Williamson, Hugh

Williamson, Hugh, 1735–1819, American political leader, physician, and scientist, b. West Nottingham, Pa. He studied theology, preached for a short time, and then was (1760–63) professor of mathematics at the College of Philadelphia (now the Univ. of Pennsylvania) before studying medicine abroad. He practiced at Philadelphia and became interested in general science. While in England (1774–76), he obtained and delivered to Benjamin Franklin private letters written by Gov. Thomas Hutchinson urging harsh measures against the patriots. He later became surgeon general of North Carolina's militia in the American Revolution. Elected (1782) to the state legislature, he was also a member (1782–85, 1788) of the Continental Congress, a delegate (1787) to the Constitutional Convention, and a member (1789–93) of the U.S. House of Representatives. After 1793 he engaged in scientific studies and wrote numerous scientific tracts.

See D. Hosack, A Biographical Memoir of Hugh Williamson (1820).

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