea Party and was called to England to testify on what he had seen. It was largely due to this experience that Williamson found himself in league with other patriots who opposed the British government. Williamson became close with another scholar and patriot named Benjamin Franklin.
Williamson traveled to the Netherlands and helped the American cause by printing patriot literature. Once he heard that the colonies had declared independence from England, he returned and volunteered to serve as a doctor with the Continental Army.
Due to the fact that the Army did not need doctors at the time, Williamson decided to help the cause by importing medicine and other items that were needed by the patriots. He devised a method of transporting items to the West Indies in order to avoid British blockades. He set up his base of operations in Edenton, North Carolina.
Williamson opened a medical practice to serve the local community in addition to importing supplies. He was named as North Carolina's Physician and Surgeon General by Governor Richard Caswell. In 1780, he was recruited to help with the war and served in a force under the command of Brigadier General Gregory. Gregory had set up camp in the Dismal Swamp in North Carolina.
Williamson was elected to the North Carolina legislature in 1782. He was chosen to serve as a delegate to the Continental Congress that same year. In 1786, he attended the Annapolis Convention which was a meeting to help solve economic and trade issues between the middle Atlantic states. He also served as a trustee to the University of North Carolina.
He was then elected to serve as a delegate to federal Congress. He served two terms before he retired from politics. After retirement, Williamson moved to New York City. He wrote many books and volunteered his time for different causes.
Hugh Williamson married when he was 54 years old in 1789. He and his wife had two sons who both died at a young age. Williamson himself died in May 1819 in New York City.