William Miller

15th Governor of the State of North Carolina - 1814 to 1817

Date Born: c.1783

Date Died: December 10, 1825

Place Born: Warren County, NC

Place Buried: Probably at Sea

Residence: Warrenton, NC

Occupation: Lawyer


William Miller was born circa 1783, the son of Thomas Miller, Jr., in Warren County, NC. His father died when he was nine years old, and he inherited a plantation of 930 acres. Miller attended the Warrenton Male Academy conducted by the Reverend Marcus George, then enrolled at The University of North Carolina in 1802, but did not remain until graduation. By 1805 (some say 1809), he was living in Warrenton, where he owned property and was practicing law.

About this time he may have met his future wife, Lydia Anna (or Lydiana) Evans, of Chesterfield County, VA, as she was a student in 1809–10 at Jacob Mordecai's Warrenton Female Academy.

In 1810, Gov. David Stone named William Miller as Attorney General, to complete the term of Oliver Fitts, who had just resigned.

Earlier, in 1809, William Miller was first elected as one of two men to represent Warren County in the House of Commons of the:
- 34th General Assembly that met in 1809
- 35th General Assembly that met in 1810
- 36th General Assembly that met in 1811
- 37th General Assembly that met in 1812 - elected Speaker of the House
- 38th General Assembly that met in 1813 - elected Speaker of the House
- 39th General Assembly that met in 1814 - elected Speaker of the House

On November 29, 1814, the General Assembly elected William Miller as the next governor of North Carolina, and he had to give up his seat in the House of Commons as well as the Speaker position. Gov. William Miller served three terms and left office on December 6, 1817.

Gov. William Miller supported the first tentative steps towards a system of public education when he advocated creation of the Literary Fund for that purpose. He lent his efforts to improve transportation in the creation of a similar fund for internal improvements, and he favored humanizing the penal code. The organization of the first North Carolina Supreme Court in 1818 followed Gov. Miller's earlier recommendation of Judge John Hall as one of the first two justices to organize such a tribunal.

In 1816, while he was governor, William Miller married Lydia Anna Evans and they moved into the new Executive Mansion at the southern end of Fayetteville Street in Raleigh. At the expiration of his third term, they moved to Warrenton. Lydia Miller died in 1818. They had one son who died young.

In 1821, William Miller was first elected to represent Warren County in the NC Senate of the:
- 46th General Assembly that met in 1821
- 47th General Assembly that met in 1822

In March of 1825, President John Quincy Adams appointed William Miller to succeed the late Thomas N. Mann as Charge D'Affaires (diplomatic agent) to Guatemala (some sources say to all of Central America). Unfortunately, like his predecessor named to this post, William Miller died en route. After three days of illness from Yellow Fever, William Miller died at Key West, FL on December 10, 1825; he was most likely buried at sea, as the Secretary of the legation accompanying him did not report his death to the State Department until the ship reached Havana eleven days later.


William Miller (1770 -- 1825) was the Democratic-Republican governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina from 1814 to 1817.

Born in Warren County, North Carolina, William Miller was orphaned at the age of 22 and inherited a substantial plantation. He briefly attended the University of North Carolina in 1802, but did not complete a degree. He began practicing law in 1805 and was named North Carolina Attorney General in 1810. That same year, he was elected to the North Carolina House of Commons, where he served until 1814, for two years as Speaker of the House (1812-1814).

In November 1814, Miller was elected Governor of North Carolina by the General Assembly, at the close of the War of 1812, which he supported. During his term, Miller laid the groundwork for the expansion of the state's educational system, and he served on the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees until his death.

After serving the maximum number of three one-year terms as governor, Miller left office in 1817. He returned to the North Carolina Senate in 1821, but lost a re-election bid the following year.

U.S. President John Quincy Adams appointed Miller as an envoy to Guatemala in 1825; Miller died there shortly after his arrival.


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